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There are some things, of a most revolting nature, but which are recommended by authors with such a degree of assurance, that it would be improper to omit them, the more particularly as it is to the sympathy or antipathy of objects that remedies owe their existence. Thus the bug, for instance, a most filthy insect, and one the very name of which inspires us with loathing, is said to be a neutralizer of the venom of serpents, asps in particular, and to be a preservative against all kinds of poisons. As a proof of this, they tell us that the sting of an asp is never fatal to poultry, if they have eaten bugs that day; and that, if such is the case, their flesh is remarkably beneficial to persons who have been stung by serpents. Of the various recipes1 given in reference to these insects, the least revolting are the application of them externally to the wound, with the blood of a tortoise; the employment of them as a fumigation to make leeches loose their hold; and the administering of them to animals in drink when a leech has been accidentally swallowed. Some persons, however, go so far as to crush bugs with salt and woman's milk, and anoint the eyes with the mixture; in combination, too, with honey and oil of roses, they use them as an injection for the ears. Field-bugs, again, and those found upon the mallow,2 are burnt, and the ashes mixed with oil of roses as an injection for the ears.

As to the other remedial virtues attributed to bugs, for the cure of vomiting, quartan fevers, and other diseases, although we find recommendations given to swallow them in an egg, some wax, or in a bean, I look upon them as utterly unfounded, and not worthy of further notice. They are employed, however, for the treatment of lethargy, and with some fair reason, as they successfully neutralize the narcotic effects of the poison of the asp: for this purpose seven of them are administered in a cyathus of water, but in the case of children only four. In cases, too, of strangury, they have been injected into the urinary channel:3 so true it is that Nature, that universal parent, has engendered nothing without some powerful reason or other. In addition to these particulars, a couple of bugs, it is said, attached to the left arm in some wool that has been stolen from the shepherds, will effectually cure nocturnal fevers; while those recurrent in the daytime may be treated with equal success by enclosing the bugs in a piece of russet-coloured cloth. The scolopendra, on the other hand, is a great enemy to these insects; used in the form of a fumigation, it kills them.

1 Guettard, a French commentator on Pliny, recommends bugs to be taken internally for hysteria!

2 Perhaps the Cimex pratensis is meant here. Neither this nor the Cimex juniperinus, the Cimex brassicæ, or the Lygæus hyoscami has the offensive smell of the house bug.

3 An excellent method, Ajasson remarks, of adding to the tortures of the patient.

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