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Gramen1 is of all herbaceous productions the most common. As it creeps along the ground it throws out jointed stems, from the joints of which, as well as from the extremity of the stem, fresh roots are put forth every here and there. In all other parts of the world the leaves of it are tapering, and come to a point; but upon Mount Parnassus2 they resemble the leaves of the ivy, the, plant throwing out a greater number of stems than elsewhere, and bearing a blossom that is white and odoriferous. There is no vegetable production that is more grateful3 to beasts of burden than this, whether in a green state or whether dried and made into hay, in which last case it is sprinkled with water when given to them. It is said that on Mount Parnassus a juice is extracted from it, which is very abun- dant and of a sweet flavour.

In other parts of the world, instead of this juice a decoction of it is employed for closing wounds; an effect equally pro- duced by the plant itself, which is beaten up for the purpose and attached to the part affected, thereby preventing inflammation. To the decoction wine and honey are added, and in some cases, frankincense, pepper, and myrrh, in the proportion of one third of each ingredient; after which it is boiled again in a copper vessel, when required for tooth-ache or difluxions of the eyes. A decoction of the roots, in wine, is curative of griping pains in the bowels, strangury, and ulcerations of the bladder, and it disperses calculi. The seed is still more powerful as a diuretic,4 arrests looseness and vomiting, and is particularly useful for wounds inflicted by dragons.5 There are some authorities which give the following prescription for the cure of scrofulous sores and inflamed tumours:—From one, two, or three stems, as many as nine joints must be removed, which must then be wrapped in black wool with the grease in it. The party who gathers them must do so fasting, and must then go, in the same state, to the patient's house while he is from home. When the patient comes in, the other must say to him three times, "I come fasting to bring a remedy to a fasting man;" and must then attach the amulet to his person, repeating the same ceremony three consecutive days. The variety of this plant which has seven6 joints is considered a most excellent amulet for the cure of head-ache. For excruciating pains in the bladder, some recommend a decoction of gramen, boiled down in wine to one half, to be taken immediately after the bath.

1 "Grass." The Triticum repens, or Paspalum dactylon of Linnæus, our couch-grass.

2 This is probably quite a different production, being the Parnassia palustris, according to Dodonæus; but Fée is inclined to think that it is the Campanula rapunculus of Linnæus, bell-flower or rampions.

3 Fée thinks that this appplies to the plant of Parnassus, and not to the common Gramen.

4 This property, Fée says, is still attributed to couch-grass.

5 "Draconum." A peculiar kind of serpent. See Lucan's Pharsalia, 13. ix. 11. 727–8.

6 No such variety is known.

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