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All parts of the laurel, both the leaves, bark, and berries, are of a warming1 nature; and a decoction of them, the leaves in particular, is very useful for affections of the bladder and uterus.2 The leaves, applied topically, neutralize the poison of wasps, bees, and hornets, as also that of serpents, the seps,3 dipsas,4 and viper, in particular. Boiled in oil, they promote the catamenia; and the more tender of the leaves beaten up with polenta, are used for inflammations of the eyes. with rue for inflammations of the testes, and with rose-oil, or oil of iris,5 for head-ache. Three leaves, chewed and swallowed for three days in succession, are a cure for cough, and beaten up with honey, for asthma. The bark of the root is dangerous to pregnant women; the root itself disperses calculi, and taken in doses of three oboli in aromatic wine, it acts beneficially on the liver. The leaves, taken in drink, act as an emetic;6 and the berries, pounded and applied as a pessary, or else taken in drink, promote menstruation. Two of the berries with the skin removed, taken in wine, are a cure for inveterate cough and hardness of breathing; if, however, this is accompanied with fever, they are given in water, or else in an electuary with raisin wine, or boiled in hydromel. Employed in a similar manner, they are good for phthisis, and for all defluxions of the chest, as they have the effect of detaching the phlegm and bringing it off.

For stings inflicted by scorpions, four laurel-berries are taken in wine. Applied with oil, they are a cure for epinyctis, freckles, running sores, ulcers of the mouth, and scaly eruptions. The juice of the berries is curative of porrigo and phthiriasis; and for pains in the ears, or hardness of hearing, it is injected into those organs with old wine and oil of roses. All venomous creatures fly at the approach of persons who have been anointed with this juice: taken in drink, the juice of the small-leaved7 laurel in particular, it is good for stings inflicted by them. The berries,8 used with wine, neu- tralize the venom of serpents, scorpions, and spiders; they are applied also, topically, with oil and vinegar, in diseases of the spleen and liver, and with honey to gangrenous sores. In cases of lassitude and shivering fits, it is a very good plan to rub the body with juice of laurel-berries mixed with nitre. Some persons are of opinion that delivery is accelerated by taking laurel-root to the amount of one acetabulum, in water, and that, used fresh, it is better than dried. It is recommended by some authorities, to take ten of the berries in drink, for the sting of the scorpion; and in cases of relaxation of the uvula, to boil a quarter of a pound of the berries, or leaves, in three sextarii of water, down to one third, the decoction being used warm, as a gargle. For head-ache, also, it is recommended to bruise an uneven number of the berries in oil, the mixture being warmed for use.

The leaves of the Delphic laurel9 bruised and applied to the nostrils from time to time, are a preservative10 against conta- gion in pestilence, and more particularly if they are burnt. The oil of the11 Delphic laurel is employed in the preparation of cerates and the medicinal composition known as "acopum,"12 and is used for fits of shivering occasioned by cold, for the relaxation of the sinews, and for the cure of pains in the side and the cold attacks in fevers.13 Warmed in the rind of a pomegranate, it is applied topically for the cure of ear-ache. A decoction of the leaves boiled down in water to one third, used as a gargle, braces the uvula, and taken in drink allays pains in the bowels and intestines. The more tender leaves, bruised in wine and applied at night, are a cure for pimples and prurigo.

The other varieties of the laurel possess properties which are nearly analogous. The root of the laurel of Alexandria,14 or of Mount Ida,15 accelerates delivery, being administered in doses of three denarii to three cyathi of sweet wine; it acts also as an emmenagogue, and brings away the after-birth. Taken in drink in a similar manner, the wild laurel, known as "daphnoides" and by the other names which we have mentioned,16 is productive of beneficial effects. The leaves of it, either fresh or dried, taken in doses of three drachmœ, in hydromel with salt, act as a purgative17 upon the bowels. The wood, chewed, brings off phlegm, and the leaves act as an "emetic;" they are unwholesome, however, to the stomach. The berries, too, are sometimes taken, fifteen in number, as a purgative.

1 All parts of the laurel, the berries in particular, are impregnated with an essential oil with a powerful odour and of an exciting nature. Upon this volatile principle, and nothing else, the whole of its medicinal properties are based.

2 This assertion, Fée says, is no better than fabulous.

3 See Lucan's Pharsalia, B. ix. Il. 723, 776.

4 See the Pharsalia, B. ix. 1. 719.

5 "Irino." See B. xiii. c. 2.

6 This assertion, Fée says, is untrue.

7 See B. xv. c. 39.

8 All these statements as to the properties of the berries, Fée says, are hypothetical and more than doubtful.

9 The Laurus nobilis of modern botany.

10 A statement, Fée says, that is altogether illusory.

11 Of the berries, Fée thinks.

12 See c. 45 of this Book; also B. xxvii. c. 13.

13 Fée thinks that this oil, in conjunction with adipose substances, might be useful for the treatment of rheumatic affections.

14 The Ruscus hypophyllum of Linnæus. It is quite inodorous, Fée says, and has no analogous properties whatever with the next-mentioned plant.

15 See B. xv. c. 39.

16 In B. xv. c. 39.

17 The peasantry of France, Fée says, still use as a purgative the berries of the Daphne mezereum, and of the Daphne laureola; and in Aragon and Catalonia, the leaves of the Thymelea are used for a similar purpose. The employment of them, however, is not unattended with danger.

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