previous next


Wild asparagus is by some persons called "corruda," by others "libycum," and by the people of Attica "orminus."1 For all the affections above enumerated it is more efficacious even than the cultivated kind, that which is white2 more particularly. This vegetable has the effect of dispelling the jaundice, and a decoction of it, in doses of one hemina, is recommended as an aphrodisiac; a similar effect is produced also by a mixture of asparagus seed and dill in doses of three oboli respectively. A decoction of asparagus juice is given also for the stings of serpents; and the root of it, mixed with that of marathrum,3 is reckoned in the number of the most valuable remedies we are acquainted with.

In cases of hæmaturia, Chrysippus recommends a mixture of asparagus, parsley, and cummin seed, to be given to the patient every five days, in doses of three oboli, mixed with two cyathi of wine. He says, however, that though employed this way, it is a good diuretic, it is bad for dropsy, and acts as an antaphrodisiac; and that it is injurious to the bladder, unless it is boiled first.4 He states also, that if the water in which it is boiled is given to dogs, it will kill them;5 and that the juice of the root boiled in wine, kept in the mouth, is an effectual cure for tooth-ache.

1 See B. xix. c. 42: the Asparagus tenuifolius of Linnæus, the wild asparagus, or Corruda of the South of France.

2 Fée says that in the South of Europe there is a kind, known to botanists as white asparagus, with a prickly stem: he suggests that it may possibly be the same as that here spoken of.

3 Or fennel. Fée says that, till very recently, the roots of asparagus and of fennel were combined in medicine, forming part of the five "major aperitive" roots. The sirop of the five aperitive roots is still used, he says, in medicine.

4 Chrysippus and Dioscorides were of opinion, that a decoction of asparagus root causes sterility in women; a false notion, which, as Fée remarks, prevailed very generally in Greece.

5 See B. xix. c. 37. Parsley, though possessed of marked properties, is but little employed in medicine. What Pliny here states respecting it, Fée says, is a tissue of fables: but it is still used for the cure of sores, and even as an ophthalmic.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: