THE PROPERTIES OF PLANTS AND FRUITS.
CHAP. 1.—THE PROPERTIES OF PLANTS.
Nature and the earth might have well filled the measure of
our admiration, if we had nothing else to do but to consider
the properties enumerated in the preceding Book, and the numerous varieties of plants that we find created for the wants
or the enjoyment of mankind. And yet, how much is there
still left for us to describe, and how many discoveries of a still
more astonishing nature! The greater part, in fact, of the
plants there mentioned recommend themselves to us by their
taste, their fragrance, or their beauty, and so invite us to
make repeated trials of their virtues: but, on the other hand.
the properties of those which remain to be described, furnish
us with abundant proof that nothing has been created by Nature
without some purpose to fulfil, unrevealed to us though it
CHAP. 2. (1.)—PLANTS USED BY NATIONS FOR THE ADORNMENT OF THE PERSON.
I remark, in the first place, that there are some foreign nations which, in obedience to long-established usage, employ
certain plants for the embellishment of the person. That,
among some barbarous peoples, the females1
stain the face by
means of various plants, there can be little doubt, and among
the Daci and the Sarmatæ we find the men even marking2
bodies. There is a plant in Gaul, similar to the plantago in
appearance, and known there by the name of "glastum:"3
with it both matrons and girls4
among the people of Britain
are in tile habit of staining the body all over, when taking
part in the performance of certain sacred rites; rivalling
hereby tile swarthy hue of the Æthiopianls, they go in a state
CHAP. 3. (2.)—EMPLOYMENT OF PLANTS FOR DYEING. EXPLANATION OF THE TERMS SAGMEN, VERBENA, AND CLARIGATIO.
We know, too, that from plants are extracted admirable
colours for dyeing; and, not to mention the berries5
Africa, and Lusitania, which furnish the coccus, a dye reserved for the military costume7
of our generals, the people of
Gaul beyond the Alps produce the Tyrian colours, the conchyliated,8
and all the other hues, by the agency of plants9
They have not there to seek the murex at tine bottom of the
sea, or to expose themselves to be the prey of the monsters of
the deep, while tearing it from their jaws, nor have they to go
searching in depths to which no anchor has penetrated—and
all this for the purpose of finding the means whereby some
mother of a family may appear more charming in the eyes of
her paramour, or the seducer may make himself more captivating to the wife of another man. Standing on dry land, the
people there gather in their dyes just as we do our crops of
corn—though one great fault in them is, that they wash10
were it not for which, luxury would have the means of bedecking itself with far greater magnificence, or, at all events,
at the price of far less danger.
It is not my purpose, however, here to enter further into
these details, nor shall I make the attempt, by substituting
resources attended with fewer risks, to circumscribe luxury
within the limits of frugality; though, at the same time, I
shall have to speak on another occasion how that vegetable
productions are employed for staining stone and imparting
their colours to walls.11
Still, however, I should not have
omitted to enlarge upon the art of dyeing, had I found that it
had ever been looked upon as forming one of our liberal12
Meantime, I shall be actuated by higher considerations, and
shall proceed to show in what esteem we are bound to hold
plants even, or in other words, the plants of little
note. For, indeed, the authors and founders of the Roman
sway have derived from these very plants even almost boundless results; as it was these same plants, and no others, that
afforded them the "sagmen,"14
employed in seasons of public
calamity, and the "verbena" of our sacred rites and embassies.
These two names, no doubt, originally signified the same thing,
—a green turf torn up from the citadel with the earth attached
to it; and hence, when envoys were dispatched to the enemy
for the purpose of clarigation, or, in other words, with the
object of clearly15
demanding restitution of property that had
been carried off, one of these officers was always known as
CHAP. 4. (3.)—THE GRASS GROWN: HOW RARELY IT HAS BEEN AWARDED.
Of all the crowns with which, in the days of its majesty,
the all-sovereign people, the ruler of the earth, recompensed
the valour of its citizens, there was none attended with higher
glory than the crown of grass.17
gems of gold, the vallar, mural, rostrate, civic, and triumphal
crowns, were, all of them, inferior to this: great, indeed, was
the difference between them, and far in the background were
they thrown by it. As to all the rest, a single individual
could confer them, a general or commander on his soldiers for
instance, or, as on some occasions, on his colleague: the senate,
too, exempt from the cares and anxieties of war, and the people
in the enjoyment of repose, could award them, together with
the honours of a triumph.
(4.) But as for the crown of grass, it was never conferred
except at a crisis of extreme desperation, never voted except
by the acclamation of the whole army, and never to any one
but to him who had been its preserver. Other crowns were
awarded by the generals to the soldiers, this alone by the
soldiers, and to the general. This crown is known also as the
"obsidional" crown, from the circumstance of a beleaguered
army being delivered, and so preserved from fearful disaster.
If we are to regard as a glorious and a hallowed reward the
civic crown, presented for preserving the life of a single citizen,
and him, perhaps, of the very humblest rank, what, pray, ought
to be thought of a whole army being saved, and indebted for its
preservation to the valour of a single individual?
The crown thus presented was made green grass,19
gathered on the spot where the troops so rescued had been
beleaguered. Indeed, in early times, it was the usual token of
victory for the vanquished to present to the conqueror a handful
of grass; signifying thereby that they surrendered20
tive soil, the land that had nurtured them, and the very right
even there to be interred—a usage which, to my own knowledge, still exists among the nations of Germany.21
CHAP. 5. (5.)—THE ONLY PERSONS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESENTED WITH THIS CROWN.
L. Siccius Dentatus22
was presented with this crown but
once, though he gained as many as fourteen civic crowns, and
fought one hundred and twenty battles, in all of which he was
victorious—so rarely is it that an army has to thank a single
individual only for its preservation! Some generals, however, have been presented with more than one of these crowns,
P. Decius Mus,23
the military tribune, for example, who received one from his own army, and another from the troops
which he had rescued24
when surrounded. He testified by an
act of devoutness in what high esteem he held such an honour
as this, for, adorned with these insignia, he sacrificed a white
ox to Mars, together with one hundred red oxen, which had
been presented to him by the beleaguered troops as the recompense of his valour: it was this same Decius, who afterwards,
when consul, with Imperiosus25
for his colleague, devoted his
life to secure victory to his fellow-citizens.
This crown was presented also by the senate and people of
Rome—a distinction than which I know of nothing in existence more glorious—to that same Fabius26
who restored the
fortunes of Rome by avoiding a battle; not, however, on the
occasion when he preserved the master of the horse27
army; for then it was deemed preferable by those who were
indebted to him for their preservation to present him with a
crown under a new title, that of "father." The crown of
grass was, however, awarded to him, with that unanimity
which I have mentioned, after Hannibal had been expelled
from Italy; being the only crown, in fact, that has hitherto
been placed upon the head of a citizen by the hands of the
state itself, and, another remarkable distinction, the only one
that has ever been conferred by the whole of Italy united.
CHAP. 6. (6.)—THE ONLY CENTURION THAT HAS BEEN THUS HONOURED.
In addition to the persons already mentioned, the honour
of this crown has been awarded to M. Calpurnius Flamma,28
then a military tribune in Sicily; but up to the present time
it has been given to a single centurion only, Cneius Petreius
Atinas, during the war with the Cimbri. This soldier, while
acting as primipilus29
under Catulus, on finding all retreat for
his legion cut off by the enemy, harangued the troops, and
after slaying his tribune who hesitated to cut a way through the
encampment of the enemy, brought away the legion in safety.
I find it stated also by some authors, that, in addition to this
honour, this same Petreius, clad in the prætexta, offered sacrifice at the altar, to the sound of the pipe,30
in presence of the
Marius and Catulus.
The Dictator Sylla has also stated in his memoirs, that when
legatus in the Marsic War he was presented with this crown
by the army, at Nola; an event which he caused to be com-
memorated in a painting at his Tusculan villa, which afterwards became the property of Cicero. If there is any truth
in this statement, I can only say that it renders his memory
all the more execrable, and that, by his proscriptions, with his
own hand he tore this crown from his brow, for few indeed
were the citizens whom he thus preserved, in comparison with
those he slaughtered at a later period. And let him even add
to this high honour his proud surname of "Felix,"32
if he will;
all the glories of this crown he surrendered to Sertorius, from
the moment that he put his proscribed fellow-citizens in a
stage of siege throughout the whole world.
Varro, too, relates that Scipio Æmilianus was awarded the
obsidional crown in Africa, under the consul Manilius,33
preservation of three cohorts, by bringing as many to their
rescue; an event commemorated by an inscription upon the
base of the statue erected in honour of him by the now deified
Emperor Augustus, in the Forum which bears his name. Au-
gustus himself was also presented by the senate with the obsidional crown, upon the ides34
of September, in the consulship35
of M. Cicero the Younger, the civic crown being looked upon
as not commensurate with his deserts. Beyond these, I do not
find any one mentioned as having been rewarded with this
CHAP. 7.—REMEDIES DERIVED FROM OTHER CHAPLET PLANTS.
in particular was employed in the composition of
this crown, such only being used as were found growing on
the spot so imperilled; and thus did they become the means,
however humble and unnoted themselves, of conferring high
honour and renown. All this, however, is but little known
among us at the present day; a fact which I am the less surprised at, when I reflect that those plants even are treated
with the same indifference, the purpose of which it is to preserve our health, to allay our bodily pains, and to repel the
advances of death! And who is there that would not visit
with censure, and justly visit, the manners of the present day?
Luxury and effeminacy have augmented the price at which
we live, and never was life more hankered after, or worse
for, than it is at present. This, however, we look upon
as the business of others, forsooth; other persons must see to it,
without our troubling ourselves to request them, and the physicians must exercise the necessary providence in our behalves.38
As for ourselves, we go on enjoying our pleasures, and are con-
tent to live—a thing that in my opinion reflects the highest
possible disgrace—by putting faith in others.39
Nay, even more than this, we ourselves are held in derision
by many, for undertaking these researches, and are charged
with busying ourselves with mere frivolities! It is some
solace, however, in the prosecution of these our boundless
labours, to have Nature as our sharer in this contempt: Nature who, as we will prove beyond a doubt, has never failed
in coming to the assistance of man, and has implanted40
dies for our use in the most despised even of the vegetable productions, medicaments in plants which repel us with their
It is of these, in fact, that it remains for us now to speak, as
next in succession to those which we have mentioned in the
preceding Book; and here we cannot sufficiently admire, and,
the wondrous providence displayed by Nature.
She had given us, as already42
shewn, plants soft to the touch,
and agreeable to the palate; in the flowers she had painted
the remedies for our diseases with her varied tints, and, while
commingling the useful with the delicious, had attracted our
attention by means of the pleasures of the eye. Here, how-
ever, she has devised another class of plants, bristling and repulsive to the sight, and dangerous to the touch; so much so,
indeed, that we fancy we all but hear the voice of her who
made them as she reveals to us her motives for so doing. It is
her wish, she says, that no ravening cattle may browse upon
them, that no wanton hand may tear them up, that no heedless footstep may tread them down, that no bird, perching there,
may break them: and in thus fortifying them with thorns, and
arming them with weapons, it has been her grand object
to save and protect the remedies which they afford to man.
Thus we see, the very qualities even which we hold in such
aversion, have been devised by Nature for the benefit and advantage of mankind.
CHAP. 8. (7.)—THE ERYNGE OR ERYNGIUM.
In the first rank of the plants armed with prickles, the
or eryngion stands pre-eminent, a vegetable production
held in high esteem as an antidote formed for the poison of ser-
pents and all venomous substances. For stings and bites of
this nature, the root is taken in wine in doses of one drachma,
or if, as generally is the case, the wound is attended with
fever, in water. It is employed also, in the form of a lini-
ment, for wounds, and is found to be particularly efficacious
for those inflicted by water-snakes or frogs. The physician
Heraclides states it as his opinion that, boiled in goose-broth,
it is a more valuable remedy than any other known, for aconite44
and other poisons.45
Apollodorus recommends that, in
cases of poisoning, it should be boiled with a frog, and other
authorities, in water only. It is a hardy plant, having much
the appearance of a shrub, with prickly leaves and a jointed
stem; it grows a cubit or more in height. Sometimes it is
found of a whitish colour, and sometimes black,46
the root of it
being odoriferous. It is cultivated in gardens, but it is frequently to be found growing47
spontaneously in rugged and
craggy localities. It grows, too, on the sea-shore, in which case
it is tougher and darker than usual, the leaf resembling that of
CHAP. 9. (8.)—THE ERYNGIUM, CALLED CENTUM CAPITA: THIRTY REMEDIES.
