CHAP. 38.—SCAMMONY; EIGHT REMEDIES.
also, is productive of derangement of the
stomach. It carries off bile, and acts strongly as a purgative
upon the bowels; unless, indeed, aloes are added, in the proportion of two drachmæ of aloes to two oboli of scammony. The
drug thus called is the juice of a plant that is branchy from
the root, and has unctuous, white, triangular, leaves, with
a solid, moist root, of a nauseous flavour: it grows in rich
white soils. About the period of the rising of the Dogstar, an excavation is made about the root, to let the juice
collect: which done. it is dried in the sun and divided into
tablets. The root itself, too, or the outer coat of it, is sometimes dried. The scammony most esteemed is that of Colophon,
Mysia, and Priene. In appearance it ought to he smooth and
shiny, and as much like bull glue as possible: it should present
a fungous surface also, covered with minute holes; should melt
with the greatest rapidity, have a powerful smell, and be sticky
like gum. When touched with the tongue, it should give out
a white milky liquid; it ought also to be extremely light, and
to turn white when melted.
This last feature is recognized in the spurious scammony
also, a compound of meal of fitches and juice of marine tithy-
which is mostly imported from Judea, and is very apt
to choke those who use it. The difference may be easily
detected, however, by the taste, as tithymalos imparts a burning sensation to the tongue. To be fully efficacious, scammony
should be two3
years old; before or after that age it is useless.
It has been prescribed to be taken by itself also, in doses of
four oboli, with hydromel and salt: but the most advantageous
mode of using it is in combination with aloes, care being taken
to drink honied wine the moment it begins to operate. The
root, too, is boiled down in vinegar to the consistency of honey,
and the decoction used as a liniment for leprosy. The head is
also rubbed with this decoction, mixed with oil, for head-ache.