previous next


Menstruation is promoted by using hall's gall, in unwashed wool, as a pessary: Olympias of Thebe adds hyssop and nitre. Ashes, too, of deer's horns are taken in drink for the same purpose, and for derangements of the uterus they are applied topically, as also bull's gall, used as a pessary with opium, in the proportion of two oboli. It is a good plan, too, to use fumigations for the uterus, made with deer's hair, burnt. Hinds, they say, when they find themselves pregnant, are in the habit of swallowing a small stone. This stone, when found in their excrements, or in the uterus—for it is to be found there as well—attached to the body as an amulet, is a preventive of abortion. There are also certain small stones, found in the heart and uterus of these animals, which are very useful for women during pregnancy and in travail. As to the kind of pumice-stone which is similarly found in the uterus of the cow, we have already1 mentioned it when treating of the formation of that animal.

A wolf's fat, applied externally, acts emolliently upon the uterus, and the liver of a wolf is very soothing for pains in that organ. It is found advantageous for women, when near delivery, to eat wolf's flesh, or, if they are in travail, to have a person near them who has eaten it; so much so, indeed, that it will act as a countercharm even to any noxious spells which may have been laid upon them. In case, however, a person who has eaten wolf's flesh should happen to enter the room at the moment of parturition, dangerous effects will be sure to follow. The hare, too, is remarkably useful for the complaints of females: the lights of that animal, dried and taken in drink, are beneficial to the uterus; the liver, taken in water with Samian earth, acts as an emmenagogue; and the rennet brings away the after-birth, due care being taken by the patient not to bathe the day before. Applied in wool as a pessary, with saffron and leek-juice, this last acts as an expellent upon the dead fœtus. It is a general opinion that the uterus of a hare, taken with the food, promotes the conception of male offspring, and that a similar effect is produced by using the testes and rennet of that animal. It is thought, too, that a leveret, taken from the uterus of its dam, is a restorative of fruitfulness to women who are otherwise past child-bearing. But it is the blood of a hare's fœtus that the magicians recommend males to drink: while for young girls they prescribe nine pellets of hare's dung, to ensure a durable firmness to the breasts. For a similar purpose, also, they apply hare's rennet with honey; and to prevent hairs from growing again when once removed, they use a liniment of hare's blood.

For inflations of the uterus, it is found a good plan to apply wild boars' dung or swine's dung topically with oil: but a still more effectual remedy is to dry the dung, and sprinkle it, powdered, in the patient's drink, even though she should be in a state of pregnancy or suffering the pains of child-birth. By administering sow's milk with honied wine, parturition is facilitated; and if taken by itself it will promote the secretion of the milk when deficient in nursing women. By rubbing the breasts of females with sow's blood they are prevented from becoming too large. If pains are felt in the breasts, they will be alleviated by drinking asses' milk; and the same milk, taken with honey, has considerable efficacy as an emmenagogue. Stale fat, too, from the same animal, heals ulcerations of the uterus: applied as a pessary, in wool, it acts emolliently upon indurations of that organ; and, applied fresh by itself, or in water when stale, it has all the virtues of a depilatory.

An ass's milt, dried and applied in water to the breasts, promotes the secretion of the milk; and used in the form of a fumigation, it acts as a corrective upon the uterus. A fumigation made with a burnt ass's hoof; placed beneath a woman, accelerates parturition, so much so, indeed, as to expel the dead fœtus even: hence it is that it should only be employed in cases of miscarriage, it having a fatal effect upon the living fœtus. Asses' dung, applied fresh, has a wonderful effect, they say, in arresting discharges of blood in females: the same, too, with the ashes of this dung, which, used as a pessary, are very good for the uterus. If the skin is rubbed with the foam from a horse's mouth for forty days together, before the first hair has made its appearance, it will effectually prevent the growth thereof: a decoction, too, made from deer's antlers is productive of a similar effect, being all the better if they are used quite fresh. Mares' milk, used as an injection, is highly beneficial to the uterus.

Where the fœtus is felt to be dead in the uterus, the lichens or excrescences from a horse's legs, taken in fresh water, will act as an expellent: an effect produced also by a fumigation made with the hoofs or dry dung of that animal. Procidence of the uterus is arrested by using butter, in the form of an injection; and indurations of that organ are removed by similarly employing ox-gall, with oil of roses, turpentine being applied externally in wool. They say, too, that a fumigation, made from ox-dung, acts as a corrective upon procidence of the uterus, and facilitates parturition; and that conception is promoted by the use of cows' milk. It is a well-known fact that sterility is often entailed by suffering in child-birth; an evil which may be averted, Olympias of Thebes assures us, by rubbing the parts, before sexual intercourse, with bull's gall, serpents' fat, verdigrease, and honey. In cases, too, where menstruation is too abundant, the external parts should be sprinkled with a solution of calf's gall, the moment before the sexual congress; a method which acts emolliently also upon indurations of the abdomen. Applied to the navel as a liniment, it arrests excessive discharges, and is generally beneficial to the uterus. The proportions generally adopted are—one denarius of gall, one-third of a denarius of opium, and as much oil of almonds as may appear to be requisite; the whole being applied in sheep's wool. The gall, too, of a bull-calf is beaten up with half the quantity of honey, and kept in readiness for the treatment of uterine diseases. If a woman about the time of conception eats roasted veal with the plant aristolochia,2 she will bring forth a male child, we are assured. Calf's marrow, boiled in wine and water with the suet, and applied as a pessary, is good for ulcerations of the uterus; the same, too, with foxes' fat and cats' dung, the last being applied with resin and oil of roses.

It is considered a remarkably good plan to subject the uterus to fumigations made with burnt goats' horns. The blood of the wild goat, mixed with sea-palm,3 acts as a depilatory. The gall of the other kinds of goat, used as an injection, acts emolliently upon callosities of the uterus, and ensures conception immediately after menstruation: it possesses also the virtues of a depilatory, the application being left for three days upon the flesh after the hair has been removed. The midwives assure us that she-goats' urine, taken in drink, and the dung, applied topically, will arrest uterine discharges, however much in excess. The membrane in which the kid is enclosed in the uterus, dried and taken in wine, acts as an expel- lent upon the after-birth. For affections of the uterus, it is thought a desirable plan to fumigate it with burnt kids' hair; and for discharges of blood, kids' rennet is administered in drink, or seed of henbane is applied. According to Osthanes, if a woman's loins are rubbed with blood taken from the ticks upon a black wild bull, she will be inspired with an aversion to sexual intercourse: she will forget, too, her former love, by taking a he-goat's urine in drink, some nard being mixed with it to disguise the loathsome taste.

1 In 1. xi. c. 79,

2 See B. xxv. cc. 79, 84, 91.

3 See B. xiii. c. 49.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (4 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: