THE REMEDIES DERIVED FROM THE CULTIVATED TREES.
CHAP. 1. (1.)—INTRODUCTION.
We have now set forth the various properties, medicinal or
otherwise, as well of the cereals as of the other productions
which lie upon1
the surface of the earth, for the purpose either
of serving us for food, or for the gratification of our senses
with their flowers or perfumes. In the trees, however,
Pomona has entered the lists with them, and has imparted
certain medicinal properties to the fruits as they hang. Not content with protecting and nourishing, under the shadow of the
trees, the various plants which we have2
she would even appear to be indignant, as it were, at the
thought that we should derive more succour from those productions which are further removed from the canopy of heaven,
and which have only come into use in times comparatively recent. For she bids man bear in mind that it was the fruits of
the trees which formed his first nourishment, and that it was
these which first led him to look upwards towards the heavens:
and not only this, but she reminds him, too, that even still it
is quite possible for him to derive his aliment from the trees,
without being indebted to grain for his subsistence.
CHAP. 2.—THE VINE.
But, by Hercules! it is the vine more particularly to which
she has accorded these medicinal properties, as though she
were not contented with her generosity in providing it with
such delicious flavours, and perfumes, and essences, in its omphacium, its œnanthe, and its massaris, preparations upon
which we have already3
enlarged. "It is to me," she says,
"that man is indebted for the greater part of his enjoyments,
it is I that produce for him the flowing wine and the trickling
oil, it is I that ripen the date and other fruits in numbers so
varied; and all this, not insisting, like the earth, on their purchase at the cost of fatigues and labours. No necessity do I
create for ploughing with the aid of oxen, for beating out
upon the threshing-floor, or for bruising under the millstone,
and all in order that man may earn his food at some indefinite
time by this vast expenditure of toil. As for me, all my gifts
are presented to him ready prepared: for no anxieties or
flatigues do they call, but, on the contrary, they offer them-
selves spontaneously, and even fall to the ground, if man
should be too indolent to reach them as they hang." Vying
even with herself, Pomona has done still more for our practical advantage than for the mere gratification of our pleasures
CHAP. 3.—THE LEAVES AND SHOOTS OF THE VINE: SEVEN REMEDIES.
The leaves and shoots of the vine, employed with polenta,
allay head-ache and reduce inflammations:5
the leaves, too,
applied by themselves with cold water, are good for burning
pains in the stomach; and, used with barley-meal, are excellent applications for diseases of the joints. The shoots, beaten
up and applied, have the property of drying up all kinds of
running tumours, and the juice extracted from them is used
as an injection for the cure of dysentery. The tears of the
vine, which would appear to be a sort of gum, will heal leproussores, lichens, and itch-scabs, if treated first with nitre:
used with oil, and applied frequently to superfluous hairs, they
act as a depilatory, those more particularly which exude from
the vine when burnt in a green state: this last liquid has the
effect, too, of removing warts. An infusion of the shoots in
water, taken in drink, is good for persons troubled with spitting
of blood, and for the fainting fits which sometimes ensue upon
The bark of the vine and the dried leaves arrest the flowing
of blood from wounds, and make the sores cicatrize more
rapidly. The juice of the white vine,6
extracted from it while
green, effectually removes cutaneous7
eruptions. The ashes8
of the cuttings of vines, and of the husks of the grapes, ap-
plied with vinegar, are curative of condylomata and diseases
of the fundament; as also of sprains, burns, and swellings of
the spleen, applied with rose-oil, rue, and vinegar. Used with
wine, but without oil, they make a fomentation for erysipelas
and parts of the body which are chafed; they act as a depilatory also.9
For affections of the spleen the ashes of vine-
cuttings, moistened with vinegar, are administered in drink,
being taken in doses of two cyathi in warm water; after which
the patient must take due care to lie upon the side in which
the spleen is situate.