The white variety of the eryngium is known in our lan-
guage as the "centum capita."49
It has all the properties above-
mentioned, and the Greeks employ both the stalk and the root
as an article of food,50
either boiled or raw. There are some
marvellous facts related in connexion with this plant; the root51
of it, it is said, bears a strong resemblance to the organs of
either sex; it is but rarely found, but if a root resembling the
male organs should happen to fall in the way of a man, it
will ensure him woman's love; hence it is that Phaon the
Lesbian was so passionately beloved52
by Sappho. Upon this
subject, too, there have been numerous other reveries, not only
on the part of the Magi, but of Pythagorean philosophers even
So far as its medicinal properties are concerned, in addition
to those already mentioned, this plant, taken in hydromel, is
good for flatulency, gripings of the bowels, diseases of the
heart, stomach, liver, and thoracic organs, and, taken in oxycrate, for affections of the spleen. Mixed with hydromel, it is
recommended also for diseases of the kidneys, strangury, opisthotony, spasms, lumbago, dropsy, epilepsy, suppression or excess of
the catamenia, and all maladies of the uterus. Applied with
honey, it extracts foreign substances from the body, and, with
salted axle-grease and cerate, it disperses scrofulous sores, im-
posthumes of the parotid glands, inflamed tumours, denudations
of the bones, and fractures. Taken before drinking, it prevents the fumes of wine from rising to the head, and it arrests
looseness of the bowels. Some of our authors have recommended that this plant should be gathered at the period of
the summer solstice, and that it should be applied, in combi-
nation with rain water, for all kinds of maladies of the neck.
They say too, that, attached as an amulet to the person, it is a
cure for albugo.53
CHAP. 10. (9.)—THE ACANOS; ONE REMEDY.
There are some authors, too, who make the acanos54
to be a
species of eryngium. It is a thorny plant, stunted, and
spreading, with prickles of a considerable size. Applied topically, they say, it arrests hæmorrhage in a most remarkable
CHAP. 11.—THE GLYCYRRHIZA OR ADIPSOS: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
Other authors, again, have erroneously taken the glycyrrhiza55
to be a kind of eryngium: it will, therefore, be as well
to take this opportunity of making some further mention of it.
There can be no doubt, however, that this is one of the thorny
plants, the leaves of it being covered with prickles,56
substantial, and viscous and gummy to the touch: it has much the
appearance of a shrub, is a couple of cubits in height, and
bears a flower like that of the hyacinth, and a fruit the size
of the little round balls57
of the plane. The best kind is that
grown in Cilicia, and the next best that of Pontus the root
of it is sweet, and this is the only part that is used. It is
gathered at the setting of the Vergiliæ,58
the root of it being
long, like that of the vine.59
That which is yellow, the colour of boxwood in fact, is superior to the darker kind, and
the flexible is better than the brittle. Boiled down to one-third, it is employed for pessaries; but, for general purposes,
a decoction is made of it of the consistency of honey. Sometimes, also, it is used pounded, and it is in this form that it is
applied as a liniment for wounds and all affections of the
throat. The juice60
of it is also very good for the voice, for
which purpose it is thickened and then placed beneath the
tongue: it is good, too, for the chest and liver.
We have already stated61
that this plant has the effect of
allaying hunger and thirst: hence it is that some authors
have given it the name of "adipsos,"62
and have prescribed it
for dropsical patients, to allay thirst. It is for this reason,
too, that it is chewed as a stomatic,63
and that the powder of it
is often sprinkled on ulcerous sores of the mouth and films64
the eyes: it heals, too, excrescences65
of the bladder, pains in
the kidneys, condylomtata,66
and ulcerous sores of the genitals.
Some persons have given it in potions for quartan fevers, the
doses being two drachmæ, mixed with pepper in one hemina
of water. Chewed, and applied to wounds, it arrests hæmorrhage:67
some authors have asserted, also, that it expels calculi
of the bladder.
CHAP. 12. (10.)—TWO VARIETIES OF THE TRIBULUS; TWELVE REMEDIES.
Of the two68
kinds of tribulus, the one is a garden plant,
the other grows in rivers only. There is a juice extracted from
them which is employed for diseases of the eyes, it being of a
cool and refreshing nature, and, consequently, useful for inflammations and abscesses. Used with honey, this juice is
curative of spontaneous ulcerations, those of the mouth in particular; it is good also for affections of the tonsils. Taken in
a potion, it breaks calculi of the bladder.
The Thracians who dwell on the banks of the river Strymon
feed their horses69
on the leaves of the tribulus, and employ the
kernels as an article of food, making of them a very agreeable
kind of bread, which acts astringently70
upon the bowels. The
root, if gathered by persons in a state of chastity and purity,71
disperses scrofulous sores; and the seed, used as an amulet,
allays the pains attendant upon varicose veins: pounded and
mixed with water, it destroys fleas.
CHAP. 13. (11.)—THE STŒBE OR PHEOS.
by some persons known as the "pheos," boiled
in wine, is particularly good for the cure of suppurations of the
ears, and for extravasations of blood in the eyes from the effects
of a blow. It is employed also in injections for hæmorrhage
CHAP. 14. (12.)—TWO VARIETIES OF THE HIPPOPHAES: TWO REMEDIES.
grows in sandy soils, and on the sea-shore.
It is a plant with white thorns, and covered with clusters, like
the ivy, the berries being white, and partly red. The root of
it is full of a juice which is either used by itself, or else is made
up into lozenges with meal of fitches: taken in doses of one
obolus, it carries off bile, and it is extremely beneficial if
used with honied wine. There is another74
hippophaes, without either stalk or flowers, and consisting only of diminutive
leaves: the juice of this also is wonderfully useful for dropsy.
These plants would appear, too, to be remarkably well
adopted to the constitution of the horse, as it can be for no
other reason than this that they have received their name.75
For, in fact, there are certain plants which have been created
as remedies for the diseases of animals, the Divinity being
bounteously lavish of his succours and resources: so much
so, indeed, that we cannot sufficiently admire the wisdom with
which he has arranged them according to the classes of animated beings which they are to serve, the causes which give
rise to their various maladies, and the times at which they are
likely to be in requisition: hence it is that there is no class
of beings, no season, and, so to speak, no day, that is without
CHAP. 15. (13.)—THE NETTLE: SIXTY-ONE REMEDIES.
What plant can there possibly be that is more an object of
our aversion than the nettle?76
And yet, in addition to the
oil which we have already mentioned77
as being extracted from
it in Egypt, it abounds in medicinal properties. The seed of
it, according to Nicander, is an antidote to the poison of hem-
of fungi, and of quicksilver.79
it, too, taken in the broth of a boiled tortoise,80
for the bite of
and as an antidote for the poison of henbane,
serpents, and scorpions. The stinging pungency even of the
nettle has its uses; for, by its contact, it braces the uvula, and
effects the cure of prolapsus of the uterus, and of procidence
of the anus in infants. By touching the legs of persons in a
lethargy, and the forehead more particularly, with nettles,
they are awakened.82
Applied with salt, the nettle is used to
heal the bites of dogs, and beaten up and applied topically, it
at the nostrils, the root in particular. Mixed
with salt, also, it is employed for the cure of cancers and foul
ulcers; and, applied in a similar manner, it cures sprains and
inflamed tumours, as well as imposthumes of the parotid glands
and denudations of the bones. The seed of it, taken with
boiled must, dispels hysterical suffocations, and, applied topically, it arrests mucous discharges of the nostrils. Taken with
hydromel, after dinner, in doses of two oboli, the seed produces a gentle vomit;84
and a dose of one obolus, taken in
wine, has the effect of dispelling lassitude. The seed is prescribed also, parched, and in doses of one acetabulum, for
affections of the uterus; and, taken in boiled85
must, it is a
remedy for flatulency of the stomach. Taken in an electuary,
with honey, it gives relief in hardness of breathing, and
clears the chest by expectoration: applied with linseed, it is a
cure for pains in the side, with the addition of some hyssop
and a little pepper. The seed is employed also in the form of
a liniment for affections of the spleen, and, parched and taken
with the food, it acts as a laxative in constipation of the bowels.
says that the seed, taken in drink, acts as a purgative upon the uterus; and that taken, parched, with sweet
wine, in doses of one acetabulum, or applied externally with
juice of mallows, it alleviates pains in that organ. He
states also that, used with hydromel and salt, it expels intestinal worms, and that a liniment made of the seed will restore
the hair when falling off. Many persons, too, employ the seed
topically, with old oil, for diseases of the joints, and for gout,
or else the leaves beaten up with bears'-grease: the root, too,
pounded in vinegar, is no less useful for the same purposes, as
also for affections of the spleen. Boiled in wine, and applied
with stale axle-grease and salt, the root disperses inflamed tumours, and, dried, it is used as a depilatory.
Phanias, the physician, has enlarged upon the praises of the
nettle, and he assures us that, taken with the food, either
boiled or preserved, it is extremely beneficial for affections of
the trachea, cough, fluxes of the bowels, stomachic complaints,
inflamed tumours, imposthumes of the parotid glands, and chilblains; that, taken with oil, it acts as a sudorific; and that,
boiled with shell-fish, it relaxes the bowels. He says, too,
that taken with a ptisan,87
it facilitates expectoration and acts
as an emmenagogue, and that, applied with salt, it prevents
ulcers from spreading. The juice of the nettle is also used:
applied to the forehead, it arrests bleeding at the nose, taken
in drink it acts as a diuretic and breaks calculi in the bladder,
and, used as a gargle, it braces the uvula when relaxed.
Nettle-seed should be gathered at harvest-time: that of
Alexandria is the most highly esteemed. For all these different purposes the milder and more tender plants are the
best, the wild nettle88
in particular: this last, taken in wine,
has the additional property of removing leprous spots on the
face. When animals refuse to couple, it is recommended to
rub the sexual organs with nettles.89
CHAP. 16. (14.)—THE LAMIUM: SEVEN REMEDIES.
The variety of nettle, too, which we have already90
of under the name of "lamium,"91
the most innoxious of them
all, the leaves not having the property of stinging, is used
for the cure of bruises and contusions, with a sprinkling92
as also for burns and scrofulous sores, tumours, gout, and
wounds. The middle of the leaf is white, and is used for
the cure of erysipelas. Some of our authors have distinguished the various species of this plant according to their
respective seasons; thus, for instance, the root of the autumn
nettle, they say, carried on the person as an amulet, is a cure
for tertian fevers, if due care is taken, when pulling up the
root, to mention the patient's name, and to state who he is and
who are his parents. They say, too, that this plant is productive of similar results in quartan fever: and they pretend
that the root of the nettle, with the addition of salt, will extract foreign substances from the body; and that the leaves,
mixed with stale axle-grease, will disperse scrofulous sores, or
if they suppurate, cauterize them and cause them to fill up
with new flesh.
CHAP. 17. (15.)—THE SCORPIO, TWO KINDS OF IT: ONE REMEDY.
has received its appellation from the animal of
that name, in consequence of the resemblance of its seeds to a
scorpion's tail. The leaves of it are few in number, and it is
efficacious for the sting94
of the animal from which it derives
its name. There is also another plant95
known by the same
name, and possessed of similar properties; it is destitute of
leaves, has a stem like that of asparagus,96
and a sharp point
at the top, to which it owes its appellation.
CHAP. 18. (16.)—THE LEUCACANTHA, PHYLLOS, ISCHIAS, OR POLYGONATOS: FOUR REMEDIES.
known also as the phyllos, ischias, or
has a root like that of the cypirus, which, when
chewed, has the effect of curing99
tooth-ache; as also pains in
the sides and loins, according to Hicesius, the seed or juice
being taken in drink, in doses of eight drachmæ.—This plant
is employed also for the cure of ruptures and convulsions.
CHAP. 19. (17).—THE HELXINE: TWELVE REMEDIES.
is called by some, "perdicium," from the circumstance of its forming the principal food of partridges.101
Other persons, however, give it the name of "sideritis," and
to some it is known as "parthenium." It has leaves, the
shape of which is a mixture of those of the plantago and the
the stalks are slight and closely packed, and are
of a light red colour. The seeds, enclosed in heads resembling
those of the lappa,103
adhere to the clothes, a circumstance, it is
said, to which it owes its name104
of "helxine." We have
already stated in the preceding Book105
what are the characteristics of the plant properly so called.
The one of which we are now speaking is used for dyeing106
wool, and is employed for the cure of erysipelas, tumours, all
kinds of abscesses, and burns. The juice of it, taken in doses
of one cyathus with white lead, is a cure for inflamed tumours,
incipient swellings of the throat, and inveterate coughs.107
is good, too, for all maladies of the humid parts of the body,
the tonsillary glands, for instance; and, in combination with
rose oil, it is useful for varicose veins. It is employed topically
for the gout, with goat suet and Cyprian wax.
CHAP. 20.—THE PERDICIUM, PARTHENIUM, URCEOLARIS, OR ASTERCUM: ELEVEN REMEDIES.
The perdicium or parthenium108
the sideritis is, in reality, a different plant—is known to the people of our country
as the herb urceolaris,110
and to some persons as the "astercum." The leaf of it is similar to that of ocimum, but
darker, and it is found growing on tiled roofs and walls.
Beaten up with a sprinkling of salt, it has all the medicinal
properties of the lamium,111
and is used in a similar manner.
The juice of it, taken warm, is good, too, for suppurated abscesses; but for the cure of convulsions, ruptures, bruises,
and the effects of falls from a height, or of the overturning of
vehicles, it is possessed of singular virtues.
A slave, who was held in high esteem by Pericles,112
of the Athenians, being engaged upon the buildings of a temple
in the citadel, while creeping along the top of the roof, happened to fall; from the effects of which he was relieved, it is
said, by this plant, the virtues whereof had been disclosed to
Pericles by Minerva in a dream. Hence it is that it was first
and was consecrated to that goddess.
It is this slave of whom there is a famous statue in molten
bronze, well known as the Splanchnoptes.114
CHAP. 21. (18.)—THE CHASMÆLEON, IXIAS, ULOPRONON, OR CYNOZOLON; TWO VARIEIES OF IT: TWELVE REMEDIES.
is spoken of as the "ixias," by some
authors. There are two species of this plant; the white kind
has a rougher leaf than the other, and creeps along the ground,
erecting its prickles like the quills of a hedgehog; the root of
it is sweet, and the odour very powerful. In some places
it secretes, just as they say incense116
is produced, a white viscous substance beneath the axils of the leaves, about the rising
of the Dog-star more particularly. To this viscous nature it
owes its name of "ixias;"117
make use of it as a substitute for mastich. As to its name of "chamæleon,"119
is given to it from the varying tints of the leaves; for it
changes its colours, in fact, just according to the soil, being
black in one place, green in another, blue in a third, yellow
elsewhere, and of various other colours as well.
A decoction of the root of the white chameleon is employed for the cure120
of dropsy, being taken in doses of one
drachma in raisin wine. This decoction, taken in doses of
one acetabulum, in astringent wine, with some sprigs of origanum in it, has the effect of expelling intestinal worms: it is
good, too, as a diuretic. Mixed with polenta, the juice of it
will kill dogs and swine; with the addition of water and oil,
it will attract mice to it and destroy121
them, unless they immediately drink water to counteract its effects. Some persons
recommend the root of it to be kept, cut in small pieces, and
suspended from the ceiling; when wanted, it must be boiled
and taken with the food, for the cure of those fluxes to which
the Greeks have given the name of "rheumatismi."122
In reference to the dark kind, some writers say that the one
which bears a purple flower is the male, and that with a violet
flower, the female. They grow together, upon a stem, a cubit
in length, and a finger in thickness. The root of these plants,
boiled with sulphur and bitumen, is employed for the cure of
lichens; and they are chewed, or a decoction of them made
in vinegar, to fasten loose teeth. The juice of them is employed for the cure of scab in animals, and it has the property
of killing ticks upon dogs. Upon steers it takes effect like a
sort of quinsy; from which circumstance it has received the
name of "ulophonon"123
from some, as also that of cynozolon124
from its offensive smell. These plants produce also a viscus,
which is a most excellent remedy for ulcers. The roots of all
the different kinds are an antidote to the sting of the scorpion.
CHAP. 22. (19.)—THE CORONOPUS.
is an elongated plant, with fissures in the
leaves. It is sometimes cultivated, as the root, roasted in
hot ashes, is found to be an excellent remedy for cœliac com-
CHAP. 23. (20.)—THE ANCHUSA: FOURTEEN REMEDIES.
The root of the anchusa,126
too, is made use of, a plant a
finger in thickness. It is split into leaves like the papyrus,
and when touched it stains the hands the colour of blood; it
is used for imparting rich colours to wool. Applied with
cerate it heals ulcerous sores, those of aged people in parti-
cular: it is employed also for the cure of burns. It is insoluble in water, but dissolves in oil, this being, in fact, the
test of its genuineness. It is administered also, in doses of
one drachma, in wine, for nephretic pains, or else, if there is
fever, in a decoction of balanus;127
it is employed in a similar
manner, also, for affections of the liver and spleen, and for enlarged secretions of the bile. Applied with vinegar, it is used
for the cure of leprosy and the removal of freckles. The
leaves, beaten up with honey and meal, are applied topically for
sprains; and taken in honied wine, in doses of two drachmæ,
they arrest looseness of the bowels.128
A decoction of the root
in water, it is said, kills fleas.
CHAP. 24.—THE PSEUDOANCHUSA, ECHIS, OR DORIS: THREE REMEDIES.
There is another plant, similar to the preceding one, and
hence known as the "pseudoanchusa,"129
though by some it is
or "doris," as well as by many other names.
It is more downy than the other plant, however, and not so
substantial; the leaves, too, are thinner, and more drooping.
The root of it, treated with oil, does not give out any red juice,
a sign by which it is distinguished from the genuine anchusa.
The leaves of this plant, or the seed, taken in drink, are extremely efficacious for the stings of serpents; the leaves, too,
are applied topically to the wound; and the powerful smell of
them will keep serpents at a distance. A preparation of this
plant is taken, also, as a potion, for affections of the vertebræ.
The Magi recommend that the leaves of it should be plucked
with the left hand, it being mentioned at the same time for
whom they are being gathered: after which, they are to be
worn as an amulet, attached to the person, for the cure of tertian
CHAP. 25. (21.)—THE ONOCHILON, ARCHEBION, ONOCHELIS, RHEXIA, OR ENCHRYSA: THIRTY REMEDIES.
There is another plant, too, the proper name of which is
but which some people call "anchusa," others
"archebion," and others, again, "onochelis," or "rhexia,"
and, more universally, "enchrysa." This plant has a diminu-
tive stem, a purple flower, rough leaves and branches, and a
root the colour of blood at harvest-time, though dark and
swarthy at other times. It grows in sandy soils, and is extremely efficacious for the stings of serpents, vipers in particular,
the roots or leaves of it being taken indifferently with the
food, or in the drink. It developes its virtues at harvest-time.
more especially: the leaves of it, when bruised, have just the
smell of a cucumber. This plant is prescribed, in doses of
three cyathi, for prolapsus of the uterus, and, taken with hyssop, it expels tape-worms. For pains in the liver or kidneys,
it is taken in hydromel, if the patient shows symptoms of fever,
but if not, in wine. With the root of it a liniment is made,
for the removal of freckles and leprous sores; and it is asserted
that persons who carry this root about them will never be attacked by serpents.
There is another133
plant, again, very similar to this, with a
red flower, and somewhat smaller. It is applied to the same
uses as the other; it is asserted, too, that if it is chewed, and
then spit out upon a serpent, it will cause its instantaneous
CHAP. 26.—THE ANTHEMIS, LEUCANTHEMIS, LEUCANTHEMUM, CHAMÆXMELUM, OR MELANTHIUM; THREE VARIETIES OF IT: ELEVEN REMEDIES.
The anthemis has been highly extolled by Asclepiades.
Some persons call it "leucanthemis,"134
others, again, "eranthemis,"135
from its flowering in spring, and
because it has a smell like that of an
apple: sometimes, too, it is called "melanthion."137
three varieties of this plant, which only differ from one another
in the flower; they do not exceed a palm in height, and they
bear small blossoms like those of rue, white, yellow,138
This plant is mostly found in thin, poor soils, or growing
near foot-paths. It is usually gathered in spring, and put by
for the purpose of making chaplets. At the same season, too,
medical men pound the leaves, and make them up into lozenges,
the same being done with the flowers also, and the root. All
the parts of this plant are administered together, in doses of one
drachma, for the stings of serpents of all kinds. Taken in drink,
too, they bring away the dead fœtus, act as an emmenagogue
and diuretic, and disperse calculi of the bladder. The anthemis is employed, also, for the cure of flatulency, affections of
the liver, excessive secretions of the bile, and fistulas of the
eye; chewed, it heals running sores. Of all the different
varieties, the one that is most efficacious for the treatment of
calculi is that with the purple flower,139
the leaves and stem140
which are somewhat larger than those of the other kinds.
Some persons, and with strict propriety, give to this last the
name of "eranthemis."
CHAP. 27.—THE LOTUS PLANT: FOUR REMEDIES.
Those who think that the lotus is nothing but a tree only,
can easily be refuted, if upon the authority of Homer141
for that poet names the lotus first of all among the herbs which
grow to administer to the pleasures of the gods. The leaves
of this plant,142
mixed with honey, disperse the marks of sores,
and films upon the eyes.
CHAP. 28.—THE LOTOMETRA: TWO REMEDIES.
is a cultivated lotus; with the seed of it,
which resembles millet, the shepherds in Egypt make a coarse
bread, which they mostly knead with water or milk. It is
said, however, that there is nothing lighter or more wholesome
than this bread, so long as it is eaten warm; but that when it
gets cold, it becomes heavy and more difficult of digestion.
It is a well-known fact, that persons who use it as a diet are
never attacked by dysentery, tenesmus, or other affections of
the bowels; hence it is, that this plant is reckoned among the
remedies for that class of diseases.
CHAP. 29.—THE HELIOTROPIUM, HELIOSCOPIUM, OR VERRUCARIA: TWELVE REMEDIES. THE HELIOTROPIUM, TRICOCCUM, OR SCORPIURON: FOURTEEN REMEDIES.
We have spoken more than once145
of the marvels of the heliotropium, which turns146
with the sun, in cloudy weather even,
so great is its sympathy with that luminary. At night, as
though in regret, it closes its blue flower.
There are two species of heliotropium, the tricoccum147
the latter being the taller of the two,
though they neither of them exceed half149
a foot in height. The
helioscopium throws out branches from the root, and the seed
of it, enclosed in follicules,150
is gathered at harvest-time. It
grows nowhere but in a rich soil, a highly-cultivated one more
particularly; the tricoccum, on the other hand, is to be found
growing everywhere. I find it stated, that the helioscopium,
boiled, is considered an agreeable food, and that taken in milk,
it is gently laxative151
to the bowels; while, again, a decoction of
it, taken as a potion, acts as a most effectual purgative. The
juice of this plant is collected in summer, at the sixth152
of the day; it is usually mixed with wine, which makes153
keep all the better. Combined with rose-oil, it alleviates
head-ache. The juice extracted from the leaves, combined
with salt, removes warts; from which circumstance our people
have given this plant the name of "verrucaria,"154
from its various properties, it fully merits a better name. For,
taken in wine or hydromel, it is an antidote to the venom of
serpents and scorpions,155
as Apollophanes and Apollodorus state.
The leaves, too, employed topically, are a cure for the cerebral
affections of infants, known as "siriasis,"156
as also for convulsions, even when they are epileptic. It is very wholesome,
too, to gargle the mouth with a decoction of this plant. Taken
in drink, it expels tapeworm and gravel, and, with the addition
of cummin, it will disperse calculi. A decoction of the plant
with the root, mixed with the leaves and some suet of a he-goat,
is applied topically for the cure of gout.
The other kind, which we have spoken157
of as being called
the "tricoccum," and which also bears the name of "scorpiuron,"158
has leaves that are not only smaller than those of
the other kind, but droop downwards towards the ground: the
seed of it resembles a scorpion's tail, to which, in fact, it owes
its latter appellation. It is of great efficacy for injuries received
from all kinds of venomous insects and the spider known as
the "phalangium," but more particularly for the stings of
scorpions, if applied topically.159
Those who carry it about their
person are never stung by a scorpion, and it is said that if a
circle is traced on the ground around a scorpion with a sprig
of this plant, the animal will never move out of it, and that if
a scorpion is covered with it, or even sprinkled with tile water
in which it has been steeped, it will die that instant. Four
grains of the seed, taken in drink, are said to be a cure for the
quartan fever, and three for the tertian; a similar effect being
produced by carrying the plant three times round the patient,
and then laying it under his head. The seed, too, acts as an
aphrodisiac, and, applied with honey, it disperses inflamed
tumours. This kind of heliotropium, as well as the other, extracts warts radically,160
and excrescences of the anus. Applied
topically, the seed draws off corrupt blood from the vertebre
and loins; and a similar effect is produced by taking a decoction of it in chicken broth, or with beet and lentils. The
of the seed restore the natural colour to lividities of
the skin. According to the Magi, the patient himself should
make four knots in the heliotropium for a quartan, and three
for a tertian fever, at the same time offering a prayer that he
may recover to untie them, the plant being left in the ground
CHAP. 30.—THE ADIANTUM, CALLITRICHOS, TRICHOMANES, POLYTRICHOS, OR SAXIFRAGUM; TWO VARIETIES OF IT: TWENTY-EIGHT REMEDIES.
Equally marvellous, too, in other respects, is the adiantum;162
it is green in summer, never dies in the winter, mani-
fests an aversion to water, and, when sprinkled with water or
dipped in it, has all the appearance of having been dried, so
great is its antipathy to moisture; a circumstance to which it
owes the name of "adiantum,"163
given to it by the Greeks.
In other respects, it is a shrub which might he well employed
in ornamental gardening.164
Some persons give it the name of
and others of "polytrichos," both of them
bearing reference to its property of imparting colour to the
hair. For this purpose, a decoction of it is made in wine
with parsley-seed, large quantities of oil being added, if it is
desired to make the hair thick and curly as well: it has also
the property of preventing the hair from coming off.
There are two kinds of this plant, one being whiter than
the other, which last is swarthy and more stunted. It is the
larger kind that is known as the "polytrichos," or, as some
call it, the "trichomanes." Both plants have tiny branches
of a bright black colour, and leaves like those of fern, the
lower ones being rough and tawny, and all of them lying close
together and attached to footstalks arranged on either side of
the stem: of root, so to say, there is nothing.166
frequents umbrageous rocks, walls sprinkled with the spray
of running water, grottoes of fountains more particularly, and
crags surrounded with streamlets, a fact that is all the more
remarkable in a plant which derives no benefit from water.
The adiantum is of singular efficacy in expelling and breaking calculi of the bladder, the dark kind in particular; and it
is for this reason, in my opinion, rather than because it grows
upon stones, that it has received from the people of our
country its name of "saxifragum."167
It is taken in wine, the
usual dose being a pinch of it in three fingers. Both these
plants are diuretics, and act as an antidote to the venom of serpents and spiders: a decoction of them in wine arrests looseness
of the bowels. A wreath of them, worn on the head, alleviates
head-ache. For the bite of the scolopendra they are applied
topically, but they must be removed every now and then, to
prevent them from cauterizing the flesh:168
they are employed
in a similar manner also for alopecy.169
scrofulous sores, scurf on the face, and running ulcers of the
head. A decoction of them is useful also for asthma, affections of the liver and spleen, enlarged secretions of the gall,
and dropsy. In combination with wormwood, they form a
liniment for strangury and affections of the kidneys; they
have the effect also of bringing away the after-birth, and act
as an emmenagogue. Taken with vinegar or juice of brambleberries, they arrest hæmorrhage. Combined with rose-oil
they are employed as a liniment for excoriations on infants,
the parts affected being first fomented with wine. The leaves,
steeped in the urine of a youth who has not arrived at puberty,
and beaten up with saltpetre, compose a liniment which, it is
said, prevents wrinkles from forming on the abdomen in
females. It is a general belief that partridges and cocks are
rendered more pugnacious if this plant is mixed with their
food; and it is looked upon as particularly beneficial for
CHAP. 31. (22.)—THE PICRIS; ONE REMEDY. THE THESION; ONE REMEDY.
derives its name from its intense bitterness, as
we have previously stated. The leaf of it is round; it is remarkably efficacious for the removal of warts.
too, has a bitterness not unlike it: it is a
powerful purgative, for which purpose it is employed bruised
CHAP. 32.—THE ASPHODEL; FIFTY-ONE REMEDIES.
is one of the most celebrated of all the plants,
so much so, indeed, that by some persons it has been called
Hesiod has mentioned the fact of its growing in
rivers, and Dionysius distinguishes it into male and female.174
It has been observed that the bulbs of it, boiled with a ptisan,
are remarkably good for consumption and phthisis,175
bread in which they have been kneaded up with the meal, is
extremely wholesome. Nicander176
recommends also, for the
stings of serpents and scorpions, either the stalk, which we
spoken of under the name of "anthericus," or
else the seed or bulbs, to be taken in wine, in doses of three
drachmæ; and he says that these should be strewed beneath
the bed, if there is any apprehension of their presence. The
asphodel is prescribed also for wounds inflicted by marine
animals of a venomous nature, and the bite of the land scolopendra. It is quite wonderful how the snails, in Campania,
seek the stalk of this plant, and dry it by extracting the
inside. The leaves, too, are applied with wine to wounds
made by venomous animals, and the bulbs are beaten up with
polenta and similarly used for affections of the sinews and
joints. It is also a very good plan to rub lichens with them
chopped up and mixed with vinegar, and to apply them in
water to putrid sores, as also to inflammations of the tests or
mamillæ. Boiled in lees of wine, and applied in a linen pledged,
they are used for the cure of defluxions of the eyes.
Whatever the malady may happen to be, it is generally in
state that the bulbs are employed; but for foul
ulcers of the legs and for chaps upon any part of the body,
they are dried and reduced to powder. The bulbs are usually
gathered in autumn,179
a period when their medicinal properties
are most fully developed. The juice extracted from them
pounded, or else a decoction of them, is good, mixed with honey,
for pains in the body: it is employed also with dried iris and a
little salt by those who wish to impart an agreeable odour to
the person. The leaves are used for the cure of the various
maladies above mentioned, as also, boiled in wine, for scrofu-
lous sores, inflamed tumours, and ulcers of the face. The ashes
of the root are a remedy for alopecy and chaps on the feet;
and an extract of the root, boiled in oil, is good for burns and
chilblains. It is injected also into the ears for deafness, and,
for tooth-ache, it is poured into the ear opposite to the part
affected. A moderate dose of the root, taken in drink, acts as
a diuretic and emmenagogue; it is good also for pains in the
sides, ruptures, convulsions, and coughs, in doses of one drachma,
taken in wine. Chewed, the root promotes vomiting, but the
seed, taken internally, disorders the bowels.
Chrysermus used to employ a decoction of the root, in wine,
for imposthumes of the parotid glands; and he has prescribed
it, in combination with cachrys,180
in wine, for the cure of
scrofulous sores. Some persons say that if, after applying the
root to the sores, a part of it is hung up in the smoke to dry,
and not taken down till the end of four days, the sores
will gradually dry up with this portion of the root. Sophocles181
used to employ it both ways, boiled and raw, for the cure of
gout; and he prescribes it, boiled in oil, for chilblains, and,
in vinegar, for jaundice and dropsy. It has been stated,
also, that, used as a friction with wine and honey, or taken in
drink, it acts as an aphrodisiac. Xenocrates assures us, too,
that a decoction of the root in vinegar removes lichens, itchscabs, and leprous sores; and that a decoction of it, with henbane and tar, has a similar effect, and is good also for the removal of bad odours182
of the armpits and thighs: he states,
also, that if the head is well rubbed with the root, being first
shaved, the hair will curl all the better for it. Simus prescribes a decoction of it, in wine, to be taken for calculi in
the kidneys; and Hippocrates recommends the seed for obstructions of the spleen. The root, or else a decoction of it,
applied topically, restores the hair in beasts of burden, where it
has been lost by ulcerations or scab. It has the effect, too, of
driving away rats and mice, and of exterminating them, if
placed before their holes.
CHAP. 33.—THE HALIMON: FOURTEEN REMEDIES.
Some authors have thought that it is the asphodel that is
called "halimon" by Hesiod, an opinion which appears to me
being the name of a distinct plant,
which has been the occasion of no few mistakes committed by
writers. According to some, it is a tufted shrub, white, destitute of thorns, and with leaves like those of the olive, only
softer; which eaten boiled, are an agreeable food. The root,
they say, taken in doses of one drachma in hydromel, allays
gripings of the bowels, and is a cure for ruptures and convul-
sions. Others, again, pronounce it to be a vegetable growing
near the sea-shore,184
of a salt taste—to which, in fact, it
owes its name—with leaves somewhat round but elongated,
and much esteemed as an article of food. They say, too, that
there are two species of it, the wild and the cultivated,185
that, mixed with bread, they are good, both of them, for dysentery, even if uiceration should have supervened, and are
useful for stomachic affections, in combination with vinegar.
They state, also, that this plant is applied raw to ulcers of long
standing, and that it modifies the inflammation of recent
wounds, and the pain attendant upon sprains of the feet and
affections of the bladder. The wild halimon, they tell us,
has thinner leaves than the other, but is more effectual as a
medicament in all the above cases, as also for the cure of itch,
whether in man or beast. The root, too, according to them,
employed as a friction, renders the skin more clear, and the
teeth whiter; and they assert that if the seed of it is put
beneath the tongue, no thirst will be experienced. They
state, also, that this kind is eaten as well as the other, and that
they are, both of them, preserved.
Crateuas has spoken of a third186
kind also, with longer
leaves than the others, and more hairy: it has the smell of
the cypress, he says, and grows beneath the ivy more particularly. He states that this plant is extremely good for
opisthotony and contractions of the sinews, taken in doses of
three oboli to one sextarius of water.
CHAP. 34.—THE ACANTHUS, PÆDEROS, OR MELAMPHYLLOS: FIVE REMEDIES.
is a plant that grows in cities, and is used
in ornamental gardening. It has a broad, long leaf, and is
used as a covering for the margins of ornamental waters and of
parterres in gardens.188
There are two varieties of it; the one
that is thorny189
and crisped is the shorter of the two; the
other, which is smooth,190
is by some persons called "pæderos,"191
and by others "melamphyllos."192
The root of this
last is remarkably good for burns and sprains; and, boiled with
the food, a ptisan more particularly, it is equally good for
ruptures, spasms, and patients who are in apprehension of
phthisis. The root is also beaten up and applied warm for
CHAP. 35.—THE BUPLEURON: FIVE REMEDIES.
is reckoned by the Greeks in the number
of the leguminous plants which grow spontaneously. The
stem of it is a cubit in height, the leaves are long and numerous, and the head resembles that of dill. It has been
extolled as an aliment by Hippocrates, and for its medicinal
properties by Glaucon and Nicander. The seed of it is good
for the stings of serpents; and the leaves, or else the juice, applied as a liniment with wine, bring away the after-birth. The
leaves, also, in combination with salt and wine, are applied to
scrofulous sores. The root is prescribed in wine for the stings
of serpents, and as a diuretic.
CHAP. 36.—THE BUPRESTIS: ONE REMEDY.
With a remarkable degree of inconsistency, the Greek writers,
while praising the buprestis194
as an aliment, point out certain
to it, as though it were a poison. The very name,
however, proves to a certainty that it is poisonous to cattle,
and it is generally admitted that, on tasting it, they burst196
asunder: we shall, therefore, say no more about it. Is there
any reason, in fact, why, when we are speaking of the materials employed in making our grass crowns, we should de-
scribe a poison? or really ought we to enlarge upon it only to
please the libidinous fancies of those who imagine that there is
not a more powerful aphrodisiac in existence than this, when
taken in drink?
CHAP. 37.—THE ELAPHOBOSCON: NINE REMEDIES.
is a ferulaceous plant, articulated, and
about a finger in thickness. The seed of it is like that of dill,
hanging in umbels resembling those of hart-wort in appearance,
but not bitter. The leaves are very like those of olusatrum.198
This plant, too, is highly spoken of as an article of food; in
addition to which, it is preserved and kept as a diuretic199
for the purpose of assuaging pains in the sides, curing ruptures and convulsions, and dispelling flatulency and colic. It
is used, too, for the cure of wounds inflicted by serpents and all
kinds of animals that sting; so much so, indeed, that, as the
story goes, stags, by eating of it, fortify themselves against the
attacks of serpents. The root, too, applied topically, with the
addition of nitre, is a cure for fistula, but, when wanted for
this purpose, it must be dried first, so as to retain none of the
juice; though, on the other hand, this juice does not at all
impair its efficacy as an antidote to the poison of serpents.
CHAP. 38.—THE SCANDIX: NINE REMEDIES. THE ANTHRISCUM: TWO REMEDIES.
too, is reckoned by the Greeks in the number
of the wild vegetables, as we learn from Opion and Erasistratus. Boiled, it arrests201
looseness of the bowels; and the
seed of it, administered with vinegar, immediately stops
hiccup. It is employed topically for burns, and acts as a diuretic; a decoction of it is good, too, for affections of the stomach,
liver, kidneys, and bladder. It is this plant that furnished
Aristophanes with his joke202
against the poet Euripides, that
his mother used to sell not real vegetables, but only scandix.
would be exactly the same plant as the
scandix, if its leaves were somewhat thinner and more odoritferous. Its principal virtue is that it reinvigorates the body
when exhausted by sexual excesses, and acts as a stimulant
upon the enfeebled powers of old age. It arrests leucorrhœa
CHAP. 39.—THE IASIONE; FOUR REMEDIES.
which is also looked upon as a wild vegetable,
is a creeping plant, full of a milky juice: it bears a white
flower, the name given to which is "concilium." The chief
recommendation of this plant, too, is that it acts as an aphrodisiac. Eaten with the food, raw, in vinegar, it promotes the
secretion of the milk in nursing women. It is salutary also
for patients who are apprehensive of phthisis; and, applied to
the head of infants, it makes the hair grow, and renders the
scalp more firm.
