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Gum acacia is produced also from the white and black1 thorns of Egypt, and from a green thorn as well; the produce, however, of the former trees is by far the best. There is also a similar gum found in Galatia, but of very inferior quality, the produce of a more thorny tree2 than those last mentioned. The seed of all these trees resembles3 the lentil in appearance, only that it is smaller, as well as the pod which contains it: it is gathered in autumn, before which period it would be too powerful in its effects. The juice is left to thicken in the pods, which are steeped in rain-water for the purpose, and then pounded in a mortar; after which, the juice is extracted by means of presses. It is then dried in the mortars in the sun, and when dry is divided into tablets. A similar juice is extracted from the leaves, but it is by no means4 so useful as the other. The seed is used also, as a substitute for nut-galls in curing leather.5

The juice extracted from the leaves, as also the extremely black juice of the Galatian6 acacia, is held in no esteem. The same too with that of a deep red colour. The gum which is of a purple, or of an ashy, grey colour, and which dissolves with the greatest rapidity, possesses the most astringent and cooling qualities of them all, and is more particularly useful as an ingredient in compositions for the eyes. When required for these purposes, the tablets are steeped in water by some, while some again scorch them, and others reduce them to ashes. They are useful for dyeing the hair, and for the cure of erysipelas, serpiginous sores, ulcerations of the humid parts of the body, gatherings, contusions of the joints, chilblains, and hangnails. They are good also for cases of excessive menstruation, procidence of the uterus and rectum, affections of the eyes, and ulcerations of the generative organs7 and mouth.

1 The Mimosa Nilotica of Linnæus; see B. xiii. c. 19. Fée seems inclined to identify the white thorn with the Cratægus oxyacantha of Lin- næus, the white hawthorn, or May. In the present passage, however, it is doubtful whether the colours apply to the varieties of gum, or to the trees which produce them. Sillig considers the passage to be corrupt.

2 The Prunus spinosa of Linnæus, Fée thinks, the sloe, or black thorn.

3 Fée says that the difference in appearance is very considerable between them.

4 The leaves containing little or no tannin.

5 In India, the bark of the Acacia Arabica is still used for tanning leather.

6 This juice, Fée says, obtained from the Prunus spinosa, is known at the present day in commerce by the name of Acacia nostras.

7 Fée queries, without sufficient foundation, it would appear, whether he is here speaking of syphilitic affections.

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