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The white1 cultivated myrtle is employed for fewer medicinal purposes than the black one.2 The berries3 of it are good for spitting of blood, and taken in wine, they neutralize the poison of fungi. They impart an agreeable smell4 to the breath, even when eaten the day before; thus, for instance, in Menander we find the Synaristosæ5 eating them. They are taken also for dysentery,6 in doses of one denarius, in wine: and they are employed lukewarm, in wine, for the cure of obstinate ulcers on the extremities. Mixed with polenta, they are employed topically in ophthalmia, and for the cardiac disease7 they are applied to the left breast. For stings inflicted by scorpions, diseases of the bladder, head-ache, and fistulas of the eye before suppuration, they are similarly employed; and for tumours and pituitous eruptions, the kernels are first removed and the berries are then pounded in old wine. The juice of the berries8 acts astringently upon the bowels, and is diuretic: mixed with cerate it is applied topically to blisters, pituitous eruptions, and wounds inflicted by the phalangium; it imparts a black tint,9 also, to the hair.

The oil of this myrtle is of a more soothing nature than the juice, and the wine10 which is extracted from it, and which possesses the property of never inebriating, is even more so. This wine, used when old, acts astringently upon the stomach and bowels, cures griping pains in those regions, and dispels nausea.

The dried leaves, powdered and sprinkled upon the body, check profuse perspirations, in fever even; they are good, too, used as a fomentation, for cœliac affections, procidence of the uterus, diseases of the fundament, running ulcers, erysipelas, loss of the hair, scaly and other eruptions, and burns. This powder is used as an ingredient, also, in the plasters known as "liparæ;"11 and for the same reason the oil of the leaves is used for a similar purpose, being extremely efficacious as an application to the humid parts of the body, the mouth and the uterus, for example.

The leaves themselves, beaten up with wine, neutralize12 the bad effects of fungi; and they are employed, in combination with wax, for diseases of the joints, and gatherings. A decoction of them, in wine, is taken for dysentery and dropsy. Dried and reduced to powder, they are sprinkled upon ulcers and hæmorrhages. They are useful, also, for the removal of freckles, and for the cure of hang-nails,13 whitlows, condylo- mata, affections of the testes, and sordid ulcers. In combination with cerate, they are used for burns.

For purulent discharges from the ears, the ashes of the leaves are employed, as well as the juice and the decoction: the ashes are also used in the composition of antidotes. For a similar purpose the blossoms are stripped from off the young branches, which are burnt in a furnace, and then pounded in wine. The ashes of the leaves, too, are used for the cure of burns. To prevent ulcerations from causing swellings in the inguinal glands, it will suffice for the patient to carry14 a sprig of myrtle about him which has never touched the ground or any implement of iron.

1 A variety with white berries, but which variety it appears impossible to say.

2 See B. xv. c. 37.

3 The leaves and berries are bitter, and rich in volatile oil.

4 This is consistent with fact.

5 A work of some kind, (perhaps a play, if the comic writer; Menander, is the person alluded to) the title of which means "the Women Dining together." Hardouin, with justice, ridicules the notion of Ortelius that this is the name of some place or town.

6 The astringency communicated by the tannin which they contain would probably make them useful for dysentery; if at the same time, as Fée says, they are not too exciting, by reason of their essential oil.

7 See B. xi. c. 71.

8 "Succus seminis." Sillig has "succus feminis," apparently a misprint—the only one that has been met with thus far in his elaborate edition.

9 It might change the colour of the hair, but for a short time only.

10 See B. xv. c. 37.

11 Cerates, or adipose or oleaginous plasters.

12 In reality they have no such effect.

13 "Pterygia."

14 Fée says here—"Pliny terminates, by a credulity quite unworthy of him, a Chapter, full of false or exaggerated assertions, relative to the pro- perties of the myrtle."

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