CHAP. 40.—THE CAUCALIS: TWELVE REMEDIES.
too, is an edible plant. It resembles fennel in
appearance, and has a short stem with a white flower;206
usually considered a good cordial.207
The juice, too, of this plant
is taken as a potion, being particularly recommended as a stomachic, a diuretic, an expellent of calculi and gravel, and for the
cure of irritations of the bladder. It has the effect, also, of
attenuating morbid secretions208
of the spleen, liver, and kidneys.
The seed of it acts as an emmenagogue, and dispels the bilious
secretions after child-birth: it is prescribed also, for males, in
cases of seminal weakness. Chrysippus is of opinion that this
plant promotes conception; for which purpose it is taken by
women in wine, fasting. It is employed in the form of a liniment, for wounds inflicted by marine animals of a venomous nature, at least we find it so stated by Petrichus in his poem.209
CHAP. 41.—THE SIUM: ELEVEN REMEDIES.
Among these plants there is reckoned also the sium:210
grows in the water, has a leaf broader than that of parsley,
thicker, and of a more swarthy colour, bears a considerable
quantity of seed, and has the taste of nasturtium. It is an
active diuretic, is very good for the kidneys and spleen, and acts
as an emmlenagogue, either eaten by itself as an aliment,211
taken in the form of a decoction; the seed of it is taken in
wine, in doses of two drachmæ. It disperses calculi in the bladder, and neutralizes the action of water which tends to their
formation. Used in the form of an injection, it is good for dysentery, and applied topically, for the removal of freckles. It
is applied by females, at night, for the removal of spots on the
face, a result which it produces almost instantaneously. It
has the effect also of assuaging hernia, and is good for the scab
CHAP. 42.—THE SILLYBUM.
resembles the white chamæleon, and is a
plant quite as prickly. In Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia, the
countries where it grows, it is not thought worth while to
boil it, the cooking of it being so extremely troublesome, it is
said. It is of no use whatever in medicine.
CHAP. 43.—THE SCOLYMOS OR LIMONIA: FIVE REMEDIES.
too, is used as an aliment214
in the East, where
it has also the name of "limonia."215
This is a shrub-like plant,
which never exceeds a cubit in height, with tufted leaves and
a black root, but sweet. Eratosthenes speaks highly of it as
a diet used by the poor. It is said to possess diuretic properties in a very high degree, and to heal lichens and leprous sores,
applied with vinegar. Taken in wine it acts as an aphrodisiac,
according to the testimony of Hesiod216
and Alcæus; who have
stated in their writings, that while it is in blossom, the song
of the grasshopper is louder than at other times, women more
inflamed with desire, and men less inclined to amorous intercourse; and that it is by a kind of foresight on the part of
Nature that this powerful stimulant is then in its greatest perfection. The root, too, used without the pith, corrects the
noisome odour of the armpits, in doses of one ounce to two
heminæ of Falernian wine; the mixture being boiled down to
one third, and taken fasting after the bath, as also after meals, a
cyathus at a time. It is a remarkable thing, but Xenocrates
assures us that he has ascertained it experimentally, that these
bad odours are carried off by the urine.
CHAP. 44.—THE SONCHOS; TWO VARIETIES: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
too, is edible—at least, it was this that, according to Callimachus, Hecale218
set before Theseus. There are two
kinds, the white219
and the black:220
they are, both of them,
similar to the lettuce, except that they are prickly, with a stem
a cubit in height, angular, and hollow within; when broken,
the stem gives out an abundance of milky juice. The white
kind, which derives its colour from the milk it contains, is good
for hardness of breathing, if eaten dressed with seasoning like
the lettuce. Erasistratus says that it carries off calculi by
the urine, and that, chewed, it is a corrective of bad breath.
The juice of it, taken warm in doses of three cyathi, with
white wine and oil, facilitates delivery, but the patient must
be careful to walk about immediately after drinking it: it
is also given in broth.
A decoction of the stalk renders the milk more abundant in
nursing women, and improves the complexion of the infants
suckled by them; it is also remarkably beneficial for females
when the milk coagulates. The juice of it is used as an injection
for the ears, and is taken warm in doses of one cyathus, for strangury, as also for gnawing pains of the stomach, with cucumber
seed and pine nuts. It is employed topically for abscesses of
the rectum, and is taken in drink for the stings of serpents
and scorpions, the root also being applied to the wounds.
The root, boiled in oil, with the rind of a pomegranate, is a
remedy for diseases of the ears—all these remedies, however,
be it remembered, are derived from the white kind.
As to the black sonchos, Cleemporus forbids it to be eaten,
as being productive of diseases, but at the same time he approves of the use of the white. Agathocles, however, goes so
far as to assert that the juice of the black kind is an antidote
for poisoning by bulls' blood; and, indeed, it is generally agreed
that the black sonchos has certain refreshing properties; for
which reason cataplasms of it may be advantageously applied
with polenta. Zeno recommends the root of the white kind
CHAP. 45.—THE CONDRION OR CHONDRYLLA: SIX REMEDIES.
or chondrylla, has leaves, eaten away, as it
were, at the edges, and similar to those of endive, a
stalk less than a foot in length and full of a bitter juice,
and a root resembling that of the bean, and occasionally very
ramified. It produces, near the surface of the earth, a sort
in a tubercular form, the size of a bean; this
mastich, it is said, employed as a pessary, promotes the menstrual discharge. This plant, pounded whole with the roots,
is divided into lozenges, which are employed for the stings of
serpents, and probably with good effect; for field mice, it is
said, when injured by those reptiles, are in the habit of eating
this plant. A decoction of it in wine arrests looseness of the
bowels, and makes a most excellent substitute for gum, as a
bandoline for the eye-lashes,223
even when the hairs are most
stubborn. Dorotheus says, in his poems, that it is extremely
good for the stomach and the digestive organs. Some persons,
however, have been of opinion that it is unwholesome for females, bad for the eyesight, and productive of impotence in
the male sex.
CHAP. 46.—MUSHROOMS: PECULIARITIES OF THEIR GROWTH.
Among those vegetable productions which are eaten with
risk, I shall, with good reason, include mushrooms;224
dainty food, it is true, but deservedly held in disesteem since
the notorious crime committed by Agrippina, who, through
their agency, poisoned her husband, the Emperor Claudius,
and at the same moment, in the person of his son Nero, inflicted another poisonous curse upon the whole world, herself225
Some of the poisonous mushrooms are easily known, being
of a rank, unwholesome look, light red without and livid
within, with the clefts226
considerably enlarged, and a pale,
sickly margin to the head.227
These characteristics, however,
are not presented by others of the poisonous kinds; but being
dry to all appearance and strongly resembling the genuine
ones, they present white spots upon the head, on the surface
of the outer coat. The earth, in fact, first produces the
or receptacle for the mushroom, and then the mushroom within, like the yolk in the egg. Nor is this envelope
less conducive to the nutrition of the young mushroom [than
is the albumen of the egg to that of the chicken.] Bursting
forth from the envelope at the moment of its first appearance,
as it gradually increases it becomes transformed into a substantial stalk; it is but very rarely, too, that we find two growing from a single foot-stalk. The generative229
the mushroom is in the slime and the fermenting juices of the
damp earth, or of the roots of most of the glandiferous trees.
It appears at first in the shape of a sort of viscous foam, and
then assumes a more substantial but membranous form, after
which, as already stated, the young mushroom appears.
In general, these plants are of a pernicious nature, and the
use of them should be altogether rejected; for if by chance
they should happen to grow near a hob-nail,230
a piece of rusty
iron, or a bit of rotten cloth, they will immediately imbibe all
these foreign emanations and flavours, and transform them into
poison. Who, in fact, is able to distinguish them, except those
who dwell in the country, or the persons231
that are in the habit
of gathering them? There are other circumstances, too, which
render them noxious; if they grow near the hole of a serpent,232
for instance, or if they should happen to have been breathed
upon by one when just beginning to open; being all the more
disposed to imbibe the venom from their natural affinity to
It will therefore be as well to be on our guard during the
season at which the serpents have not as yet retired to their
holes for the winter. The best sign to know this by is a multitude of herbs, of trees, and of shrubs, which remain green
from the time that these reptiles leave their holes till their return; indeed, the ash alone will be quite sufficient for the
purpose, the leaves of it never coming out after the serpents
have made their appearance, or beginning to fall before they
have retired to their holes. The entire existence of the mush-
room, from its birth to its death, is never more than seven
CHAP. 47. (23.)—FUNGI; SIGNS BY WHICH THE VENOMOUS KINDS MAY BE RECOGNIZED: NINE REMEDIES.
Fungi are of a more humid nature than the last, and are divided into numerous kinds, all of which are derived solely from
the pituitous humours234
of trees. The safest are those, the
flesh of which is red,235
the colour being more pronounced than
that of the mushroom. The next best are the white236
stems of which have a head very similar to the apex237
the Flamens; and a third kind are the suilli,238
very conveniently adapted for poisoning. Indeed, it is but very recently
that they have carried off whole families, and all the guests at
a banquet; Linnæus Serenus,239
for instance, the prefect of Nero's
guard, together with all the tribunes and centurions. What
great pleasure, then, can there be in partaking of a dish of so
a character as this? Some persons have classified
these fungi according to the trees to which they are indebted
for their formation, the fig, for instance, the fennel-giant, and
the gummiferous trees; those belonging to the beech, the robur,
and the cypress, not being edible, as already mentioned.241
who is there to give us a guarantee when they come to market,
that these distinctions have been observed?
All the poisonous fungi are of a livid colour; and the degree
of similarity borne by the sap of the tree itself to that of the
fig will afford an additional indication whether they are venom-
oust or not. We have already mentioned242
for the poison of fungi, and shall have occasion to make mention
of others; but in the mean time, it will be as well to observe
that they themselves also have some medicinal243
is of opinion that mushrooms are good for the stomach. The
suilli are dried and strung upon a rush, as we see done with those
brought from Bithynia. They are employed as a remedy for
the fluxes known as "rheumatismi,"244
and for excrescences of
the fundament, which they diminish and gradually consume.
They are used, also, for freckles and spots on women's faces.
A wash, too, is made of them, as is done with lead,245
for maladies of the eyes. Steeped in water, they are applied topically
to foul ulcers, eruptions of the head, and bites inflicted by
I would here also give some general directions for the cooking of mushrooms, as this is the only article of food that the
voluptuaries of the present day are in the habit of dressing
with their own hands, and so feeding upon it in anticipation,
being provided with amber-handled246
knives and silver plates
and dishes for the purpose. Those fungi may be looked upon
as bad which become hard in cooking; while those, on the other
hand, are comparatively innoxious, which admit of being thoroughly boiled, with the addition of some nitre. They will
be all the safer if they are boiled with some meat or the stalks
of pears: it is a very good plan, too, to eat pears directly after
them. Vinegar, too, being of a nature diametrically opposed
to them, neutralizes247
their dangerous qualities.
CHAP. 48.—SULPHUR: SEVEN REMEDIES.
All these productions owe their origin to rain,248
and by rain
is silphium produced. It originally came from Cyrenæ, as
stated: at the present day, it is mostly imported from
Syria, the produce of which country, though better than that
of Media, is inferior to the Parthian kind. As already ob-
the silphium of Cyrenæ no longer exists. It is of
considerable use in medicine, the leaves of it being employed
to purge the uterus, and as an expellent of the dead fœtus;
for which purposes a decoction of them is made in white
aromatic wine, and taken in doses of one acetabulum, immediately after the bath. The root of it is good for irritations of
the trachea, and is employed topically for extravasated blood;
but, used as an aliment, it is difficult of digestion, being productive of flatulency and eructations: it is injurious, also, to
the urinary secretions. Combined with wine and oil, it is extremely good for bruises, and, with wax, for the cure of scrofulous sores. Repeated fumigations with the root cause excrescences of the anus to subside.
CHAP. 49.—LASER: THIRTY-NINE REMEDIES.
Laser, a juice which distils from silphium, as we have already251
stated, and reckoned among the most precious gifts
presented to us by Nature, is made use of in numerous medicinal preparations. Employed by itself, it warms and revives
persons benumbed with cold, and, taken in drink, it alleviates
affections of the sinews. It is given to females in wine, and
is used with soft wool as a pessary to promote the menstrual
discharge. Mixed with wax, it extracts corns on the feet,
after they have been first loosened with the knife: a piece of
it, the size of a chick-pea, melted in water, acts as a diuretic.
