CHAP. 92.—THE AON: THIRTEEN REMEDIES.
The Greeks themselves, in fact, have established an immense difference between these two plants, in attributing to
the seed of the dracunculus certain hot, pungent properties,
and a fetid odour1
so remarkably powerful as to be productive
while upon the aron, on the other hand, they
have bestowed marvellous encomiums. As an article of food,
however, they give the preference to the female plant, the
male plant being of a harder nature, and more difficult to cook.
It carries off,3
they say, all vicious humours from the chest,
and powdered and taken in the form either of a potion or of
an electuary, it acts as a diuretic and emmenagogue. Powdered
and taken in oxymel, it is good for the stomach; and we find
it stated that it is administered in ewe's milk for ulcerations
of the intestines, and is sometimes cooked on hot ashes and
given in oil for a cough. Some persons, again, are in the habit
of boiling it in milk and administering the decoction; and it
has been used also in a boiled state as a topical application for
defluxions of the eyes, contusions, and affections of the tonsillary glands. * * *4
prescribes it with oil, as an
injection for piles, and recommends it as a liniment, with
honey, for freckles.
Cleophantus has greatly extolled this plant as an antidote for
poisons, and for the treatment of pleurisy and peripneumony,
prepared the same way as for coughs. The seed too, pounded
with olive oil or oil of roses, is used as an injection for pains
in the ears. Dieuches prescribes it, mixed in bread5
for the cure of coughs, asthma, hardness of breathing, and
purulent expectorations. Diodotus recommends it, in combination with honey, as an electuary for phthisis and diseases of
the lungs, and as a topical application even for fractured bones.
Applied to the sexual parts, it facilitates delivery in all kinds
of animals; and the juice extracted from the root, in combination with Attic honey, disperses films upon the eyes, and
diseases of the stomach. A decoction of it with honey is
curative of cough; and the juice is a marvellous remedy for
ulcers of every description, whether phagedænic, carcinomatous,
or serpiginous, and for polypus of the nostrils. The leaves,
boiled in wine and oil, are good for burns, and, taken with
salt and vinegar, are strongly purgative; boiled with honey,
they are useful also for sprains, and used either fresh or
dried, with salt, for gout in the joints.
Hippocrates has prescribed the leaves, either fresh or
dried, with honey, as a topical application for abscesses. Two
drachmæ of the seed or root, in two cyathi of wine, are a
sufficient dose to act as an emmenagogue, and a similar quantity will have the effect of bringing away the after-birth, in
cases where it is retarded.6
Hippocrates used to apply the root
also, for the purpose. . They say too, that in times of pestilence
the employment of aron as an article of food is very beneficial.
It dispels the fumes of wine; and the smoke of it burnt drives
the asp in particular, or else stupefies them to
such a degree as to reduce them to a state of torpor. These
reptiles also will fly at the approach of persons whose bodies
have been rubbed with a preparation of aron with oil of
laurel: hence it is generally thought a good plan to administer
it in red wine to persons who have been stung by serpents.
Cheese, it is said, keeps remarkably well, wrapped in leaves
of this plant.