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CHAP. 49.—THE IBERIS: SEVEN REMEDIES.

It is but very lately, too, that Servilius Democrates, one of our most eminent physicians, first called attention to a plant to which he gave the name of iberis,1 a fanciful appellation2 only, bestowed by him upon this discovery of his in the verses by him devoted3 to it. This plant is found mostly growing in the vicinity of ancient monuments, old walls, and overgrown footpaths: it is an evergreen, and its leaves are like those of nasturtium, with a stem a cubit in height, and a seed so diminutive as to be hardly perceptible; the root, too, has just the smell of nasturtium. Its properties are more strongly developed in summer, and it is only used freshgathered: there is considerable difficulty in pounding it.

Mixed with a small proportion of axle-grease, it is extremely useful for sciatica and all diseases of the joints; the application being kept on some four hours at the utmost, when used by the male sex, and about half that time in the case of females. Immediately after its removal, the patient must take a warm bath, and then anoint the body all over with oil and wine the same operation being repeated every twenty days, so long as there are any symptoms of pain remaining. A similar method is adopted for the cure of all internal defluxions; it is never applied, however, so long as the inflammation is at its height, but only when it has somewhat abated.

1 Fée identifies it with the Lepidium graminifolium of Linnæus, Grassleaved pepperwort; Desfontaines with the L. Iberis of Linnæus, Bushy pepperwort. Littré gives as its synonym the Iberis amara of Linnæus, the White candy-tuft.

2 "Fictum nomen." Salmasius thinks that by these words, Pliny means that Democrates invented the name of a friend of his as being the discoverer of this plant, which in reality was discovered by himself. It would seem to mean, however, that the name "iberis" was only a fanciful title, derived from the country where it was found, and given to it for want of acquaintance with its real name.

3 Still preserved in Galen, B. x. c. 2.

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