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Castor1 oil, taken with an equal quantity of warm water, acts as a purgative2 upon the bowels. It is said, too, that as a purgative this oil acts more particularly upon the regions of the diaphragm.3 It is very useful for diseases of the joints, all kinds of indurations, affections of the uterus and ears, and for burns: employed with the ashes of the murex,4 it heals itch-scabs and inflammations of the fundament. It improves the complexion also, and by its fertilizing tendencies promotes the growth of the hair. The cicus, or seed from which this oil is made, no animal will touch; and from these grape-like seeds5 wicks are made,6 which burn with a peculiar brilliancy; the light, however, that is produced by the oil is very dim, in consequence of its extreme thickness. The leaves are applied topically with vinegar for erysipelas, and fresh-gathered, they are used by themselves for diseases of the mamillæ and de- fluxions; a decoction of them in wine, with polenta and saf- fron, is good for inflammations of various kinds. Boiled by themselves, and applied to the face for three successive days, they improve the complexion.

1 "Oleum cicinum." See B. xv. c. 7.

2 It is still used in medicine for the same purpose.

3 "Præcordia;" either the diaphragm, or the parts above it, such as the heart and chest.

4 See B. ix. c. 52.

5 See B. xv. c. 7.

6 Fée is at a loss to know how these wicks could have been made: most probably, however, the seeds were beaten up into a pulp for the purpose. The oil is still used for lamps in some countries, though, as Pliny says, in consequence of its extreme thickness, the light it gives is not good.

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