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The wild1 skirret, too, is very similar to the cultivated kind,2 and is productive of similar effects. It sharpens3 the stomach, and, taken with vinegar flavoured with silphium, or with pepper and hydromel, or else with garum, it promotes the appetite. According to Opion, it is a diuretic, and acts as an aphrodisiac.4 Diocles is also of the same opinion; in addition to which, he says that it possesses cordial virtues for convalescents, and is extremely beneficial after frequent vomitings.

Heraclides has prescribed it against the effects of mercury,5 and for occasional impotence, as also generally for patients when convalescent. Hicesius says that skirrets would appear to be prejudicial6 to the stomach, because no one is able to eat three of them following; still, however, he looks upon them as beneficial to patients who are just resuming the use of wine. The juice of the cultivated skirret, taken in goats-milk, arrests looseness of the stomach.

1 Or "erratic."

2 See B. xix. c. 28.

3 The root and seed, Fée observes, really are stimulants: there is no perceptible difference between the wild and cultivated plants. For silphium, see B. xix. c. 15.

4 Fée thinks that it may be so in a slight degree.

5 Pliny often speaks of persons having swallowed quicksilver, but never lets us know under what circumstances. As Fée remarks, it could not be accidentally; nor yet, on the other hand, could it have been done purposely, with the object of committing suicide, it not being an active poison. He concludes that it must have been taken medicinally, and that part of it becoming absorbed in the system, other remedies were resorted to, to counteract its noxious effects.

6 "Inutile," and not "utile," is evidently the correct reading here.

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