CHAP. 87. (22.)—MUSTARD, THE THREE KINDS OF IT: FORTY-FOUR REMEDIES.
Mustard, of which we have mentioned1
kinds, when speaking of the garden herbs, is ranked by Pythagoras among the very first of those plants the pungency of
which mounts upwards; for there is none to be found more
penetrating to the brain and nostrils.
Pounded with vinegar, mustard is employed as a liniment
for the stings of serpents and scorpions, and it effectually neutralizes
the poisonous properties of fungi. To cure an immoderate secretion of phlegm it is kept in the mouth till it melts,
or else it is mixed with hydromel, and employed as a gargle.
Mustard is chewed for tooth-ache, and is taken as a gargle
with oxymel for affections of the uvula; it is very beneficial,
also, for all maladies of the stomach. Taken with the food, it
from the lungs: it is given, too, for
asthma and epileptic fits, in combination with cucumber seed.
It has the effect of quickening the senses, and effectually
clears the head by sneezing, relaxes the stomach, and promotes
the menstrual discharge and the urinary secretions: beaten up
with figs and cummin, in the proportion of one-third of each
ingredient, it is used as an external application for dropsy.
Mixed with vinegar, mustard resuscitates by its powerful
odour persons who have swooned in fits of epilepsy or
lethargy, as well as females suffering from hysterical suffocations.
For the cure of lethargy tordylon is added-that being
the name given to the seed of hartwort3
—and if the lethargic
sleep should happen to be very profound, an application
of it, with figs and vinegar, is made to the legs, or to the
even. Used as an external application, mustard is a
cure for inveterate pains of the chest, loins, hips, shoulders,
and, in general, for all deep-seated pains in any part of the
body, raising blisters5
by its caustic properties. In cases of
extreme indurations of the skin, the mustard is applied to the
part without figs; and a cloth is employed doubled, where it is
apprehended that it may burn too powerfully. It is used
also, combined with red-earth,6
for alopecy, itch-scabs, leprosy,
phthiriasis, tetanus, and opisthotony. They employ
it also as a liniment with honey for styes7
on the eyelids
and films on the eyes.
The juices of mustard are extracted in three different
ways, in earthen vessels in which it is left to dry gradually
in the sun. From the thin stem of the plant there exudes
also a milky juice,8
which when thus hardened is remedial
for tooth-ache. The seed and root, after they have been left
to steep in must, are beaten up together in a mortar; and a
good handful of the mixture is taken to strengthen9
throat, stomach, eyes, head, and all the senses. This mixture
is extremely good, too, for fits of lassitude in females, being
one of the most wholesome medicines in existence. Taken in
vinegar, mustard disperses calculi in the bladder; and, in combination
with honey and goose-grease, or else Cyprian wax,
it is employed as a liniment for livid spots and bruises. From
the seed, first steeped in olive-oil, and then subjected to
pressure, an oil is extracted, which is employed for rigidity
of the sinews, and chills and numbness in the loins and hips.