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Fire even has certain medicinal virtues of its own. When pestilences prevail, in consequence of the obscuration1 of the 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 already3 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 example.

1 He alludes, probably, to eclipses of the sun.

2 Acacia charcoal is still recommended as a valuable tonic, and as good for internal ulcerations and irritations of the mucous membrane.

3 In B. xxvi. c. 4.

4 "Querneus."

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