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Most medical writers have spoken in high terms of marru- bium, or horehound, as a plant of the very greatest utility. Among the Greeks, it is called "prasion"1 by some, by others "linostrophon,"2 and by others, again, "philopais"3 or "philochares:"4 it is a plant too well known to require any description.5 The leaves6 and seed beaten up, together, are good for the stings of serpents, pains of the chest and side, and inveterate coughs. The branches, too, boiled in water with panic,7 so as to modify its acridity, are remarkably useful for persons troubled with spitting8 of blood. Horehound is applied also, with grease, to scrofulous swellings. Some persons recommend for a cough, a pinch of the fresh seed with two fingers, boiled with a handful of spelt9 and a little oil and salt, the mixture to be taken fasting. Others, again, regard as quite incomparable for a similar purpose an extract of the juices of horehound and fennel. Taking three sextarii of the extract, they boil it down to two, and then add one sextarius of honey; after which they again boil it down to two, and administer one spoonful of the preparation daily, in one cyathus of water.

Beaten up with honey, horehound is particularly beneficial for affections of the male organs; employed with vinegar, it cleanses lichens, and is very salutary for ruptures, convulsions, spasms, and contractions of the sinews. Taken in drink with salt and vinegar, it relaxes the bowels, promotes the menstrual discharge, and accelerates the after-birth. Dried, powdered, and taken with honey, it is extremely efficacious for a dry cough, as also for gangrenes and hang-nails.10 The juice, too, taken with honey, is good for the ears and nostrils: it is a remedy also for jaundice, and diminishes the bilious secretions. Among the few antidotes11 for poisons, it is one of the very best known.

The plant itself, taken with iris and honey, purges the stomach and promotes expectorations: it acts, also, as a strong diuretic, though, at the same time, care must be taken not to use it when the bladder is ulcerated and the kidneys are affected. It is said, too, that the juice of horehound improves the eyesight. Castor speaks of two varieties of it, the black horehound and the white, which last he considers to be the best. He puts the juice of it into an empty eggshell, and then mixes the egg with it, together with honey, in equal pro- portions: this preparation used warm, he says, will bring abscesses to a head, and cleanse and heal them. Beaten up, too, with stale axle-grease and applied topically, he says, hore- hound is a cure for the bite of a dog.

1 The "grass-green" plant.

2 The "twisted flax" plant.

3 "Lad's-love."

4 "Love and grace," apparently.

5 There are two kinds of prasion mentioned by Dioscoride, and by Pliny at the end of the present Chapter, one of which Fée is inclined to identify with the Ballota nigra of Linnæus, the fetid ballota; and the other with the Marrubium vulgare of Linnæus, the white horehound. Bochart conjectures that the word "marrubium" had a Punic origin, but Linnæus thinks that it comes from "Maria urbs," the "City of the Marshes," situate on Lake Fucinus, in Italy.

6 Though much used in ancient times, horehound is but little employed in medicine at the present day: though its medicinal value, Fée thinks, is very considerable. Candied horehound is employed to some extent in this country, as a pectoral.

7 See B. xviii. c. 25.

8 Its medicinal properties, as recognized in modem times, are in most respects dissimilar to those mentioned by Pliny.

9 "Far."

10 "Pterygia." "Pterygium" is also a peculiar disease of the eye.

11 "Inter pauca." He has mentioned, however, a vast number of so- called antidotes or remedies. It is just possible that he may mean, "There are few antidotes like it for efficacy."

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