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The plant which we call "alum,"1 and which is known to the Greeks as "symphyton2 petræon," is similar to cunila bubula3 in appearance, having a diminutive leaf and three or four branches springing from the root, with tops like those of thyme. It is a ligneous plant, odoriferous, of a sweet flavour, and provocative of saliva: the root of it is long and red. It grows upon rocks, to which circumstance it is indebted for its additional name of "petræon;" and is extremely useful4 for affections of the sides and kidneys, griping pains in the bowels, diseases of the chest and lungs, spitting of blood, and eruptions of the fauces. The root is pounded and taken in drink, or else a decoction is made of it in wine; sometimes, also, it is applied externally. Chewed, it allays thirst, and is particularly refreshing to the pulmonary organs. It is employed topically for sprains and contusions, and has a soothing effect upon the intestines.

Cooked upon hot ashes, with the follicules removed, and then beaten up with nine peppercorns and taken in water, it acts astringently upon the bowels. For the cure of wounds it is remarkably efficacious, being possessed of agglutinating5 properties to such a remarkable degree as to solder pieces of meat together with which it is boiled; to which, in fact, it is indebted for its Greek name.6 It is used also for the cure of fractured bones.

1 Identified by Desfontaines with the Symphytum officinale, or Great comfrey. Fee, however, considers it to be the Coris Monspeliensis of Lin- næus, Montpellier coris. Lobel identifies it with the Prunella vulgaris of Linnæus, Common self-heal, and Cæsalpinus with the Hyssopus officinalis of Linnæus. See B. xxvi. c. 26.

2 Fée reiterates his assertion here that this "rock" symphytum is a totally different plant from the Symphytum officinale, or Comfrey, though they appear to have been generally considered as identical by Scribonius Largus, Plinius Valerianus, Apuleius, and other writers.

3 See B. xxvi. c. 26.

4 This account of its medicinal properties applies properly to the Symphytum officinale, or Great comfrey, a plant which would appear to have been confounded by Pliny with the Alum, if Fée is right in his conjecture.

5 Hence its Latin name "consolida," and its French name "consoude." Fée says that Comfrey still figures in the French Materia Medica, and that the lower classes use it in most of the cases mentioned by Pliny; he states also, that it is destitute of energetic properties, in a medicinal point of view.

6 σύμφυτον, "consolidating."

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