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I shall begin then with some remedies that are well known, those namely, which are derived from wool and from the eggs of birds, thus giving due honour to those substances which hold the principal place in the estimation of mankind; though at the same time I shall be necessitated to speak of some others out of their proper place, according as occasion may offer. I should not have been at a loss for high-flown language with which to grace my narrative, had I made it my design to regard anything else than what, as being strictly trustworthy,1 becomes my work: for among the very first remedies mentioned, we find those said to be derived from the ashes and nest of the phœnix,2 as though, forsooth, its existence were a well ascertained fact, and not altogether a fable. And then besides, it would be a mere mockery to describe remedies that can only return to us once in a thousand years.

(2.) The ancient Romans attributed to wool a degree of religious importance even, and it was in this spirit that they enjoined that the bride should touch the door-posts of her husband's house with wool. In addition to dress and protection from the cold, wool, in an unwashed state, used in combination with oil, and wine or vinegar, supplies us with numerous remedies, according as we stand in need of an emollient or an excitant, an astringent or a laxative. Wetted from time to time with these liquids, greasy wool is applied to sprained limbs, and to sinews that are suffering from pain. In the case of sprains, some persons are in the habit of adding salt, while others, again, apply pounded rue and grease, in wool: the same, too, in the case of contusions or tumours. Wool will improve the breath, it is said, if the teeth and gums are rubbed with it, mixed with honey; it is very good, too, for phrenitis,3 used as a fumigation. To arrest bleeding at the nose, wool is introduced into the nostrils with oil of roses; or it is used in another manner, the ears being well plugged with it. In the case of inveterate ulcers it is applied topically with honey: soaked in wine or vinegar, or in cold water and oil, and then squeezed out, it is used for the cure of wounds.

Rams' wool, washed in cold water, and steeped in oil, is used for female complaints, and to allay inflammations of the uterus. Procidence of the uterus is reduced by using this wool in the form of a fumigation. Greasy wool, used as a plaster and as a pessary, brings away the dead fœtus, and arrests uterine discharges. Bites inflicted by a mad dog are plugged with unwashed wool, the application being removed at the end of seven days. Applied with cold water, it is a cure for agnails: steeped in a mixture of boiling nitre, sulphur, oil, vinegar, and tar, and applied twice a day, as warm as possible, it allays pains in the loins. By making ligatures with unwashed rams' wool about the extremities of the limbs, bleeding is effectually stopped.

In all cases, the wool most esteemed is that from the neck of the animal; the best kinds of wool being those of Galatia, Tarentum, Attica, and Miletus. For excoriations, blows, bruises, contusions, crushes, galls, falls, pains in the head and other parts, and for inflammation of the stomach, unwashed wool is applied, with a mixture of vinegar and oil of roses. Reduced to ashes, it is applied to contusions, wounds, and burns, and forms an ingredient in ophthalmic compositions. It is employed, also, for fistulas and suppurations of the ears. For this last purpose, some persons take the wool as it is shorn, while others pluck it from the fleece; they then cut off the ends of it, and after drying and carding it, lay it in pots of unbaked earth, steep it well in honey, and burn it. Others, again, arrange it in layers alternately with chips of torchpine,4 and, after sprinkling it with oil, set fire to it: they then rub the ashes into small vessels with the hands, and let them settle in water there. This operation is repeated and the water changed several times, until at last the ashes are found to be slightly astringent, without the slightest pungency; upon which, they are put by for use, being possessed of certain caustic properties,5 and extremely useful as a detergent for the eyelids.

1 He certainly does not always keep this object in view.

2 See B. x. c. 2, and 1. xii. c. 42.

3 A form of fever, Littré remarks, that is known by the moderns as "pseudo-continuous."

4 See B. xvi. c. 19.

5 "Smectica" is suggested by Gesner, Hist. Anim., as a better reading than "septica."

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