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The red iris is better than the white one. It is very beneficial to attach this plant to the bodies of infants more particularly when they are cutting their teeth, or are suffering from cough; it is equally good, too, to inject a few drops of it when children are suffering from tape-worm. The other properties of it differ but very little from those of honey. It cleanses ulcerous sores of the head, and inveterate abscesses more particularly. Taken in doses of two drachmæ with honey, it relaxes the bowels; and an infusion of it is good for cough, gripings of the stomach, and flatulency: taken with vinegar, too, it cures affections of the spleen. Mixed with oxycrate it is good for the bites of serpents and spiders, and, in doses of two drachmæ with bread or water, it is employed for the cure of the stings of scorpions. It is applied also topically with oil to the bites of dogs, and to parts that are excoriated: employed in a similar manner, too, it is good for pains in the sinews, and in combination with resin it is used as a liniment for lumbago and sciatica. The properties of this plant are of a warming nature. Inhaled at the nostrils, it produces sneezing and cleanses the brain, and in cases of head-ache it is applied topically in combination with the quince or the strutheum.1 It dispels the fumes of wine also, and difficulties of breathing2 and taken in doses of two oboli it acts as an emetic: applied as a plaster with honey, it extracts splinters of broken bones. Powdered iris is employed also for whitlows, and, mixed with wine, for corns and warts, in which case it is left for three days on the part affected.

Chewed, it is a corrective of bad breath and offensive exhalations of the arm-pits, and the juice of it softens all kinds of indurations of the body. This plant acts as a soporific, but it wastes the seminal fluids: it is used also for the treatment of chaps of the fundament and condylomata, and it heals all sorts of excrescences on the body.

Some persons give the name of "xyris"3 to the wild iris. This plant disperses scrofulous sores, as well as tumours and inguinal swellings; but it is generally recommended that when wanted for these purposes it should be pulled up with the left hand, the party gathering it mentioning the name of the pa- tient and of the disease for which it is intended to be employed. While speaking of this subject, I will take the opportunity of disclosing the criminal practices of some herbalists—they keep back a portion of the iris, and of some other plants as well, the plantago for instance, and, if they think that they have not been sufficiently well paid and wish to be employed a second time, bury the part they have kept back in the same place; their object being, I suppose,4 to revive the malady which has just been cured.

The root of the saliunca5 boiled in wine, arrests vomiting and strengthens the stomach.

1 A small kind of quince. See B. xv. cc. 10 and 14.

2 "Orthopnœa."

3 The Iris fœtidissima of Linnæus. It grows near Constantinople, and the smell of it is so like that of roast meat, that it is commonly called, Fée says, the "leg of mutton iris."

4 "Credo." It does not exactly appear that Pliny puts faith in this superstition, as Fée and Desfontaines seem to think; but he merely hazards a supposition as to what are the intentions of these avaricious herbalists.

5 See c. 20 of this Book.

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