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The urine,1 too, has been the subject not only of numerous theories with authors, but of various religious observances as well, its properties being classified under several distinctive heads: thus, for instance, the urine of eunuchs, they say, is highly beneficial as a promoter of fruitfulness in females. But to turn to those remedies which we may be allowed to name without impropriety—the urine of children who have not arrived at puberty is a sovereign remedy for the poisonous secretions of the asp known as the "ptyas,"2 from the fact that it spits its venom into the eyes of human beings. It is good, too, for the cure of albugo, films and marks upon the eyes, white specks3 upon the pupils, and maladies of the eyelids. In combination with meal of fitches, it is used for the cure of burns, and, with a head of bulbed leek, it is boiled down to one half, in a new earthen vessel, for the treatment of suppurations of the ears, or the extermination of worms breeding in those organs: the vapour, too, of this decoction acts as an emmenagogue. Salpe recommends that the eyes should be fomented with it, as a means of strengthening the sight; and that it should be used as a liniment for sun scorches, in combination with white of egg, that of the ostrich being the most effectual, the application being kept on for a couple of hours.

Urine is also used for taking out ink spots. Male urine cures gout, witness the fullers for instance,4 who, for this reason, it is said, are never troubled with that disease. With stale urine some mix ashes of calcined oyster-shells, for the cure of eruptions on the bodies of infants, and all kinds of running ulcers: it is used, too, as a liniment for corrosive sores, burns, diseases of the rectum, chaps upon the body, and stings inflicted by scorpions. The most celebrated midwives have pronounced that there is no lotion which removes itching sensations more effectually; and, with the addition of nitre,5 they prescribe it for the cure of ulcers of the head, porrigo, and cancerous sores, those of the generative organs in particular. But the fact is, and there is no impropriety in saying so, that every person's own urine is the best for his own case, due care being taken to apply it immediately, and unmixed with anything else; in such cases as the bite of a dog, for instance, or the quill of a hedge-hog entering the flesh, a sponge or some wool being the vehicle in which it is applied. Kneaded up with ashes, it is good for the bite of a mad dog, and for the cure of stings inflicted by serpents. As to the bite of the scolopendra, the effects of urine are said to be quite marvellous—the person who has been injured has only to touch the crown of his head with a drop of his own urine, and he will experience an instantaneous cure.

1 This excretion was, till lately, thought of great importance, as indicative of the health of the patient.

2 From the Greek πτυὼ, "to spit."

3 "Argema."

4 Who had to use lant, or stale urine, in their business.

5 At a future period we shall have to discuss the identity of the "nitrum" of Pliny. See B. xxxi. c. 46.

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