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The white variety of the eryngium is known in our lan- guage as the "centum capita."1 It has all the properties above- mentioned, and the Greeks employ both the stalk and the root as an article of food,2 either boiled or raw. There are some marvellous facts related in connexion with this plant; the root3 of it, it is said, bears a strong resemblance to the organs of either sex; it is but rarely found, but if a root resembling the male organs should happen to fall in the way of a man, it will ensure him woman's love; hence it is that Phaon the Lesbian was so passionately beloved4 by Sappho. Upon this subject, too, there have been numerous other reveries, not only on the part of the Magi, but of Pythagorean philosophers even as well.

So far as its medicinal properties are concerned, in addition to those already mentioned, this plant, taken in hydromel, is good for flatulency, gripings of the bowels, diseases of the heart, stomach, liver, and thoracic organs, and, taken in oxycrate, for affections of the spleen. Mixed with hydromel, it is recommended also for diseases of the kidneys, strangury, opisthotony, spasms, lumbago, dropsy, epilepsy, suppression or excess of the catamenia, and all maladies of the uterus. Applied with honey, it extracts foreign substances from the body, and, with salted axle-grease and cerate, it disperses scrofulous sores, im- posthumes of the parotid glands, inflamed tumours, denudations of the bones, and fractures. Taken before drinking, it prevents the fumes of wine from rising to the head, and it arrests looseness of the bowels. Some of our authors have recommended that this plant should be gathered at the period of the summer solstice, and that it should be applied, in combi- nation with rain water, for all kinds of maladies of the neck. They say too, that, attached as an amulet to the person, it is a cure for albugo.5

1 Or "hundred heads," the ordinary Eryngium campestre of Linnæus. It is still called panicaut a cent têtes, by the French.

2 It is no longer used for this purpose; but Fée is of opinion that it owes its French name of "panicaut," from having been used in former times as a substitute for bread-pain.

3 It is not improbable that this plant is the same as the mandrake of Genesis, c. xxx. 14; which is said to have borne some resemblance to the human figure, and is spoken of by the commentators as male and female.

4 The root contains a small quantity of essential oil, with stimulating properties; and this fact, Fée thinks, would, to a certain extent, explain this story of Sappho. It is not improbable that it was for these properties that it was valued by the rival wives of Jacob.

5 White specks in the eye.

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