CHAP. 44.—THE SONCHOS; TWO VARIETIES: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
too, is edible—at least, it was this that, according to Callimachus, Hecale2
set before Theseus. There are two
kinds, the white3
and the black:4
they are, both of them,
similar to the lettuce, except that they are prickly, with a stem
a cubit in height, angular, and hollow within; when broken,
the stem gives out an abundance of milky juice. The white
kind, which derives its colour from the milk it contains, is good
for hardness of breathing, if eaten dressed with seasoning like
the lettuce. Erasistratus says that it carries off calculi by
the urine, and that, chewed, it is a corrective of bad breath.
The juice of it, taken warm in doses of three cyathi, with
white wine and oil, facilitates delivery, but the patient must
be careful to walk about immediately after drinking it: it
is also given in broth.
A decoction of the stalk renders the milk more abundant in
nursing women, and improves the complexion of the infants
suckled by them; it is also remarkably beneficial for females
when the milk coagulates. The juice of it is used as an injection
for the ears, and is taken warm in doses of one cyathus, for strangury, as also for gnawing pains of the stomach, with cucumber
seed and pine nuts. It is employed topically for abscesses of
the rectum, and is taken in drink for the stings of serpents
and scorpions, the root also being applied to the wounds.
The root, boiled in oil, with the rind of a pomegranate, is a
remedy for diseases of the ears—all these remedies, however,
be it remembered, are derived from the white kind.
As to the black sonchos, Cleemporus forbids it to be eaten,
as being productive of diseases, but at the same time he approves of the use of the white. Agathocles, however, goes so
far as to assert that the juice of the black kind is an antidote
for poisoning by bulls' blood; and, indeed, it is generally agreed
that the black sonchos has certain refreshing properties; for
which reason cataplasms of it may be advantageously applied
with polenta. Zeno recommends the root of the white kind