Andreas assures us that, taken in considerable doses even, it is
never productive of flatulency, and that it greatly promotes
the digestion, both in aged people and females; he says, too,
that it is better used in winter than in summer, and that even
then, it is best suited for those whose beverage is water: but
due care must be taken that there is no internal ulceration.
Taken with the food, it is very refreshing for patients just recovering from an illness; indeed, if it is used at the proper
time, it has all the virtues of a desiccatory,252
though it is more
wholesome for persons who are in the habit of using it than
for those who do not ordinarily employ it.
As to external maladies, the undoubted virtues of this medicament are universally acknowledged: taken in drink, it has
the effect, also, of neutralizing the venom of serpents and of
poisoned weapons, and, applied with water, it is in general use
for the cure of wounds. In combination with oil, it is only
used as a liniment for the stings of scorpions, and with barley-
meal or dried figs, for the cure of ulcers that have not come to
a head. It is applied topically, also, to carbuncles, with rue
or honey, or else by itself, with some viscous substance to
make it adhere; for the bites of dogs, also, it is similarly em-
ployed. A decoction of it in vinegar, with pomegranate rind,
is used for excrescences253
of the fundament, and, mixed with
nitre, for the corns commonly known as "morticini."254
cases of alopecy which have been first treated with nitre, it
makes the hair grow again, applied with wine and saffron, or
else pepper or mouse-dung and vinegar. For chilblains, fo-
mentations are made of it with wine, or liniments with oil;
as also for callosities and indurations. For corns on the feet,
if pared first, it is particularly useful, as also as a preservative
against the effects of bad water, and of unhealthy climates or
weather. It is prescribed for cough, too, affections of the
uvula, jaundice of long standing, dropsy, and hoarseness, having
the effect of instantly clearing the throat and restoring the
voice. Diluted in oxycrate, and applied with a sponge, it
assuages the pains in gout.
It is given also in broth255
to patients suffering from pleurisy,
when about to take wine; and it is prescribed for convulsions
and opisthotony, in pills about as large as a chick-pea coated
with wax. For quinsy, it is used as a gargle, and to patients
troubled with asthma or inveterate cough, it is given with
leeks in vinegar; it is prescribed, also, with vinegar, after
It is recommended with wine for con-
sumptive affections of the viscera and epilepsy, and with hy-
dromel for paralysis of the tongue; with a decoction of honey,
it forms a liniment for sciatica and lumbago.
For my own part, I should not recommend,257
authors advise, to insert a pill of laser, covered with wax, in
a hollow tooth, for tooth-ache; being warned to the contrary
by a remarkable case of a man, who, after doing so, threw
himself headlong from the top of a house. Besides, it is a
well-known fact, that if it is rubbed on the muzzle of a bull, it
irritates him to an extraordinary degree; and that if it is mixed
with wine, it will cause serpents to burst—those reptiles being
extremely fond of wine. In addition to this, I should not
advise any one to rub the gums with Attic honey, although
that practice is recommended by some.
It would be an endless task to enumerate all the uses to
which laser is put, in combination with other substances; and
the more so, as it is only our object to treat of simple remedies, it being these in which Nature displays her resources.
In the compound remedies, too, we often find our judgment
deceived, and quite at fault, from our comparative inattention
to the sympathy or antipathy which naturally exists between
the ingredients employed—on this subject, however, we shall
have to enlarge on a future occasion.258
CHAP. 50. (24.)—PROPOLIS: FIVE REMEDIES.
Honey would be held in no less esteem than laser, were it
not for the fact that nearly every country produces it.259
is the production of Nature herself; but, for the formation of
honey, she has created an insect, as already described.260
The uses to which honey is put are quite innumerable, if we
only consider the vast number of compositions in which it
forms an ingredient. First of all, there is the propolis,261
which we find in the hives, as already262
substance has the property of extracting stings and all foreign
bodies from the flesh, dispersing tumours, ripening indurations,
allaying pains of the sinews, and cicatrizing ulcers of the most
As to honey itself, it is of so peculiar a nature, that it pre-
from supervening, by reason of its sweet-
ness solely, and not any inherent acridity, its natural properties being altogether different from those of salt. It is
employed with the greatest success for affections264
of the throat
and tonsils, for quinsy and all ailments of the mouth, as also
in fever, when the tongue is parched. Decoctions of it are
used also for peripneumony and pleurisy, for wounds inflicted
by serpents, and for the poison of fungi. For paralysis, it is
prescribed in honied wine, though that liquor also has its own
peculiar virtues. Honey is used with rose-oil, as an injection
for the ears; it has the effect also of exterminating nits and
foul vermin of the head. It is the best plan always to skim
it before using it.
Still, however, honey has a tendency to inflate265
it increases the bilious secretions also, produces qualmishness,
and, according to some, if employed by itself, is injurious266
the sight: though, on the other hand, there are persons who
recommend ulcerations at the corners of the eyes to be touched
As to the elementary principles of honey, the different
varieties of it, the countries where it is found, and its characteristic features, we have enlarged upon them on previous
when treating of the nature of bees, and
secondly, when speaking268
of that of flowers; the plan of this
work compelling us to separate subjects which ought properly
to be united, if we would arrive at a thorough knowledge of
the operations of Nature.
CHAP. 51.—THE VARIOUS INFLUENCES OF DIFFERENT ALIMENTS UPON THE DISPOSITION.
While speaking of the uses of honey, we ought also to treat
of the properties of hydromel.269
There are two kinds of hydromel, one of which is prepared at the moment, and taken
the other being kept to ripen. The first,
which is made of skimmed honey, is an extremely wholesome beverage for invalids who take nothing but a light diet,
such as strained alica for instance: it reinvigorates the body,
is soothing to the mouth and stomach, and by its refreshing
properties allays feverish heats. I find it stated,271
some authors, that to relax the bowels it should be taken cold,
and that it is particularly well-suited for persons of a chilly
temperament, or of a weak and pusillanimous272
such as the Greeks, for instance, call "micropsychi."
For there is a theory,273
remarkable for its extreme ingenuity,
first established by Plato, according to which the primary atoms
of bodies, as they happen to be smooth or rough, angular or
round, are more or less adapted to the various temperaments
of individuals: and hence it is, that the same substances are
not universally sweet or bitter to all. So, when affected with
lassitude or thirst, we are more prone to anger than at other
These asperities, however, of the disposition, or rather
I should say of the mind,275
are capable of being modified by
the sweeter beverages; as they tend to lubricate the passages
for the respiration, and to mollify the channels, the work of
inhalation and exhalation being thereby unimpeded by any
rigidities. Every person must be sensible of this experiment-
ally, in his own cease: there is no one in whom anger, affection, sadness, and all the emotions of the mind may not, in
some degree, be modified by diet. It will therefore be worth
our while to observe what aliments they are which exercise a
physical effect, not only upon the body, but the disposition
CHAP. 52.—HYDROMEL: EIGHTEEN REMEDIES.
Hydromel is recommended, too, as very good for a cough:
taken warm, it promotes vomiting. With the addition of oil
it counteracts the poison of white lead;276
of henbane, also,
and of the halicacabum, as already stated,277
if taken in milk,
asses' milk in particular. It is used as an injection for diseases of the ears, and in cases of fistula of the generative
organs. With crumb of bread it is applied as a poultice to
the uterus, as also to tumours suddenly formed, sprains, and
all affections which require soothing applications. The more
recent writers have condemned the use of fermented hydro-
mel, as being not so harmless as water, and less strengthening
than wine. After it has been kept a considerable time, it
becomes transformed into a wine,278
which, it is universally
agreed, is extremely prejudicial to the stomach, and injurious
to the nerves.279
CHAP. 53.—HONIED WINE: SIX REMEDIES.
As to honied280
wine, that is always the best which has been
made with old wine: honey, too, incorporates with it very
readily, which is never the case with sweet281
made with astringent wine, it does not clog the stomach, nor
has it that effect when the honey has been boiled: in this last
case, too, it causes less flatulency, an inconvenience generally
incidental to this beverage. It acts as a stimulant also upon
a failing appetite; taken cold it relaxes the bowels, but used
warm it acts astringently, in most cases, at least. It has a
tendency also to make flesh. Many persons have attained an
extreme old age, by taking bread soaked in honied wine, and
no other diet—the famous instance of Pollio Romilius, for example. This man was more than one hundred years old when
the late Emperor Augustus, who was then his host,282
him by what means in particular he had retained such remarkable vigour of mind and body.—"Honied wine within, oil
was his answer. According to Varro, the jaun-
dice has the name of "royal disease"284
given to it, because its
cure is effected with honied wine.285
CHAP. 54.—MELITITES: THREE REMEDIES.
We have already described how melitites286
is prepared, of
must and honey, when speaking on the subject of wines. It
is, I think, some ages, however, since this kind of beverage
was made, so extremely productive as it was found to be of
flatulency. It used, however, to be given in fever, to relieve
inveterate costiveness of the bowels, as also for gout and affections of the sinews. It was prescribed also for females who
were not in the habit of taking wine.
CHAP. 55.—WAX: EIGHT REMEDIES.
To an account of honey, that of wax is naturally appended,
of the origin, qualities, and different kinds of which, we have
previously made mention287
on the appropriate occasions.
Every kind of wax is emollient and warming, and tends to
the formation of new flesh; fresh wax is, however, the best.
It is given in broth to persons troubled with dysentery, and
the combs themselves are sometimes used in a pottage made of
parched alica. Wax counteracts the bad effects288
and ten pills of wax, the size of a grain of millet, will pre-
vent milk from coagulating in the stomach. For swellings in
the groin, it is found beneficial to apply a plaster of white wax
to the pubes.
CHAP. 56.—REMARKS IN DISPARAGEMENT OF MEDICINAL COMPOSITIONS.
As to the different uses to which wax is applied, in combination with other substances in medicine, we could no more
make an enumeration of them than we could of all the other
ingredients which form part of our medicinal compositions.
These preparations, as we have already289
observed, are the results of human invention. Cerates, poultices,290
plasters, eyesalves, antidotes,—none of these have been formed by Nature,
that parent and divine framer of the universe; they are merely
the inventions of the laboratory, or rather, to say the truth,
of human avarice.291
The works of Nature are brought into
existence complete and perfect in every respect, her ingredients being but few in number, selected as they are from a
due appreciation of cause and effect, and not from mere guesswork; thus, for instance, if a dry substance is wanted to assume a liquefied form, a liquid, of course, must be employed as
a vehicle, while liquids, on the other hand, must be united with
a dry substance to render them consistent. But as for man,
when he pretends, with balance in292
hand, to unite and combine the various elementary substances, he employs himself
not merely upon guesswork, but proves himself guilty of downright impudence.
It is not my intention to touch upon the medicaments afforded by the drugs of India, or Arabia and other foreign
climates: I have no liking for drugs that come from so great a
they are not produced for us, no, nor yet for the
natives of those countries, or else they would not be so ready
to sell them to us. Let people buy them if they please, as
ingredients in perfumes, unguents, and other appliances of
luxury; let them buy them as adjuncts to their superstitions
even, if incense and costus we must have to propitiate the
gods; but as to health, we can enjoy that blessing without
their assistance, as we can easily prove—the greater reason
then has luxury to blush at its excesses.
CHAP. 57.—REMEDIES DERIVED FROM GRAIN. SILIGO: ONE REMEDY. WHEAT: ONE REMEDY. CHAFF: TWO REMEDIES. SPELT: ONE REMEDY. BRAN: ONE REMEDY. OLYRA, OR ARINCA: TWO REMEDIES.
Having now described the remedies derived from flowers, both
those which enter into the composition of garlands, and the
ordinary garden ones, as well as from the vegetable productions,
how could we possibly omit those which are derived from the
(25.) It will be only proper then, to make some mention of
these as well. In the first place, however, let us remark that
it is a fact universally acknowledged, that it is the most intel-
ligent of the animated beings that derive their subsistence
from grain. The grain of siligo294
highly roasted and pounded
wine, applied to the eyes, heals defluxions of
and the grain of wheat, parched on a plate of
iron, is an instantaneous remedy for frost-bite in various parts
of the body. Wheat-meal, boiled in vinegar, is good for contractions of the sinews, and bran,297
mixed with rose-oil, dried
figs, and myxa298
plums boiled down together, forms an excel-
for the tonsillary glands and throat.
