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In the time, too, of our fathers, King Juba discovered1 a plant, to which he gave the name of "euphorbia," in honour of his physician, Euphorbus, the brother of the same Musa, whom We have mentioned2 as having saved the life of the late Emperor Augustus. It was these brothers who introduced the practice of douching the body with large quantities of cold water, immediately after the bath, for the purpose of bracing the system: whereas in former times, as we find stated in the works of Homer3 even, it was the practice to wash the body with warm water only. With reference to euphorbia,4 there is a treatise still in existence, written upon it by King Juba, in which he highly extols its merits: he discovered it growing upon Mount Atlas, and describes it as resembling a thyrsus in appearance, and bearing leaves like those of the acanthus.5

The properties of this plant are so remarkably powerful,6 that the persons engaged in collecting the juices of it are obliged to stand at a considerable distance. The incisions are made with a long pole shod with iron, the juice flowing into receivers of kid-leather placed beneath. The juice has all the appearance of milk, as it exudes, but when it has coagulated and dried, it assumes the form and consistency of frankincense. The persons engaged in collecting it, find their sight improved7 thereby. This juice is an excellent remedy for the stings of serpents: in whatever part of the body the wound may have been inflicted, the practice is to make an incision in the crown of the head, and there introduce the medicament. The Gætuli who collect it, are in the habit of adulterating it with warm milk;8 a fraud, however, easily to be detected by the agency of fire, that which is not genuine emitting a most disgusting smell.

Much inferior to this is the juice extracted, in Gaul,9 from the chamelæa,10 a plant which bears the grain of Cnidos. When broken asunder, it resembles hammoniacum11 in appearance; and however slightly tasted, it leaves a burning sensation in the mouth, which lasts a considerable time, and increases every now and then, until, in fact, it has quite parched the fauces.

1 See B. v. c. i.

2 In B. xix. c. 38.

3 Il. xii. 444.

4 The Euphorbia officinarum of Linnæus, Officinal spurge.

5 An incorrect statement, as Fée remarks.

6 Its odour, Fée says, is not so strong as Pliny would have us believe.

7 On the contrary, Fée observes, it would be not unlikely to produce ophthalmia of the most obstinate kind.

8 This Fée considers to be almost impracticable.

9 Cisalpine Gaul.

10 See B. xiii. c. 35.

11 See B. xii. c. 49, B. xxiv. c. 11, and B. xxxi. c. 39.

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