The tendrils, too, which the vine throws out as it climbs,
beaten up in water and drunk, have the effect of arresting
habitual vomiting. The ashes of the vine, used with stale
axle-grease, are good for tumours, act as a detergent upon fistulas, and speedily effect a radical cure; the same, too, with
pains and contractions of the sinews, occasioned by cold. Applied with oil, they are useful for contusions, and with vinegar
and nitre, for fleshy excrescences upon the bones: in combination with oil, they are good, too, for wounds inflicted by scorpions and dogs. The ashes of the bark, employed by themselves, restore the hair to such parts of the body as have suffered from the action of fire.
CHAP. 4.—OMPHACIUM EXTRACTED FROM THE VINE: FOURTEEN REMEDIES.
We have already10
mentioned, when speaking of the composition of unguents, how omphacium is made from the grape,
when it is just beginning to form: we shall now proceed to
speak of its medicinal properties. Omphacium heals ulcerations
of the humid parts of the body, such as the mouth, tonsillary
glands, and generative organs, for example; it is very good,
too, for the sight, for rough spots upon the eyelids, ulcers at the
corners of the eyes, films upon the eyes, running sores on all
parts of the body, cicatrizations11
slow in forming, and purulent
discharges from the ears. The powerful action of omphacium
is modified by the admixture of honey or raisin wine. It is
very useful, too, for dysentery, spitting of blood, and quinsy.
CHAP. 5.—ŒNANTHE: TWENTY-ONE REMEDIES.
Next to omphacium comes œnanthe, a product of the wild
vine, described by us already12
when treating of the unguents.
The most esteemed kind is that of Syria, the produce of the
in the vicinity of the mountains of Antiochia and
Laodicea in particular. Being of a cooling, astringent nature,
it is used for sprinkling upon sores, and is employed as a topical application for diseases of the stomach. It acts also as a
diuretic, and is good for maladies of the liver, head-ache,
dysentery, cœliac affections, and attacks of cholera: for nausea,
it is taken in doses of one obolus in vinegar. It acts as a desiccative upon running eruptions of the head, and is extremely
efficacious for maladies of the humid parts of the body; hence
it is that it is employed, with honey and saffron, for ulcers of
the mouth, and for diseases of the generative organs and the
fundament. It arrests looseness of the bowels, and heals erup-
tions of the eyelids and runnings at the eyes: taken with wine,
it cures derangements of the stomach, and with cold water,
spitting of blood.
The ashes of œnanthe are highly esteemed as an ingredient
in eye-salves, and as a detergent for ulcers, whitlows, and
to obtain these ashes, it is put into an oven, and
left there till the bread is thoroughly baked.
As to massaris,15
it is used as a perfume only. The renown
attached to all these preparations is due solely to the innate
greediness of mankind, which has racked its invention to gather
the productions of the earth before they have arrived at maturity.
CHAP. 6.—GRAPES, FRESH GATHERED.
As to grapes when allowed to gain maturity, the black ones
have more marked properties16
than the others; and hence it
is, that the wine made from them is not so agreeable. The
white grapes, on the other hand, are sweeter, for, being transparent, the air penetrates them with greater facility.
Grapes fresh gathered are productive of flatulency, and disturb the stomach and bowels; hence it is that they are avoided
in fevers, in large quantities more particularly. Indeed, they
are very apt to produce oppression of the head, and to bring on
the malady known as lethargy.17
Grapes which have been
gathered, and left to hang for some time, are much less18
injurious, the exposure to the air rendering them beneficial even to
the stomach, and refreshing to the patient, as they are slightly
cooling, and tend to remove nausea and qualmishness.
CHAP. 7.—VARIOUS KINDS OF PRESERVED GRAPES: ELEVEN REMEDIES.
Grapes which have been preserved in wine or in must are
trying to the head. Next to the grapes which have been left
to hang in the air, are those which have been kept in chaff;
but as to those which have been preserved among grape husks,
they are injurious19
to the head, the bladder, and the stomach,
though at the same time they arrest looseness of the bowels,
and are extremely good for patients troubled with spitting of
blood. When preserved in must, they are worse even in their
effects than when kept among husks; boiled20
must, too, renders them injurious to the stomach. It is the opinion of medical
writers, that grapes kept21
in rain-water are the most wholesome of all, even though they are by no means agreeable eating;
for the benefit of them is particularly experienced in burning
pains of the stomach, biliousness arising from a disordered liver,
vomiting of bile, and attacks of cholera, as also dropsy and
Grapes kept in earthen pots sharpen the taste, the stomach,
and the appetite; it is thought, however, that they are rendered a little heavy22
by the exhalations from the husks with
which they are covered.23
If vine-blossoms are given to
poultry, mixed with their food, they will never touch the
CHAP. 8.—CUTTINGS OF THE VINE: ONE REMEDY.
Such cuttings of the vine as have borne grapes, have an
astringent effect, when they are preserved in earthen25
CHAP. 9.—GRAPE-STONES: SIX REMEDIES.
Grape-stones, also, have a similar26
property; it is through
them that wine is so apt to produce head-ache. Parched and
then pounded, they are beneficial for the stomach; and this
powder is sprinkled, like polenta, in the beverage of patients
suffering from dysentery, cœliac affections, and derangements
of the stomach. A decoction of them is useful, also, as a fomentation for itch-scabs and prurigo.
CHAP. 10.—GRAPE-HUSKS: EIGHT REMEDIES.
Grape-husks, used by themselves, are less injurious to the
head and bladder than grape-stones are: beaten up with salt,
they form an excellent liniment for inflammations of the ma-
millæ. A decoction of them, taken in drink, or employed as
a fomentation, is good for inveterate dysentery, and cœliac affections.
CHAP. 11.—THE GRAPES OF THE THERIACA: FOUR REMEDIES.
The grape of the theriaca, of which we have already made
on the appropriate occasion, is eaten by way of antidote to the stings of serpents. It is recommended, too, to eat
the young shoots of this tree, and to apply them topically.
The wine and vinegar made from these grapes are productive
of a similar salutary effect.28
CHAP. 12.—RAISINS, OR ASTAPHIS: FOURTEEN REMEDIES.
Raisins, the name given to which is "astaphis," would be
injurious to the stomach, abdomen, and intestines, were it not
for the stones within them, which act as a corrective.29
the stones are removed, raisins, it is thought, are beneficial to
the bladder, and good for cough:30
in the last case, the raisin
of the white grape is considered the best. Raisins are good
also for the trachea and the kidneys, and the wine made from
them is particularly efficacious for the sting of the serpent
In combination with meal of cummin or
coriander, they are employed topically for inflammations of the
testes. For carbuncles and diseases of the joints, the stones
are removed, and the raisins are pounded with rue; if used
for ulcers, the sores must be first fomented with wine.
Used with the stones, raisins are a cure for epinyctis, honeycomb ulcers,32
and dysentery; and for gangrenes they are applied
topically with radish rind and honey, being first boiled in oil.
They are used with panax,33
for gout and loose nails; and they
are sometimes eaten by themselves, in combination with pep-
per, for the purpose of cleansing the mouth and clearing the
CHAP. 13—THE ASTAPHISAGRIA, OTHERWISE CALLED STAPHIS OR TAMINIA: TWELVE REMEDIES.
The wild astaphis, otherwise called staphis,34
is by some persons erroneously called "uva taminia;"35
for it is altogether a
distinct plant from the other. It has a black, upright stein, with
leaves resembling those of the labrusca,36
and bears what we may
call a pod,37
rather than a grape, green, similar to a chick-pea
in appearance, and enclosing a kernel of triangular form. The
fruit of it ripens with the vintage and turns black, while the
berries of the taminia,38
as is well known, are red; this last,
too, as we are aware, grows only in shaded spots, while the
wild astaphis, on the other hand, loves a site that is exposed
to the sun.
I would not recommend any one to use the kernels39
wild astaphis as a purgative, as it is very doubtful whether they
might not choke the patient; nor would I advise them to be
employed for the purpose of attenuating the phlegm, as they
are extremely irritating to the throat. Beaten up, however, and
applied topically, they kill vermin40
in the head and other parts
of the body, more particularly if they are used with sandarach; they are very useful, too, for itch-scabs and prurigo. A
decoction of the kernels is made with vinegar, for the cure of
tooth-ache, diseases of the ears, cicatrices41
that are slow in
healing, and running sores.
