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We have already1 treated of twenty-nine varieties of the reed, and there is none of her productions in which that mighty power of Nature,2 which in our successive Books we have described, is more fully displayed than in this. The root of the reed, pounded and applied to the part affected, extracts the prickles of fern from the body, the root of the fern having a similar effect upon splinters of the reed. Among the numerous varieties which we have described, the scented reed3 which is grown in Judæa and Syria as an ingredient in our unguents, boiled with hay-grass or parsley-seed, has a diuretic effect: employed as a pessary, it acts as an emmenagogue. Taken in drink, in doses of two oboli, it is curative of convulsions, diseases of the liver and kidneys, and dropsy. Used as a fumigation, and with resin more particularly, it is good for coughs, and a decoction of it with myrrh is useful for scaly eruptions and running ulcers. A juice, too, is collected from it which has similar properties to those of elaterium.4

In every kind of reed the part that is the most efficacious is that which lies nearest the root; the joints also are efficacious in a high degree. The ashes of the Cyprian reed known as the "donax,"5 are curative of alopecy and putrid ulcers. The leaves of it are also used for the extraction6 of pointed bodies from the flesh, and for erysipelas and all kinds of gatherings. The common reed, beaten up quite fresh, has also considerable extractive powers, and not in the root only, for the stem, it is said, has a similar property. The root is used also in vinegar as a topical application for sprains and for pains in the spine; and beaten up fresh and taken in wine it acts as an aphrodisiac. The down that grows on reeds, put into the ears, deadens the hearing.7

1 In B. xvi. c. 34.

2 Sympathies and antipathies existing in plants. See c. 1 of this Book.

3 Not a reed, Fée thinks, but some other monocotyledon that has not been identified. See B. xii. c. 48.

4 See B. xx. c. 3.

5 See B. xvi. c. 66.

6 Celsus also speaks of the root of the reed as being efficacious for this purpose, B. v. c. 26.

7 Fée says that neither of these last assertions is true.

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