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The best lycium,1 they say, is that prepared from the thorn of that name, known also as the "Chironian pyxacanthus,"2 and mentioned by us when speaking of the trees of India, the lycium of those regions being generally looked upon as by far the best. The branches and roots, which are intensely bitter,3 are first pounded and then boiled for three days in a copper vessel, after which the woody parts are removed, and the decoction is boiled again, till it has attained the consistency of honey. It is adulterated with various bitter extracts,4 as also with amurca of olive oil and ox-gall. The froth or flower5 of this decoction is used as an ingredient in compositions for the eyes: and the other part of it is employed as a cosmetic for the face, and for the cure of itch-scabs, corroding sores in the corners of the eyes, inveterate fluxes, and suppurations of the ears. It is useful too for diseases of the tonsillary glands and gums, for coughs, and for discharges of blood from the mouth, being generally taken in pieces the size of a bean. For the cure of discharges from wounds, it is applied to the part affected; and it is similarly used for chaps, ulcerations of the genitals, excoriations, ulcers, whether putrid, serpiginous, or of recent date, hard excrescences6 of the nostrils, and suppurations. It is taken also by females, in milk, for the purpose of arresting the catamenia when in excess.

The Indian lycium is distinguished from the other kinds by its colour, the lumps being black outside, and, when broken, red within, though they turn black very quickly.7 It is bitter and remarkably astringent, and is employed for all the purposes above mentioned, diseases of the generative organs in particular.

1 See B. xii. c. 15. Fée identifies this with the modern Catechu, a decoction from the Acacia catechu, a leguminous plant of the East Indies.

2 The Rhamnus lycioides of Linnæus, our buckthorn. The Indian plant from which catechu is extracted is of a similar nature. See B. xii. c. 15.

3 This Fée looks upon as an exaggeration.

4 See B. xii. c. 15.

5 I. e. the choice part of it; see B. xii. c. 15. Catechu is adulterated at the present day with starch and argillaceous earths. As a medicament it is not possessed of a very powerful action.

6 "Clavos."

7 This statement is quite correct.

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