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The cyperos, as we have just stated, is a rush of angular shape, white near the ground, and black and solid at the top. The lower leaves are more slender than those of the leek, and those at the top are small, with the seed of the plant lying between them. The root resembles a black olive,1 and when it is of an oblong shape, the plant is known as the "cyperis,"2 being employed in medicine to a great extent. The cyperos most highly esteemed is that of the vicinity of the Temple of Jupiter Hammon, the next best being that of Rhodes, the next that of Thrsæ, and the worst of all that of Egypt, a circumstance which tends greatly to add to the misunderstanding on the subject, as that country produces the cypiros as well: but the cypiros which grows there is extremely hard, and has hardly any smell at all, while all the other3 varieties of it have an odour strongly resembling that of nard.

There is also an Indian plant, called the "cypira,"4 of a totally different character, and similar to ginger in appearance; when chewed, it has exactly the flavour of saffron.

The cyperos, employed medicinally, is possessed of certain depilatory properties. It is used in liniments for hang-nails and ulcerous sores of the genitals and of all parts of the body which are of a humid nature, ulcers of the mouth, for instance. The root of it is a very efficacious remedy for the stings of serpents and scorpions. Taken in drink, it removes obstructions of the uterus, but if employed in too large doses, it is liable to cause prolapsus of that organ. It acts also as a diuretic, and expels calculi of the bladder; properties which render it extremely useful in dropsy. It is employed topically, also, for serpiginous ulcers, those of the throat more particularly, being usually applied with wine or vinegar.

1 This applies more particularly, Fée thinks, to the Cyperus rotundus of Linnæus.

2 The Cyperus longus of Linnæus, Fée thinks.

3 Sillig finds a difficulty here which does not seem to exist. It is pretty clear that "cæteris" refers to the other varieties of the cypiros, mentioned in the preceding Chapter.

4 It has not been identified.

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