CHAP. 59.—THE CAPPARIS OR CAPER: EIGHTEEN REMEDIES.
We have already spoken1
of the caper at sufficient length
when treating of the exotic plants. The caper which comes2
from beyond sea should never be used; that of Italy3
is not so
dangerous. It is said, that persons who eat this plant daily,
are never attacked by paralysis or pains in the spleen. The
root of it, pounded, removes white eruptions of the skin, if
rubbed with it in the sun. The bark4
of the root, taken in
wine, in doses of two drachmæ, is good for affections of the
spleen; the patient, however, must forego the use of the bath.
It is said, too, that in the course of thirty-five days the whole
of the spleen may be discharged under this treatment, by urine
and by stool. The caper is also taken in drink for lumbago and
paralysis; and the seed of it boiled, and beaten up in vinegar,
or the root chewed, has a soothing effect in tooth-ache. A
decoction of it in oil is employed, also, as an injection for ear-ache.
The leaves and the root, fresh out of the ground, mixed
with honey, are a cure for the ulcers known as phagedænic.
In the same way, too, the root disperses scrofulous swellings;
and a decoction of it in water removes imposthumes of the parotid
glands, and worms. Beaten up and mixed with barley-meal, it is applied
topically for pains in the liver; it is a cure,
also, for diseases of the bladder. In combination with oxymel,
it is prescribed for tapeworm, and a decoction of it in vinegar
removes ulcerations of the mouth. It is generally agreed
among writers that the caper is prejudicial to the stomach.