The blossoms of the plant are beaten up and taken in wine
inflicted by serpents; but, as to the seed, I would
strongly recommend its rejection, on account of its extremely
pungent properties. Some persons give to this plant the name
and use it as a common application for
stings inflicted by serpents.
CHAP. 14.—THE LABRUSCA, OR WILD VINE: TWELVE REMEDIES.
The labrusca, too, produces an œnanthe, which has been
described at sufficient length already:44
by the Greeks the labrusca is known as the wild vine.45
The leaves of it are thick
and of a whitish colour, the stem is jointed, and the bark full
of fissures: it bears grapes of a scarlet46
hue, like the coccus,
which are made use of by females for the purpose of improving
the complexion, and removing spots upon the face. Pounded
with the leaves and the juice extracted from the tree, these
grapes are usefully employed for the treatment of lumbago
and sciatica. A decoction of the root47
in water, taken in two
cyathi of Coan wine, promotes an alvine evacuation of aqueous
secretions; for which reason it is prescribed for dropsy.
I am inclined to think that; this is the plant that is commonly known as the "uva taminia;"48
it is in great request as
an amulet, and is employed, though as a gargle only, in cases
of spitting blood; for which purpose, salt, thyme, and oxymel
are added to it, care being taken not to swallow any of the
mixture. It is generally looked upon as unsafe to employ it as
CHAP. 15.—THE SALICASTRUM: TWELVE REMEDIES.
There is another plant,49
similar to the labrusca, but found
growing in willow-beds; for which reason it is known by a
distinct name, though the uses to which it is applied are just
the same. The name given to it is "salicastrum;" beaten up
with oxymel, it displays marvellous efficacy in the removal of
itch-scab and prurigo in men and cattle.
CHAP. 16.—THE WHITE VINE, OTHERWISE CALLED AMPELOLEUCE,
STAPHYLE, MELOTHRON, PSILOTRUM, ARCHEZOSTIS, CEDROSTIS,
OR MADON: THIRTY-ONE REMEDIES.
The white vine50
is known to the Greeks by the various
names of ampeloleuce, staphyle, melothron, psilotrum, archezostis, cedrostis, and madon. The twigs of this tree are
jointed, thin, and climbing, with considerable interstices between the knots.51
The leaves, attached to the numerous
shoots, and about the size of an ivy leaf, are jagged at the
edges, like that of the vine. The root of it is large and white,
and very like a radish52
at first; from it issue several stems,
Similar to asparagus in appearance. These stems, eaten boiled,
are both purgative and diuretic. The leaves, too, as well as
the stems, are possessed of caustic53
properties; for which
reason they are employed topically with salt, for phagedænic
sores, gangrenes, and putrid ulcers of the legs. The fruit of
the tree is in the form of grapes thinly scattered, the juice of
which is red at first, and afterwards of a saffron colour. This
is well known to curriers, who are in the habit of using
it in preparing leather. It is employed also in the form of a
liniment for itch-scabs and leprous spots; and a decoction of
it with wheat, taken in drink, increases the milk in women
when nursing. The root of this tree, so renowned for
the numerous medicinal purposes to which it is applied, is
pounded and taken in wine, in doses of two drachmæ, for the
cure of stings inflicted by serpents:55
it has the effect, also, of
removing spots upon the face, moles and freckles, as well as
scars and bruises: a decoction of it in oil is productive of a
similar effect. A decoction of it is given to drink for epilepsy,56
and to persons troubled with a disordered mind or
suffering from vertigo, the dose being one drachma daily, for a
whole year: taken in larger quantities, it is apt sometimes to
the senses. It is possessed, also, of one very remarkable property, applied with water in the same manner as
bryonia, of extracting splintered bones, for which reason it is
known to some persons by the name of white bryonia: the
other kind, however, which is black, is found to answer
the purpose better, in combination with honey and frankincense.
