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The lathyris1 has numerous leaves like those of the lettuce,2 with numbers of small buds, in which the seed is contained, enclosed in envelopes like that of the caper. When these buds are dry, the seeds, about the size of a peppercorn, are taken out: they are white, sweet, and easily cleansed from the husk. Twenty of them, taken in pure water or in hydromel, are curative of dropsy, and carry off bile. Persons who require a stronger purgative, take them with the husks on. They are apt, however, to be injurious to the stomach; for which reason a plan has been adopted of taking them with fish or else chicken broth.

1 The Euphorbia lathyris of Linnæus, the Caper plant, or Caper spurge.

2 There is no such resemblance, except that they both contain a milky juice, the properties of which are, however, very different. It is a plant of an energetic and even dangerous nature, and must never be mistaken for the real caper.

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