CHAP. 95.—HEMLOCK: THIRTEEN REMEDIES.
too, is a poisonous plant, rendered odious by the
use made of it by the Athenian people, as an instrument of
capital punishment: still,2
however, as it is employed for
many useful purposes, it must not be omitted. It is the seed
that is noxious, the stalk being eaten by many people, either
green, or cooked3
in the saucepan. This stem is smooth,
jointed like a reed, of a swarthy hue, often as much as two
cubits in height, and branchy at the top. The leaves are like
those of coriander, only softer, and possessed of a powerful
odour. The seed is more substantial than that of anise, and
the root is hollow and never used. The seed and leaves are
possessed of refrigerating properties; indeed, it is owing to
these properties that it is so fatal, the cold chills with which it
is attended commencing at the extremities. The great remedy 4
for it, provided it has not reached the vitals, is wine, which is
naturally of a warming tendency; but if it is taken in wine.
it is irremediably fatal.
A juice is extracted from the leaves and flowers; for it is
at the time of its blossoming that it is in its full vigour. The
seed is crushed, and the juice extracted from it is left to
thicken in the sun, and then divided into lozenges. This
preparation proves fatal by coagulating the blood—another
deadly property which belongs to it; and hence it is that the
bodies of those who have been poisoned by it are covered with
spots. It is sometimes used in combination with water as a medium for diluting certain medicaments. An emollient poultice
is also prepared from this juice, for the purpose of cooling the
stomach; but the principal use made of it is as a topical application, to check defluxions of the eyes in summer, and to
allay pains in those organs. It is employed also as an ingre-
dient in eyesalves, and is used for arresting fluxes in other parts
of the body: the leaves, too, have a soothing effect upon all
kinds of pains and tumours, and upon defluxions of the eyes.
Anaxilaüs makes a statement to the effect, that if the
are rubbed with hemlock (luring virginity, they will
always be hard and firm: but a better-ascertained fact is, that
to the mamillæ, it dries up the mill in women re-
cetntly delivered; as also that, applied to the testes at the age
of puberty, it acts most effectually as an antaphrodisiac.7
to those cases in which it is recommended to take it internally
as a remedy, I shall, for my own part, decline to mention them.
The most powerful hemlock is that grown at Susa, in Parthia,
the next best being the produce of Laconia, Crete, and Asia.8
In Greece, the hemlock of the finest quality is that of Megara,
and next to it, that of Attica.