CHAP. 64.—THE WILD FIG: FORTY-TWO OBSERVATIONS UPON IT.
The wild fig, again, is even more efficacious in its properties
than the cultivated one. It has not so large a proportion of
milky juice as the other: a slip of it put into milk has the
effect of curdling it and turning it into cheese. This juice,
collected and indurated by being subjected to pressure, im-
parts a fine flavour1
to meat, being steeped in vinegar for the
purpose, and then rubbed upon it. It is used also as an ingredient in blisters, and taken internally it relaxes the bowels.
Used with amylum,2
it opens the passages of the uterus, and
combined with the yolk of an egg it acts as an emmenagogue.
Mixed with meal of fenugreek it is applied topically for
gout, and is used for the dispersion of leprous sores, itch-scabs,
lichens, and freckles: it is an antidote also to the stings
of venomous animals, and to the bites of dogs. Applied to
the teeth in wool, or introduced into the cavity of a carious
tooth, this juice cures tooth-ache.3
The young shoots and
the leaves, mixed with meal of fitches, act as an antidote to
the poison of marine animals, wine being added to the prepa-
ration. In boiling beef a great saving of fire-wood may be
effected, by putting some of these shoots in the pot.4
The figs in a green state, applied topically, soften and disperse
scrofulous sores and all kinds of gatherings, and the leaves, to
a certain extent, have a similar effect. The softer leaves are
applied with vinegar for the cure of running ulcers, epinyctis,
and scaly eruptions. With the leaves, mixed with honey, honeycomb ulcers5
are treated, and wounds inflicted by dogs; the
leaves are applied, too, fresh, with wine, to phagledænic sores.
In combination with poppy-leaves, they extract splintered
bones. Wild figs, in a green state, employed as a fumigation,
dispel flatulency; and an infusion of them, used as a potion,
combats the deleterious effects of bullocks' blood, white-lead,
and coagulated milk, taken internally. Boiled in water, and
employed as a cataplasm, they cure imposthumes of the parotid
glands. The shoots, or the green figs, gathered as young as
possible, are taken in wine for stings inflicted by scorpions.
The milky juice is also poured into the wound, and the leaves
are applied to it: the bite of the shrew-mouse is treated in a
similar manner. The ashes of the young branches are curative
of relaxations of the uvula; and the ashes of the tree itself,
mixed with honey, have the effect of healing chaps. A de-
coction of the root, boiled in wine, is good for tooth-ache.
The winter wild fig, boiled in vinegar and pounded, is a cure
for impetigo: the branches are first barked for the purpose
and then scraped; these scrapings, which are as fine as sawdust, being applied topically to the parts affected.
There is also one medicinal property of a marvellous nature
attributed to the wild fig: if a youth who has not arrived at
puberty breaks off a branch, and then with his teeth tears off
the bark swelling with the sap, the pith of this branch, we are
assured, attached as an amulet to the person before sunrise,
will prevent the formation of scrofulous sores. A branch of
this tree, attached to the neck of a bull, however furious, ex-
ercises such a marvellous effect upon him as to restrain his
and render him quite immoveable.