CHAP. 26.—REMEDIES FOR TOOTH-ACHE. THE DOG-FISH : FOUR
REMEDIES. WHALE'S FLESH.
Tooth-ache is alleviated by scarifying the gums with bones
of the sea-dragon, or by rubbing the teeth once a year with
the brains of a dog-fish1
boiled in oil, and kept for the purpose.
It is a very good plan too, for the cure of tooth-ache, to lance
the gums with the sting of the pastinaca2
in some cases.
This sting, too, is pounded, and applied to the teeth with white
hellebore, having the effect of extracting them without the
slightest difficulty. Another of these remedies is, ashes of
salted fish calcined in an earthen vessel, mixed with powdered
marble. Stale cybium,3
rinsed in a new earthen vessel, and
then pounded, is very useful for the cure of tooth-ache.
Equally good, it is said, are the back-bones of all kinds of salt
fish, pounded and applied in a liniment. A decoction is made of
a single frog boiled in one hemina of vinegar, and the teeth
are rinsed with it, the decoction being retained in the mouth.
In cases where a repugnance existed to making use of this
remedy, Sallustius Dionysius4
used to suspend frogs over
boiling vinegar by the hind legs, so as to make them discharge
their humours into the vinegar by the mouth, using considerable
numbers of frogs for the purpose: to those, however, who
had a stronger stomach, he prescribed the frogs themselves,
eaten with their broth. It is generally thought, too, that
this recipe applies more particularly to the double teeth, and
that the vinegar prepared as above-mentioned, is remarkably
useful for strengthening them when loose.
For this last purpose, some persons cut off the legs of two
frogs, and then macerate the bodies in two heminæ of wine,
recommending this preparation as a collutory for strengthening
loose teeth. Others attach the frogs, whole, to the exterior of
the jaws :5
and with some it is the practice to boil ten frogs,
in three sextarii of vinegar, down to one-third, and to use the
decoction as a strengthener of loose teeth. By certain authorities,
too, it has been recommended to boil the hearts of six-and-thirty
frogs beneath a copper vessel, in one sextarius of old
oil, and then to inject the decoction into the ear on the same
side of the jaw as the part affected: while others again have
used, as an application for the teeth, a frog's liver, boiled, and
beaten up with honey. All the preparations above described
will be found still more efficacious if made from the seafrog6
In cases where the teeth are carious and emit an
offensive smell, it is recommended to dry some whale's7
in an oven for a night, and then to add an equal quantity of
salt, and use the mixture as a dentifrice. "Enhydris"8
name given by the Greeks to a snake that lives in the water.
With the four upper teeth of this reptile, it is the practice, for
the cure of aching in the upper teeth, to lance the upper gums,
and with the four lower teeth, for aching in the lower. Some
persons, however, content themselves with using an eyetooth
only. Ashes, too, of burnt crabs are used for this purpose;
and the murex, reduced to ashes, makes an excellent dentifrice.