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Lapathum, too, has pretty nearly the same properties. There is a wild1 variety, known to some as "oxalis," very similar in taste to the cultivated kind, with pointed leaves, a colour like that of white beet, and an extremely diminutive root: our people call it "rumex,"2 while others, again, give it the name of "lapathum cantherinum." 3Mixed with axle-grease, this plant is very efficacious for scrofulous sores. There is another kind, again, hardly forming a distinct variety, known as "oxylapathon,"4 which resembles the cultivated kind even more than the last, though the leaves are more pointed and redder: it grows only in marshy spots. Some authors are found who speak of a "hydrolapathon,"5 which grows in the water, they say. There is also another variety, known as "hippolapathon,"6 larger than the cultivated kind, whiter, and more compact.

The wild varieties of the lapathum are a cure7 for the stings of scorpions, and protect those who carry the plant on their person from being stung. A decoction of the root in vinegar, employed as a gargle, is beneficial to the8 teeth, and if drunk, is a cure for jaundice. The seed is curative of the most obstinate maladies of the stomach.9 The root of hippolapathum, in particular, has the property of bringing off malformed nails; and the seed, taken in wine, in doses of two drachmæ, is a cure for dysentery. The seed of oxylapathum, washed in rain-water, with the addition of a piece of gum acacia, about the size of a lentil, is good for patients troubled with spitting of blood.10 Most excellent lozenges are made of the leaves and root of this plant, with the addition of nitre and a little incense. When wanted for use, they are first steeped in vinegar.

1 The Rumex acetosella of Linnæus, or small sorrel.

2 See B. xix. c. 60.

3 "Horse Lapathum."

4 Or "Lapathum with pointed leaves;" the Rumex acutus of Linnæus.

5 Or "water lapathum;" the Rumex aquaticus of Linnæus.

6 Or "horse lapathun;" the Rumex patientia of Linnæus: or dock, as Fée thinks: though, according to Sprengel, the cultivated lapathum was identical with that plant.

7 The medicinal properties of the lapathum vary according to the parts of the plant employed. The leaves and stalks of the acid kinds of Rumex are refreshing, and slightly diuretic and laxative. The action of those which are not acid is sudorific, antiherpetic, and depurative.

8 Fée says that it would be of no benefit whatever for tooth-ache.

9 It is not possessed of any stomachic properties, Fée remarks.

10 It would be of no utility in such a case, Fée says.

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