CHAP. 73.—THE FITCH: TWENTY REMEDIES.
In speaking of the fitch,1
we have mentioned certain properties belonging to it; and, indeed, the ancients have attributed to it no fewer virtues than they have to the cabbage.
For the stings of serpents, it is employed with vinegar; as
also for bites inflicted by crocodiles and human beings. If a
person eats of it, fasting, every day, according to authors of
the very highest authority, the spleen will gradually diminish.
The meal of it removes spots on the face and other parts of the
body. It prevents ulcers from spreading also, and is extremely
efficacious for affections of the mamillæ: mixed with wine, it
makes carbuncles break. Parched, and taken with a piece of
honey the size of a hazel nut, it cures dysuria, flatulency,
affections of the liver, tenesmus, and that state of the body in
which no nourishment is derived from the food, generally known
as "atrophy." For cutaneous eruptions, plasters are made of
it boiled with honey, being left to remain four days on the part
affected. Applied with honey, it prevents inflamed tumours
from suppurating. A decoction of it, employed as a fomenta-
tion, cures chilblains and prurigo; and it is thought by some,
that if it is taken daily, fasting, it will improve the complexion
of all parts of the body.
Used as an aliment, this pulse is far from wholesome,2
apt to produce vomiting, disorder the bowels, and stuff the
head and stomach. It weakens the knees also; but the effects
of it may be modified by keeping it in soak for several days, in
which case it is remarkably beneficial for oxen and beasts of
burden. The pods of it, beaten up green with the stalks and
leaves, before they harden, stain the hair black.