Sextus Pomponius, who had a son prætor, and who was
himself the first citizen of Nearer Spain, was on one occasion
attacked with gout, while superintending the winnowing in
his granaries; upon which, he immediately thrust his legs,
to above the knees, in a heap of wheat. He found himself re-
lieved, the swelling in the legs subsided in a most surprising
degree, and from that time he always employed this remedy:
indeed, the action of grain in masses is so extremely powerful
as to cause the entire evaporation of the liquor in a cask. Men of
experience in these matters recommend warm chaff of wheat
or barley, as an application for hernia, and fomentations with
the water in which it has been boiled. In the grain
as spelt, there is a small worm found, similar in appearance to the teredo:301
if this is put with wax into the hollow of carious teeth, they will come out, it is said, or, indeed,
if the teeth are only rubbed with it. Another name given
to olyra, as already302
mentioned, is "arinca:" with a decoction of it a medicament is made, known in Egypt as "athera,"
and extremely good for infants. For adult persons it is employed in the form of a liniment.
CHAP. 58.—THE VARIOUS KINDS OF MEAL: TWENTY-EIGHT REMEDIES.
-meal, raw or boiled, disperses, softens, or ripens gatherings and inflammatory tumours; and for other purposes
a decoction of it is made in hydromel, or with dried figs. If
required for pains in the liver, it must be boiled with oxycrate
in wine. When it is a matter of doubt whether an abscess
should be made to suppurate or be dispersed, it is a better
plan to boil the meal in vinegar, or lees of vinegar, or else
with a decoction of quinces or pears. For the bite of the
it is employed with honey, and for the stings of
serpents, and to prevent suppurations, with vinegar. To promote suppuration, it should be used with oxycrate, with the
addition of Gallic resin. For gatherings, also, that have come
to a head, and ulcers of long standing, it must be employed
in combination with resin, and for indurations, with pigeons'
dung, dried figs, or ashes. For inflammation of the tendons,
or of the intestines and sides, or for pains in the male organs and
denudations of the bones, it is used with poppies, or melilote;
and for scrofulous sores, it is used with pitch and oil, mixed
with the urine of a youth who has not reached the years of puberty. It is employed also with fenugreek for tumours of
the thoracic organs, and in fevers, with honey, or stale grease.
For suppurations, however, wheat-meal is much more sooth-
it is applied topically also for affections of the sinews,
mixed with the juice of henbane, and for the cure of freckles,
with vinegar and honey. The meal of zea,306
from which, as
stated, an alica is made, appears to be more efficacious
than that of barley even: but that of the three month308
is the most emollient. It is applied warm, in red wine, to
the stings of scorpions, as also for affections of the trachea,
and spitting of blood: for coughs, it is employed in combination with goat suet or butter.
The meal of fenugreek,309
however, is the most soothing of
them all: boiled with wine and nitre, it heals running ulcers,
eruptions on the body, and diseases of the feet and mamillæ.
The meal of æra310
is more detergent than the other kinds, for
inveterate ulcers and gangrenes: in combination with radishes, salt, and vinegar, it heals lichens, and with virgin sulphur, leprosy: for head-ache, it is applied to the forehead
with goose-grease. Boiled in wine, with pigeons' dung and
linseed, it ripens inflamed tumours and scrofulous sores.
CHAP. 59.—POLENTA: EIGHT REMEDIES.
Of the various kinds of polenta we have already treated
at length, when speaking of the places where it
is made. It differs from barley meal, in being parched, a process which renders it more wholesome for the stomach. It
arrests looseness of the bowels, and heals inflammatory eruptions; and it is employed as a liniment for the eyes, and for
head-ache, combined with mint or some other refreshing herb.
It is used in a similar manner also for chilblains and wounds
inflicted by serpents; and with wine, for burns. It has the
effect also of checking pustular eruptions.
CHAP. 60.—FINE FLOUR: FIVE REMEDIES. PULS: ONE REMEDY.
MEAL USED FOR PASTING PAPYRUS: ONE REMEDY.
of bolted meal, kneaded into a paste, has the
property of drawing313
out the humours of the body: hence it
is applied to bruises gorged with blood, to extract the corrupt
matter, even to soaking the bandages314
employed: used with
boiled must, it is still more efficacious. It is used as an application also for callosities of the feet and corns; boiled with
old oil and pitch, and applied as hot as possible, it cures condylomata and all other maladies of the fundament in a most
surprising manner. Puls315
is a very feeding diet. The meal316
used for pasting the sheets of papyrus is given warm to patients for spitting of blood, and is found to be an effectual
CHAP. 61.—ALICA: SIX REMEDIES.
Alica is quite a Roman invention, and not a very ancient
one: for otherwise317
the Greeks would never have written in
such high terms of the praises of ptisan in preference. I do
not think that it was yet in use in the days of Pompeius
Magnus, a circumstance which will explain why hardly any
mention has been made of it in the works of the school of
Asclepiades. That it is a most excellent preparation no one
can have a doubt, whether it is used strained in hydromel, or
whether it is boiled and taken in the form of broth or puls. To
arrest flux of the bowels, it is first parched and then boiled
with honeycomb, as already mentioned:318
but it is more particularly useful when there is a tendency to phthisis after a
long illness, the proper proportions being three cyathi of it to
one sextarius of water. This mixture is boiled till all the
water has gone off by evaporation, after which one sextarius
of sheep' or goats' milk is added: it is then taken by the
patient daily, and after a time some honey is added. By this
kind of nutriment a deep decline may be cured.
CHAP. 62.—MILLET: SIX REMEDIES.
arrests looseness of the bowels and dispels gripings
of the stomach, for which purposes it is first parched. For
pains in the sinews, and of various other descriptions, it is
applied hot, in a bag, to the part affected. Indeed, there is
no better topical application known, as it is extremely light
and emollient, and retains heat for a very long time: hence it
is that it is so much employed in all those cases in which the
application of heat is necessary. The meal of it, mixed with
tar, is applied to wounds inflicted by serpents and millepedes.
CHAP. 63.—PANIC: FOUR REMEDIES.
Diodes, the physician, has given to panic320
the name of
"honey of corn."321
It has the same properties as millet, and,
taken in wine, it is good for dysentery. In a similar manner,
too, it is applied to such parts of the body as require to be
treated with heat. Boiled in goats'-milk, and taken twice
a-day, it arrests looseness of the bowels; and, used in a similar
manner, it is very good for gripings of the stomach.
CHAP. 64.—SESAME: SEVEN REMEDIES. SESAMOIDES: THREE
REMEDIES. ANTICYRICUM: THREE REMEDIES.
pounded and taken in wine, arrests vomiting: it
is applied also topically to inflammations of the ears, and burns.
It has a similar effect even while in the blade: and in that
state, a decoction of it in wine is used as a liniment for the
eyes. As an alignment it is injurious to the stomach, and imparts a bad odour to the breath. It is an antidote to the bite
of the spotted lizard, and heals the cancerous sore known as
The oil made from it, as already324
good for the ears.
owes its name to its resemblance to sesame;
of it, however, is bitter, and the leaf more diminutive: it is found growing in sandy soils. Taken in water,
it carries off bile, and, with the seed, a liniment is made for
erysipelas: it disperses inflamed swellings also. Besides this,
there is another327
sesamoïdes, which grows at Anticyra, and,
for that reason, is known by some as "anticyricon." In
other respects, it is similar to the plant erigeron, of which we
shall have to speak328
on a future occasion; but the seed of it
is like that of sesame. It is given in sweet wine as an evacuant, in doses of a pinch in three fingers, mixed with an
obolus and a half of white hellebore; this preparation being
employed principally as a purgative, in cases of insanity, melancholy, epilepsy, and gout. Taken alone, in doses of one
drachma, it purges by stool.
CHAP. 65.—BARLEY: NINE REMEDIES. MOUSE-BARLEY, BY THE GREEKS CALLED PHŒNICE: ONE REMEDY.
The whitest barley is the best. Boiled329
in rain-water, the
pulp of it is divided into lozenges, which are used in injections for ulcerations of the intestines and the uterus. The
ashes of barley are applied to burns, to bones denuded of the
flesh, to purulent eruptions, and to the bite of the shrewmouse: sprinkled with salt and honey they impart whiteness
to the teeth, and sweetness to the breath. It is alleged that
persons who are in the habit of eating barley-bread are never
troubled with gout in the feet: they say, too, that if a person
takes nine grains of barley, and traces three times round a
boil, with each of them in the left hand, and then throws
them all into the fire, he will experience an immediate cure.
There is another plant, too, known as "phœnice" by the
Greeks, and as "mouse-barley"330
by us: pounded and taken
in wine, it acts remarkably well as an emmenagogue.
CHAP. 66.—PTISAN: FOUR REMEDIES.
which is a preparation of barley, Hippocrates332
has devoted a whole treatise; praises, however, which at the
present day are all transferred to "alica," being, as it is, a
much more wholesome preparation. Hippocrates, however,
recommends it as a pottage, for the comparative ease with
which, from its lubricous nature, it is swallowed; as also, because it allays thirst, never swells in the stomach, passes easily
through the intestines, and is the only food that admits of
being given twice a-day in fever, at least to patients who are
in the habit of taking two meals—so opposed is his method
to that of those physicians who are for famishing their patients. He forbids it to be given, however, without being
first strained; for no part, he says, of the ptisan, except the
should be used. He says, too, that it must never be
taken while the feet are cold, and, indeed, that no drink of
any kind should be taken then. With wheat a more viscous
kind of ptisan is made, which is found to be still more efficacious for ulcerations of the trachea.
CHAP. 67.—AMYLUM: EIGHT REMEDIES. OATS: ONE REMEDY.
weakens the eyesight,335
and is bad for the throat,
whatever opinions may be held to the contrary. It has the
effect also of arresting looseness of the bowels, and curing defluxions and ulcerations of the eyes, as also pustules and con-
gestions of the blood. It mollifies indurations of the eyelids,
and is given with egg to persons when they vomit blood. For
pains of the bladder, half an ounce of it is prescribed with an
egg, and as much raisin wine as three egg-shells will hold,
the mixture to be made lukewarm and taken immediately
after the bath. Oatmeal, boiled in vinegar, removes moles.
CHAP. 68.—BREAD: TWENTY-ONE REMEDIES.
too, which forms our ordinary nutriment, possesses
medicinal properties, almost without, number. Applied with
water and oil, or else rose-oil, it softens abscesses; and, with
hydromel, it is remarkably soothing for indurations. It is prescribed with wine to produce delitescence, or when a defluxion
requires to be checked; or, if additional activity is required,
with vinegar. It is employed also for the morbid defluxions of
rheum, known to the Greeks as "rheumatismi," and for
bruises and sprains. For all these purposes, however, bread
made with leaven, and known as "autopyrus,"337
is the best.
It is applied also to whitlows, in vinegar, and to callosities of
the feet. Stale bread, or sailors'-bread,338
beaten up and baked
again, arrests looseness of the bowels. For persons who wish to
improve the voice, dry bread is very good, taken fasting; it
is useful also as a preservative against catarrhs. The bread
called "sitanius," and which is made of three-month339
applied with honey, is a very efficient cure for contusions of
the face and scaly eruptions. White bread, steeped in hot or
cold water, furnishes a very light and wholesome aliment for
patients. Soaked in wine, it is applied as a poultice for
swellings of the eyes, and used in a similar manner, or with
the addition of dried myrtle, it is good for pustules on the
head. Persons troubled with palsy are recommended to take
bread soaked in water, fasting, immediately after the bath.
Burnt bread modifies the close smell of bedrooms, and, used
in the strainers,340
it neutralizes bad odours in wine.
CHAP. 69.—BEANS: SIXTEEN REMEDIES.
too, furnish us with some remedies. Parched whole,
and thrown hot into strong vinegar, they are a cure for grip-
ings of the bowels. Bruised, and boiled with garlic, they are
taken with the daily food for inveterate coughs, and for suppurations of the chest. Chewed by a person fasting, they are
applied topically to ripen boils, or to disperse them; and,
boiled in wine, they are employed for swellings of the testes
and diseases of the genitals. Bean-meal, boiled in vinegar,
ripens tumours and breaks them, and heals contusions and
burns. M. Varro assures us that beans are very good for the
voice. The ashes of bean stalks and shells, with stale hogs'-
lard, are good for sciatica and inveterate pains of the sinews.
The husks, too, boiled down, by themselves, to one-third,
arrest looseness of the bowels.
CHAP. 70.—LENTILS: SEVENTEEN REMEDIES.
are the best which boil the most easily, and
those in particular which absorb the most water. They injure
no doubt, and inflate the stomach; but taken
with the food, they act astringently upon the bowels, more
particularly if they are thoroughly boiled in rain-water: if,
on the other hand, they are lightly boiled, they are laxative.344
They break purulent ulcers, and they cleanse and cicatrize
ulcerations of the mouth. Applied topically, they allay all
kinds of abscesses, when ulcerated and chapped more
particularly; with melilote or quinces they are applied to defluxions
of the eyes, and with polenta they are employed topically for
suppurations. A decoction of them is used for ulcerations of
the mouth and genitals, and, with rose-oil or quinces, for
diseases of the fundament. For affections which demand a
more active remedy, they are used with pomegranate rind,
and the addition of a little honey; to prevent the composition
from drying too quickly, beet leaves are added. They are ap-
plied topically, also, to scrofulous sores, and to tumours, whether
ripe or only coming to a head, being thoroughly-boiled first
in vinegar. Mixed with hydromel they are employed for the
cure of' chaps, and with pomegranate rind for gangrences.