The white vine disperses incipient suppurations, ripens
them when they are inveterate, and acts as a detergent: it
operates also as an emmenagogue and diuretic. An electuary is prepared from it for asthma and pains in the sides, as
also for convulsions and ruptures. Taken in drink for thirty
days together, in doses of three oboli, it has the effect of reducing the spleen; and it is used, in combination with figs,
for the cure of hangnails58
on the fingers. Applied with wine,
it brings away the after-birth, and, taken in hydromel, in
doses of one drachma, it carries off phlegm. The juice of the
root should be extracted before the fruit ripens; applied either
by itself or with meal of fitches, it imparts an improved com-
plexion and a certain degree of suppleness to the skin: it has
the effect also of repelling serpents. The root itself, too,
beaten up with a pulpy fig, will remove wrinkles on the body,
if the person using it takes care to walk a couple of stadia immediately after the application; otherwise it would leave marks
upon the skin, unless, indeed, it were washed off immediately
with cold water. The black vine, too, is better for this purpose than the white one, as the latter is very apt to be pro-
ductive of itching.
CHAP. 17.—THE BLACK VINE, OTHERWISE CALLED BRYONA, CHIRONIA, GYNÆCANTHE, OR APRONIA: THIRTY-FIVE REMEDIES.
For there is also a black vine, properly known as the "bryonia,"59
though by some persons it is called the "chironia,"
and by others the "gynæcanthe," or "apronia." It differs only
from the one previously mentioned in its colour, which, as
is black. The shoots of this tree, which
resemble asparagus in appearance, are preferred by Diodes for
eating to real asparagus,61
as a diuretic and for its property of
reducing the spleen. It is found growing in shrubberies or
reed-beds more particularly. The root of it, which is black
outside, and of the colour of box within, is even more efficacious
for the extraction of splintered bones than the plant last mentioned; in addition to which, it has the property of being a
specific for excoriations of the neck in cattle. It is said, too,
that if a person plants it around a farm, it will be sure to
keep hawks away, and to preserve the poultry-yard62
safety. Attached to the ankles, it tends to disperse the blood,
congested or otherwise, which may have settled in those
parts of the body, whether in human beings or in beasts of
Thus much with reference to the various species of vines.
CHAP. 18.—MUST: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
The various kinds of must63
have different properties; some
of them being black, some white, and others of intermediate
shades of colour. There is a difference, too, between the kinds
of must from which wine is made, and those from which
raisin wine is prepared. The various degrees of care and attention on the part of the maker, render the differences that
already exist, quite innumerable; we shall therefore content
ourselves with taking a general view only of their medicinal
Every kind of must is unwholesome to the stomach, but of
a soothing nature to the venous system. Taken off at a draught,
immediately after the bath, must is fatal64
in its effects. It
acts as an antidote65
to cantharides and stings inflicted by serpents, those of the hæmorrhois and the salamandra66
in particular. It is productive of head-ache, and is prejudicial to the
throat, but it is good for the kidneys, liver, and inner coat of
the bladder, by reason of its lubricating properties. It is particularly effectual also in cases of injuries inflicted by the insect known as the "buprestis."67
Taken with oil as a vomit, it neutralizes the bad effects of
milk that has curdled upon the stomach, hemlock, dorycnium,69
and other poisons.70
For all these purposes, however, white must is not so efficacious, while must prepared
from raisins of the sun has a more pleasant flavour, and is
productive of a less degree of oppression to the head.
CHAP. 19.—PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO WINE.
We have already71
described the various kinds of wine, the
numerous differences which exist between them, and most of
the properties which each kind possesses. There is no subject
that presents greater difficulties than this, or, indeed, a more
varied field for discussion, it being extremely difficult to pronounce whether wine is more generally injurious in its effects,
or beneficial. And then, in addition to this, how very uncertain is it, whether, the moment we have drunk it, it will be
productive of salutary results, or turn out no better than so
much poison! However, it is only with reference to its medicinal properties, that we are now about to speak of it.
Asclepiades has composed a whole treatise (which has
thence received its name72
) on the proper methods of administering wine; and the number of commentators who have since
written on this treatise, is almost innumerable. For my own
part, with all that gravity which becomes a Roman, and one
zealous for the furtherance of liberal pursuits, I shall enter into a
careful examination of this subject, not, indeed, in the character of a physician, but as a careful investigator of the
effects which wine is likely to produce upon the health of man-
kind. To treat, however, of the medicinal properties of each
individual kind, would be a labour without end, and quite inexhaustible; the more so, as the opinions of medical men are
so entirely at variance upon the subject.
