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But it will be as well now to mention the various uses made of these plants, and the effects produced by them, beginning with that most dangerous of all evils that can befall us, stings inflicted by serpents. In such cases the plant britannica1 effects a cure, and the same is the case with the root of all the varieties of panaces,2 administered in wine. The flower, too, and seed of panaces chironion are taken in drink, or applied externally with wine and oil: cunila bubula,3 too, is looked upon as particularly useful for this purpose, and the root of polemonia or phileteris is taken in doses of four drachmæ in unmixed wine. Teucria,4 sideritis,5 and scordotis,6 are used in wine, plants particularly good, all of them, for injuries inflicted by snakes; the juice or leaves, or else a decoction of them, being taken in drink or applied to the wound. For a similar purpose also, the root of the greater centaury is taken, in doses of one drachma to three cyathi of white wine. Gentian, too, is particularly good for the stings of snakes, taken either fresh or dried, in doses of two drachmæ, mixed with rue and pepper in six cyathi of wine. The odour, too, of lysimachia7 puts serpents to flight.

Chelidonia8 is also given in wine to persons who have been stung; and betony in particular is used as an external application to the wound, a plant the virtues of which are so extraordinary, it is said, that if a circle of it is traced around a serpent, it will lash itself to death9 with its tail. The seed of this plant is also administered in such cases, in doses of one denarius to three cyathi of wine; or else it is dried and powdered, and applied to the wound, in the proportion of three denarii of powder to one sextarius of water.

Cantabrica, dittany, and aristolochia, are also similarly used, one drachma of the root of this last plant being taken every now and then in a semisextarius of wine. It is very useful too, rubbed in with vinegar, and the same is the case, also, with plistolochia:10 indeed it will be quite sufficient to suspend this last over the hearth, to make all serpents leave the house.

1 See c. 6 of this Book.

2 See cc. 11, 12, 13, 14, of this Book.

3 See B. xx. c. 61.

4 See B. xxiv. c. 80.

5 See c. 15 of this Book.

6 See c. 27 of this Book.

7 See c. 35 of this Book.

8 See c. 50 of this Book.

9 See B. xvi. c. 24.

10 See c. 54 of this Book. As Fée remarks, these asserted remedies for the stings of serpents are not deserving of discussion.

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