CHAP. 69.—THREE REMEDIES DERIVED FROM FIRE AND FROM ASHES.
Fire even has certain medicinal virtues of its own. When
pestilences prevail, in consequence of the obscuration1
sun, it is a well-known fact, that if fires are lighted, they are
productive of beneficial results in numerous ways. Empedocles
and Hippocrates have proved this in several passages.
"For convulsions or contusions of the viscera," says M.
Varro—for it is his own words that I use— "let the hearth be
your medicine-box; for lie of ashes,2
taken from thence, mixed
with your drink, will effect a cure. Witness the gladiators, for
example, who, when disabled at the Games, refresh themselves
with this drink." Carbuncle too, a kind of disease which, as
stated, has recently carried off two persons of consular
rank, admits of being successfully treated with oak-charcoal,4
triturated with honey. So true is it that things which are despised
even, and looked upon as so utterly destitute of all virtues,
have still their own remedial properties, charcoal and ashes for