CHAP. 47.—REMEDIES FOR THE DISEASES OF INFANTS.
For infants that are troubled with coagulation of the milk,
a grand preservative is lamb's rennet, taken in water; and in
cases where the milk has so coagulated, it may be remedied
by administering rennet in vinegar. For the pains incident
to dentition, sheep's brains are a very useful remedy. The
inflammation called "siriasis,"1
to which infants are liable, is
cured by attaching to them the bones that are found in the
dung of dogs. Hernia in infants is cured by letting a green
lizard bite the child's body while asleep, after which the lizard
is attached to a reed, and hung up in the smoke; by the time
the animal dies, the child will be perfectly cured, it is said.
The slime of snails, applied to the eyes of children, straightens
the eyelashes, and makes them grow. Ashes of burnt snails,
applied with frankincense and juice of white grapes, are a cure
for hernia [in infants], if applied for thirty days consecutively.
Within the horns2
of snails, there are certain hard substances
found, like grits of sand: attached to infants, they facilitate
Ashes of empty snail-shells, mixed with wax, are a preventive of procidence of the rectum; but they must be used
in combination with the matter that exudes from a viper's
brains, on the head being pricked. Vipers' brains, attached to
the infant's body in a piece of skin, facilitate dentition, a similar effect being produced by using the larger teeth of serpents.
Ravens' dung, attached to an infant with wool, is curative of
It is hardly possible to preserve one's seriousness in describing
some of these remedies, but as they have been transmitted to
us, I must not pass them in silence. For the treatment of
hernia in infants, a lizard is recommended; but it must be a
male lizard, a thing that may be ascertained by its having but
one orifice beneath the tail. The method of proceeding, is for
the lizard to bite the part affected through cloth of gold, cloth
of silver, and cloth dyed purple; after which it is tied fast in a
cup that has never been used, and smoked. Incontinence of
urine in infants is checked by giving them boiled mice3
their food. The large indented horns of the scarabmus, attached
to the bodies of infants, have all the virtues of an amulet. In
the head of the boa;4
there is a small stone, they say, which
the serpent spits out, when it is in fear of death: if the reptile
is taken by surprise, and the head cut off, and this stone ex-
tracted, it will aid dentition to a marvellous degree, attached
to the neck of infants. The brains, too, of the same serpent
are recommended to be attached to the body for a similar purpose, as also the small stone or bone that is found in the back
of the slug.
An admirable promoter of dentition is found in sheep's
brains, applied to the gums; and equally good for diseases of
the ears, is an application of goose-grease, with juice of ocimum.
Upon prickly plants there is found a kind of rough, hairy,
grub: attached to the neck of infants, these insects give instant
relief, it is said, when any of the food has stuck in the throat.