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Chrysippus has exclaimed as strongly, too, against ocimum1 as he has against parsley, declaring that it is prejudicial to the stomach and the free discharge of the urine, and is injurious to the sight; that it produces insanity, too, and lethargy, as well as diseases of the liver; and that it is for this reason that goats refuse to touch it. Hence he comes to the conclusion, that the use of it ought to be avoided by man. Some persons go so far as to say, that if beaten up, and then placed beneath a stone, a scorpion will breed there;2 and that if chewed, and then placed in the sun, worms will breed in it. The people of Africa maintain, too, that if a person is stung by a scorpion the same day on which he has eaten ocimum, his life cannot possibly be saved. Even more than this, there are some who assert, that if a handful of ocimum is beaten up with ten sea or river crabs, all the scorpions in the vicinity will be attracted to it. Diodotus, too, in his Book of Recipes,3 says, that ocimum, used as an article of food, breeds lice.

Succeeding ages, again, have warmly defended this plant; it has been maintained, for instance, that goats do eat it, that the mind of no one who has eaten of it is at all affected, and, that mixed with wine, with the addition of a little vinegar, it is a cure for the stings of land scorpions, and the venom of those found in the sea. Experience has proved, too, that the smell of this plant in vinegar is good for fainting fits and lethargy, as well as inflammations; that employed as a cooling liniment, with rose oil, myrtle oil, or vinegar, it is good for headache; and that applied topically with wine, it is beneficial for defluxions of the eyes. It has been found also, that it is good for the stomach; that taken with vinegar, it dispels flatulent eructations; that applications of it arrest fluxes of the bowels; that it acts as a diuretic, and that in this way it is good for jaundice and dropsy, as well as cholera and looseness of the bowels.

Hence it is that Philistio has prescribed it even for cœliac affections, and boiled, for dysentery. Some persons, too, though contrary to the opinion of Plistonicus, have given it in wine for tenesmus and spitting of blood, as also for obstructions of the viscera. It is employed, too, as a liniment for the mamillæ, and has the effect of arresting the secretion of the milk. It is very good also for the ears of infants, when applied with goose-grease more particularly. The seed of it, beaten up, and inhaled into the nostrils, is provocative of sneezing, and applied as a liniment to the head, of running at the nostrils: taken in the food, too, with vinegar, it purges the uterus. Mixed with copperas4 it removes warts. It acts, also, as an aphrodisiac, for which reason it is given to horses and asses at the season for covering.

(13.) Wild ocimum has exactly the same properties in every respect, though in a more active degree. It is particularly good, too, for the various affections produced by excessive vo- miting, and for abscesses of the womb. The root, mixed with wine, is extremely efficacious for bites inflicted by wild beasts.

1 The Ocimum basilicum of Linnæus, according to most commentators: though Fée is not of that opinion, it being originally from India, and never found in a wild state. From what Varro says, De Re Rust. B. i. c. 31, he thinks that it must be sought among the leguminous plants, the genus Hedysarum, Lathyrus, or Medicago. He remarks also, that Pliny is the more to be censured for the absurdities contained in this Chapter, as the preceding writers had only mentioned them to ridicule them.

2 See B. ix. c. 51.

3 "In Empericis."

4 "Atramento sutorio."

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