previous next


In the first rank of the plants armed with prickles, the erynge,1 or eryngion stands pre-eminent, a vegetable production held in high esteem as an antidote formed for the poison of ser- pents and all venomous substances. For stings and bites of this nature, the root is taken in wine in doses of one drachma, or if, as generally is the case, the wound is attended with fever, in water. It is employed also, in the form of a lini- ment, for wounds, and is found to be particularly efficacious for those inflicted by water-snakes or frogs. The physician Heraclides states it as his opinion that, boiled in goose-broth, it is a more valuable remedy than any other known, for aconite2 and other poisons.3 Apollodorus recommends that, in cases of poisoning, it should be boiled with a frog, and other authorities, in water only. It is a hardy plant, having much the appearance of a shrub, with prickly leaves and a jointed stem; it grows a cubit or more in height. Sometimes it is found of a whitish colour, and sometimes black,4 the root of it being odoriferous. It is cultivated in gardens, but it is frequently to be found growing5 spontaneously in rugged and craggy localities. It grows, too, on the sea-shore, in which case it is tougher and darker than usual, the leaf resembling that of parsley.6

1 It has been thought by some that this is the Scolymus maculatus of Linnæus; the spotted yellow thistle. But the more general opinion is that it is the eringo, or Eryngium campestre of Linnæus. It derives its name from the Greek ἐρεύγειν, from its asserted property of dispelling flatulent erucatatins. It is possessed in reality of few medicinal proper- ties, and is only used occasionally, at the present day, as a diuretic. See B. xxi. c. 56.

2 See B. xxvii. c. 2.

3 By the word "toxica," Poinsinet would understand, not poisons in general, but the venom of the toad, which was called, he says, in the Celtic and Celto-Scythic languages, toussac and tossa. Fée ridicules the notion.

4 Or rather, Fée says, deep blue. He identifies this with the Eryngium cyaneum of Linnæus, the eringo, with a blue flower.

5 This, as well as the next, is identical, probably, with the Eryngium maritimum of Linnæus; our sea-holly. The species found in Greece, in addition to the above; are the Eryngium tricuspidatum, multifidum, and parviflorum.

6 Pliny probably makes a mistake here, and reads σελίνον, "parsley," for σκόλυμος, a "thistle." Dalechamps is of this opinion, from an examination of the leaf; and Brotier adopts it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CORO´NA
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: