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The glycyside,1 by some called "pæonia" or "pentorobos," has a stem two cubits in length, accompanied by two or three others, and of a reddish colour, with a bark like that of the laurel. The leaves are similar to those of isatis,2 but more unctuous, rounder, and more diminutive; the seed is enclosed in capsules, some being red and some black, there being two varieties of the plant. The female plant is generally thought to be the one to the root of which some six or eight bulbs are attached, of an elongated form; those of the male plant3 being more in number, as it throws out more roots than one, a palm in length, and of a white colour: it has also an astringent taste. The leaves of the female plant smell like myrrh,4 and lie closer together than those of the male.

Both plants grow in the woods, and they should always be taken up at night,5 it is said; as it would be dangerous to do so in the day-time, the woodpecker of Mars being sure to attack the eyes6 of the person so engaged. It is stated also that the person, while taking up the root, runs great risk of being attacked with procidence of the anus: all this, however, I take to be so much fiction, most frivolously invented topuff off their supposed marvellous properties. Both plants are used7 for various purposes: the red seed, taken in red wine, about fifteen in number, arrest menstruation; while the black seed, taken in the same proportion, in either raisin or other vine, are curative of diseases of the uterus. The root, taken in vine, allays all kinds of pains in the bowels, and acts as a purgaive; it cures opisthotony also, jaundice, nephritic diseases, and affections of the bladder. Boiled in wine, it is used for diseaes of the trachea and stomach, and acts astringently upon the bowels. It is eaten also by beasts of burden, but when wanted for remedial purposes, four drachmæ are sufficient.

The black seed is useful as a preventive of night-mare,8 being taken in wine, in number above stated: it is very good, too, to eat this seed, and to apply it externally, for gnawing pains of the stomach. Suppurations are also dispersed, when recent, with the black seed, and when of long standing, with the red: both kinds are very useful, too, for wounds inflicted by serpents, and in cases where children are troubled with calculi, being employed at the crisis when strangury first makes its appearance.

1 The Peony; described in B. xxv. c. 10.

2 See B. xx. c. 25, and B. xxii. c. 2.

3 See B. xxv. c. 10.

4 In reality it is destitute of smell.

5 See B. xxv. c. 10.

6 Or, as Holland says, would "be ready to job out their eyes."

7 In reality, the peony has no medicinal virtues whatever.

8 "Suppressionibus nocturnis."

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