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Smyrnion1 has a stem like that of parsley, but larger leaves, and growing principally about the young shoots, which are numerous. From the midst of these shoots the leaves make their appearance, unctuous, and bending towards the ground. This plant has a medicinal smell, penetrating to a certain degree, and agreeable: the colour of it is a pale yellow, and the stems bear rounded umbels like those of dill,2 with a round, black seed, which dries at the beginning of summer. The root, also, is odoriferous, of an acrid, pungent flavour, soft and juicy, black on the outer coat and pale within. The smell of it partakes very much of the nature of that of myrrh, to which, in fact, it owes its name: it grows in localities of a stony nature, or covered with humus. Its medicinal properties are warming and resolvent.

The leaves and root are used as a diuretic and as an emmenagogue; the seed arrests diarrhœa; and the root, applied topically, disperses abscesses and suppurations, provided they are not inveterate, and reduces indurated tumours. It is useful, also, for injuries inflicted by the phalangium and by serpents, taken in wine, with the addition of cachrys,3 polium,4 or melissophyllum;5 the dose, however, must be taken a little at a time only, for otherwise it acts as an emetic, a reason for which it is sometimes administered with rue. The seed or root is curative of cough, hardness of breathing, and diseases of the thoracic organs, spleen, kidneys, and bladder; the root, too, is used for ruptures and convulsions. This plant facilitates delivery, and brings away the afterbirth; it is also given, in combination with crethmos,6 in wine, for sciatica. It acts as a sudorific and carminative, for which reason it is used to disperse flatulency of the stomach; it promotes, also, the cicatrization of wounds.

A juice is extracted from the root, which is very useful for female complaints, and for affections of the thoracic organs and viscera, possessing, as it does, certain calorific, digestive, and detergent properties. The seed, in particular, is given in drink for dropsy, external applications being made of the juice, and emollient poultices applied of the dried rind of the root. It is used, also, as a seasoning for food, boiled meat in particular, with the addition of honied wine, oil, and garum.7

Sinon,8 a plant with a flavour very like that of pepper, promotes the digestion, and is highly efficacious for pains in the stomach.

1 See B. xix. cc. 48, 62. It is generally identified with the Smyrnium perfoliatum of Linnæus, the Perfoliated alexander.

2 "Anethi" is a preferable reading to "apii," "parsley."

3 See B. xxiv. c. 60.

4 See B. xxi. c. 21.

5 See B. xxi. c. 86.

6 See B. xxvi. c. 60.

7 "Fish-sauce." See B. ix. c. 30, and B. xxxi. c. 43.

8 Possibly the same plant as the Sison of Dioscorides, identified with the Sison amomum of Linnæus, Field hone-wort, or stone-parsley.

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