With polenta they are used for gout, for diseases of the
uterus and kidneys, for chilblains, and for ulcerations which
cicatrize with difficulty. For a disordered stomach, thirty
grains should be eaten.
however, and dysentery, it is the best plan to
boil the lentils in three waters, in which case they should
always be parched first, and then pounded as fine as possible,
either by themselves, or else with quinces, pears, myrtle, wild
endive, black beet, or plantago. Lentils are bad for the
lungs, head-ache, all nervous affections, and bile, and are very
apt to cause restlessness at night. They are useful, however,
for pustules, erysipelas, and affections of the mamillæ, boiled
in sea-water; and, applied with vinegar, they disperse indura-
tions and scrofulous sores. As a stomachic, they are mixed,
like polenta, with the drink given to patients. Parboiled in
water, and then pounded and bolted through a sieve to disengage the bran, they are good for burns, care being taken to
add a little honey as they heal: they are boiled, also, with
oxycrate for diseases of the throat.346
There is a marsh-lentil347
also, which grows spontaneously
in stagnant waters. It is of a cooling nature, for which rea-
son it is employed topically for abscesses, and for gout in par-
ticular, either by itself or with polenta. Its glutinous properties render it a good medicine for intestinal hernia.
CHAP. 71.—THE ELELISPHACOS, SPHACOS, OR SALVIA: THIRTEEN REMEDIES.
The plant called by the Greeks "elelisphacos,"348
or "sphacos," is a species of wild lentil, lighter than the cultivated one,
and with a leaf, smaller, drier, and more odoriferous. There
is also another349
kind of it, of a wilder nature, and possessed
of a powerful smell, the other one being milder. It350
the shape of a quince, but white and smaller: they are generally boiled with the branches. This plant acts as an emmenagogue and a diuretic: and it affords a remedy for wounds
inflicted by the sting-ray,351
having the property of benumbing
the part affected. It is taken in drink with wormwood for
dysentery: employed with wine it accelerates the catamenia
when retarded, a decoction of it having the effect of arresting
them when in excess: the plant, applied by itself, stanches
the blood of wounds. It is a cure, too, for the stings of serpents, and a decoction of it in wine allays prurigo of the
Our herbalists of the present day take for the "elelisphacos"
of the Greeks the "salvia"352
of the Latins, a plant similar in
appearance to mint, white and aromatic. Applied externally,
it expels the dead fœtus, as also worms which breed in ulcers
and in the ears.
CHAP. 72.—THE CHICKPEA AND THE CHICHELING VETCH: TWENTY-THREE REMEDIES.
There is a wild chickpea also, which resembles in its leaf the
and has a powerful smell. Taken in considerable quantities, it relaxes the bowels, and produces griping
pains and flatulency; parched, however, it is looked upon as
more wholesome. The chicheling vetch,354
again, acts more bene-
ficially upon the bowels. The meal of both kinds heals running
sores of the head—that of the wild sort being the more efficacious of the two—as also epilepsy, swellings of the liver, and
stings inflicted by serpents. It acts as an emmenagogue and
a diuretic, used in the grain more particularly, and it is a cure
for lichens, inflammations of the testes, jaundice, and dropsy.
All these kinds, however, exercise an injurious effect upon
ulcerations of the bladder and kidneys: but in combination
with honey they are very good for gangrenous sores, and the
cancer known as "cacoethes." The following is a method
adopted for the cure of all kinds of warts: on the first day of
the moon, each wart must be touched with a single chickpea,
after which, the party must tie up the pease in a linen cloth,
and throw it behind him; by adopting this plan, it is thought,
the warts will be made to disappear.
Our authors recommend the plant known as the "arietinum"355
to be boiled in water with salt, and two cyathi of the decoction
to be taken for strangury. Employed in a similar manner, it
expels calculi, and cures jaundice. The water in which the
leaves and stalks of this plant have been boiled, applied as a
fomentation as hot as possible, allays gout in the feet, an effect
equally produced by the plant itself, beaten up and applied
warm. A decoction of the columbine356
chickpea, it is thought,
moderates the shivering fits in tertian or quartan fevers; and
the black kind, beaten up with half a nut-gall, and applied
with raisin wine, is a cure for ulcers of the eyes.
CHAP. 73.—THE FITCH: TWENTY REMEDIES.
In speaking of the fitch,357
we have mentioned certain properties belonging to it; and, indeed, the ancients have attributed to it no fewer virtues than they have to the cabbage.
For the stings of serpents, it is employed with vinegar; as
also for bites inflicted by crocodiles and human beings. If a
person eats of it, fasting, every day, according to authors of
the very highest authority, the spleen will gradually diminish.
The meal of it removes spots on the face and other parts of the
body. It prevents ulcers from spreading also, and is extremely
efficacious for affections of the mamillæ: mixed with wine, it
makes carbuncles break. Parched, and taken with a piece of
honey the size of a hazel nut, it cures dysuria, flatulency,
affections of the liver, tenesmus, and that state of the body in
which no nourishment is derived from the food, generally known
as "atrophy." For cutaneous eruptions, plasters are made of
it boiled with honey, being left to remain four days on the part
affected. Applied with honey, it prevents inflamed tumours
from suppurating. A decoction of it, employed as a fomenta-
tion, cures chilblains and prurigo; and it is thought by some,
that if it is taken daily, fasting, it will improve the complexion
of all parts of the body.
Used as an aliment, this pulse is far from wholesome,358
apt to produce vomiting, disorder the bowels, and stuff the
head and stomach. It weakens the knees also; but the effects
of it may be modified by keeping it in soak for several days, in
which case it is remarkably beneficial for oxen and beasts of
burden. The pods of it, beaten up green with the stalks and
leaves, before they harden, stain the hair black.
CHAP. 74.—LUPINES: THIRTY-FIVE REMEDIES.
There are wild lupines,359
also, inferior in every respect to
the cultivated kinds, except in their bitterness. Of all the
alimentary substances, there are none which are less heavy or
than dried lupines. Their bitterness is considerably modified by cooking them on hot ashes, or steeping them
in hot water. Employed frequently as an article of food, they
impart freshness to the colour; the bitter lupine, too, is good for
the sting of the asp. Dried lupines, stripped of the husk and
pounded, are applied in a linen cloth to black ulcers, in which
they make new flesh: boiled in vinegar, they disperse scrofu-
lous sores and imposthumes of the parotid glands. A decoction of them, with rue and pepper, is given in fever even, as
an expellent of intestinal worms,361
to patients under thirty
years of age. For children, also, they are applied to the sto-
mach as a vermifuge, the patient fasting in the meantime and,
according to another mode of treatment, they are parched and
taken in boiled must or in honey.
Lupines have the effect of stimulating the appetite, and of
dispelling nausea. The meal of them, kneaded up with vinegar, and applied in the bath, removes pimples and prurigo;
employed alone, it dries up ulcerous sores. It cures bruises
also, and, used with polenta, allays inflammations. The wild
lupine is found to be the most efficacious for debility of the
hips and loins. A decoction of them, used as a fomentation, removes freckles and improves the skin; and lupines,
either wild or cultivated, boiled down to the consistency of
honey, are a cure for black eruptions and leprosy. An application of cultivated lupines causes carbuncles to break, and reduces inflamed tumours and scrofulous sores, or else brings them
to a head: boiled in vinegar, they restore the flesh when cicatrized to its proper colour. Thoroughly boiled in rain-water,
the decoction of them furnishes a detersive medicine, of which
fomentations are made for gangrenes, purulent eruptions, and
runing ulcers. This decoction is very good, taken in drink,
for affections of the spleen, and with honey, for retardations of
the catamenia. Beaten up raw, with dried figs, lupines are
applied externally to the spleen. A decoction of the root acts
as a diuretic.
The herb chamæleon,362
also, is boiled with lupines, and the
water of it strained off, to be used as a potion for cattle.
Lupines boiled in amurca,363
or a decoction of them mixed with
amurca, heals the itch in beasts. The smoke of lupines kills364
CHAP. 75.—IRIO, OR ERYSIMUM, BY THE GAULS CALLED VELA: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
When treating of the cereals, we have already stated365
the irio, which strongly resembles sesame, is also called "erysimon " by the Greeks: the Gauls give it the name of "vela."
It is a branchy plant, with leaves like those of rocket, but a
little narrower, and a seed similar to that of nasturtium. With
honey, it is extremely good for cough and purulent expectorations: it is given, also, for jaundice and affections of the loins,
pleurisy, gripings of the bowels, and cœliac affections, and is
used in liniments for imposthumes of the parotid glands and carcinomatous affections. Employed with water, or with honey,
it is useful for inflammations of the testes, and is extremely
beneficial for the diseases of infants. Mixed with honey and
figs, it is good for affections of the fundament and diseases of
the joints; and taken in dink, it is an excellent antidote to
poisons. It is used, also, for asthma,366
and with stale axle-
grease for fistulas; but it must not be allowed to touch the
interior of them.
CHAP. 76.—HORMINUM: SIX REMEDIES.
Horminum resembles cummin, as already stated,367
seed; but in other respects, it is like the leek.368
It grows to
some nine inches in height, and there are two varieties of it.
In one of these the seed is oblong, and darker than that of the
other, and the plant itself is in request as an aphrodisiac, and
for the cure of argema and albugo in the eyes: of the other
kind the seed is whiter, and of a rounder form. Both kinds,
pounded and applied with water, are used for the extraction
of thorns from the body. The leaves, steeped in vinegar, disperse tumours, either used by themselves, or in combination
with honey; they are employed, also, to disperse boils, before
they have come to a head, and other collections of acrid hu-
CHAP. 77.—DARNEL: FIVE REMEDIES.
Even more than this—the very plants which are the bane of
the corn-field are not without their medicinal uses. Darnel369
has received from Virgil370
the epithet of "unhappy;" and yet,
ground and boiled with vinegar, it is used as an application for
the cure of impetigo, which is the more speedily effected the
oftener the application is renewed. It is employed, also, with
oxymel, for the cure of gout and other painful diseases. The
following is the mode of treatment: for one sextarius of vinegar, two ounces of honey is the right proportion; three sextarii having been thus prepared, two sextarii of darnel meal
are boiled down in it to a proper consistency, the mixture being
applied warm to the part affected. This meal, too, is used for
the extraction of splinters of broken bones.
CHAP. 78.—THE PLANT MILIARIA: ONE REMEDY.
is the name given to a plant which kills millet:
this plant, it is said, is a cure for gout in beasts of burden,
beaten up and administered in wine, with the aid of a horn.
CHAP. 79.—BROMOS: ONE REMEDY.
is the seed also of a plant which bears an ear. It
is a kind of oat which grows among corn, to which it is injurious; the leaves and stalk of it resemble those of wheat, and
at the extremity it bears seeds, hanging down, something like
in appearance. The seed of this plant is useful
for plasters, like barley and other grain of a similar nature.
A decoction of it is good for coughs.
CHAP. 80.—OROBANCHE, OR CYNOMORION: ONE REMEDY.
We have mentioned374
orobanche as the name of a plant
which kills the fitch and other leguminous plants. Some
persons have called it "cynomorion," from the resemblance
which it bears to the genitals of a dog. The stem of it is
leafless, thick, and red. It is eaten either raw, or boiled in the
saucepan, while young and tender.
CHAP. 81.—REMEDIES FOR INJURIES INFLICTED BY INSECTS WHICH BREED AMONG LEGUMINOUS PLANTS.
There are some venomous insects also, of the solipuga375
which breed upon leguminous plants, and which, by stinging
the hands, endanger life. For these stings all those remedies
are efficacious which have been mentioned for the bite of the
spider and the phalangium.376
Such, then, are the medicinal
properties for which the cereals are employed.
CHAP. 82.—THE USE MADE OF THE YEAST OF ZYTHUM.
Different beverages, too, are made from the cereals, zythum
in Egypt, cælia and cerea in Spain, cervesia377
liquors in Gaul and other provinces. The yeast378
of all of these
is used by women as a cosmetic for the face.—But as we are
now speaking of beverages, it will be the best plan to pass on
to the various uses of wine, and to make a beginning with the
vine of our account of the medicinal properties of the trees.
Summary.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine
hundred and six.
Authors quoted.—All those mentioned in the preceding
Book: and, in addition to them, Chrysermus,379