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We find two varieties of abrotonum1 mentioned, the field, and the mountain kind; this last, it is generally understood, is the female plant, the other the male. They are both of them bitter, like wormwood. That of Sicily is the most esteemed, and next to it, that of Galatia. The leaves of it are sometimes employed, but it is the seed that possesses the most warming properties; hence it is, that it is so beneficial for maladies of the sinews,2 for cough, hardness of breathing, convulsions, ruptures, lumbago, and strangury. Several handfuls of this plant are boiled down to one-third, and the decoction of it, in doses of four cyathi, is administered in drink. The seed is given, pounded, in water, in doses of one drachma; it is very good for affections of the uterus.

Mixed with barley-meal, this plant brings tumours to a head, and boiled with quinces, it is employed as a liniment for inflammations of the eyes. It keeps away serpents, and for their stings it is either taken in wine, or else employed in combination with it as a liniment. It is extremely efficacious, also, for the stings of those noxious insects by which shivering fits and chills are produced, such as the scorpion and the spider called "phalangium,"3 for example; taken in a potion, it is good for other kinds of poison, as also for shivering fits, however produced, and for the extraction of foreign substances adhering to the flesh; it has the effect, also, of expelling intestinal worms. It is stated that a sprig of this plant, if put beneath the pillow, will act as an aphrodisiac, and that it is of the very greatest efficacy against all those charms and spells by which impotence is produced.

1 See c. 34 of this Book. Both of the plants mentioned share the medicinal properties of wormwood, being stimulants, tonics, anthelmintics, and febrifuges. It would be dangerous, however, Fée says, to administer them in most of the cases mentioned by Pliny, nor would they be good for strangury, or affections of the chest.

2 "Nervis." Pliny had no knowledge, probably, of the nervous system; but Fée seems to think that such is his meaning here. See B. xi. c. 88.

3 See B. xi. cc. 24, 28, and 29.

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