CHAP. 70.—THE CYPEROS: FOURTEEN REMEDIES. THE CYPERIS.
The cyperos, as we have just stated, is a rush of angular shape,
white near the ground, and black and solid at the top. The
lower leaves are more slender than those of the leek, and those
at the top are small, with the seed of the plant lying between
them. The root resembles a black olive,1
and when it is of
an oblong shape, the plant is known as the "cyperis,"2
employed in medicine to a great extent. The cyperos most
highly esteemed is that of the vicinity of the Temple of Jupiter Hammon, the next best being that of Rhodes, the next
that of Thrsæ, and the worst of all that of Egypt, a circumstance
which tends greatly to add to the misunderstanding on the
subject, as that country produces the cypiros as well: but the
cypiros which grows there is extremely hard, and has hardly
any smell at all, while all the other3
varieties of it have an
odour strongly resembling that of nard.
There is also an Indian plant, called the "cypira,"4
totally different character, and similar to ginger in appearance;
when chewed, it has exactly the flavour of saffron.
The cyperos, employed medicinally, is possessed of certain
depilatory properties. It is used in liniments for hang-nails
and ulcerous sores of the genitals and of all parts of the body
which are of a humid nature, ulcers of the mouth, for instance.
The root of it is a very efficacious remedy for the stings of serpents and scorpions. Taken in drink, it removes obstructions
of the uterus, but if employed in too large doses, it is liable to
cause prolapsus of that organ. It acts also as a diuretic, and
expels calculi of the bladder; properties which render it extremely useful in dropsy. It is employed topically, also, for
serpiginous ulcers, those of the throat more particularly, being
usually applied with wine or vinegar.