CHAP. 96.—HIPPOMARATHRON, OR MYRSINEUM: FIVE REMEDIES.
There is, also, a wild1
variety of fennel, known by some
persons as "hippomarathron," and by others as "myrsineum;"
it has a larger leaf and a more acrid taste than the other kind.
It is taller, also, about the thickness of a walking-stick, and
has a white root: it grows in warm, but stony localities.
Diocles speaks, too, of another2
variety of hippomarathron,
with a long narrow leaf, and a seed like that of coriander.
The seed of the cultivated fennel is medicinally employed in
wine, for the stings of scorpions and serpents, and the juice of
it, injected into the ears, has the effect of destroying small
worms that breed there. Fennel is employed as an ingredient
in nearly all our seasonings,3
sauces more particularly: it is placed also beneath the undercrust of bread. The
seed, in fevers even, acts as an astringent upon a relaxed stomach, and beaten up with water, it allays nausea: it is highly
esteemed, also, for affections of the lungs and liver. Taken
in moderate quantities, it arrests looseness of the bowels, and
acts as a diuretic; a decoction of it is good for gripings of the
stomach, and taken in drink, it restores the milk. The root,
taken in a ptisan,5
purges the kidneys—an effect which is
equally produced by a decoction of the juice or of the seed; the
root is good too, boiled in wine, for dropsy and convulsions.
The leaves are applied to burning tumours, with vinegar,
expel calculi of the bladder, and act as an aphrodisiac.
In whatever way it is taken in drink, fennel has the pro-
perty of promoting the secretion of the seminal fluids; and it
is extremely beneficial to the generative organs, whether a de-
coction of the root in wine is employed as a fomentation, or
whether it is used beaten up in oil. Many persons apply
fennel with wax to tumours and bruises, and employ the root,
with the juice of the plant, or else with honey, for the bites of
dogs, and with wine for the stings of multipedes.
Hippomarathron is more efficacious, in every respect, than
it expels calculi more particularly, and,
taken with weak wine, is good for the bladder and irregularities of the menstrual discharge.
In this plant, the seed is more efficacious than the root;
the dose of either of them being a pinch with two fingers,
beaten up, and mixed with the usual drink. Petrichus, who
wrote a work "On Serpents,"7
and Micton, who wrote a treatise "On8
Botany," are of opinion that there is nothing in
existence of greater efficacy against serpents than hippomarathron: indeed, Nicander9
has ranked it by no means among
the lowest of antidotes.