CHAP. 20.—THE SURRENTINE WINES: THREE REMEDIES. THE
ALBAN WINES: TWO REMEDIES. THE FALERNIAN WINES: SIX
Our ancestors set the highest value upon the wines of
but at a later period the preference was given
to the Alban, or the Falernian wines. More recently, again,
other varieties of wine have come into fashion, quite in accordance with that most unreasonable mode of proceeding, according to which, each person, as he finds a wine most to his
taste, extols it as superior to all others. Suppose, now, that all
persons were quite agreed as to the superiority of some particular kind of wine, how small a proportion of mankind
would be enabled to make use of it! As it is, even the rich never
drink it in an unsophisticated state; the morals of the age
being such, that it is the name only of a vintage that is sold,
the wines being adulterated the very moment they enter the
vat. Hence it is, by Hercules!—a thing truly astounding—that, in reality, a wine is more innoxious in its effects, in pro-
portion as it enjoys a less extended renown. The three kinds,
however, of which we have made mention, appear to have
maintained, with the least diminution, their ancient repute.
The Falernian wine, it a person should be desirous to know
the marked characteristics of wines according to age, is injurious to the health, either too new or too old; at fifteen
years it begins to be of medium age. Falernian wine of this
age, taken cold, is good for the stomach, but not when taken
warm. For an inveterate cough and for quartan fevers, it is
a good plan to drink it neat, fisting. There is no wine that
quickens the action of the venous system so much as this; it
acts astringently upon the bowels, and is feeding to the body.
It has been thought, however, that this wine is productive of
injury to the sight, and that it is far from beneficial to the
and the bladder.
The Alban wines are more salutary to the nervous system,
but the sweet kinds are not so beneficial to the stomach. The
rough wines of Alba are even better than those of Falernum,
but they do not promote the digestion so well, and have a
slight tendency to overload the stomach.
As to the Surrentine wines, they have no such effect upon
the stomach, nor are they at all trying to the head; they have
the property also of arresting defluxions of the stomach and
intestines. The Cæcuban wines are no longer grown.
CHAP. 21.—THE SETINE WINES; ONE OBSERVATION UPON THEM. THE STATAN WINES; ONE OBSERVATION UPON THEM. THE, SIGNIAN WINES; ONE REMEDY.
Among the wines, however, which still exist, those of Setia75
promote the digestion, having more strength than the Surrentine wines, and more roughness than those of Alba. The
wines of Falernum are not so powerful. Those of Stata are
but very little inferior in quality to the wines already mentioned. It is universally agreed that the wines of Signia are
extremely beneficial in cases of derangement of the bowels.
CHAP. 22.—OTHER WINES: SIXTY-FOUR REMEDIES.
As to the other wines, they may be spoken of in general
terms. By the use of wine, the human vigour, blood, and
complexion are improved. It is wine that makes up for all
the difference between the middle or temperate zone, and those
which lie on either side of it, the juice of the vine conferring
as much vigour and robustness upon the inhabitants of our
part of the earth as the rigorousness76
of the climate does
upon the people there. Milk, used as a beverage, strengthens
the bones, liquids extracted from the cereals nourish the
sinews, and water imparts nutriment to the flesh: hence it is
that persons who confine themselves to these several liquids as
a beverage, are of a less ruddy complexion than the winedrinker, less robust, and less able to endure fatigue. By the
use of wine in moderation the sinews are strengthened, but
taken in excess it proves injurious to them; the same, too,
with the eves. Wine refreshes the stomach, sharpens the
appetite, takes off the keen edge of sorrows and anxieties,
warms the body, acts beneficially as a diuretic, and invites
sleep. In addition to these properties, it arrests vomiting, and
we find that pledgets of wool, soaked in wine, and applied to
abscesses, are extremely beneficial. According to Asclepiades,
the virtues possessed by wine are hardly equalled by the majestic attributes of the gods themselves.
Old wine bears admixture with a larger quantity of water, and
acts more powerfully as a diuretic, though at the same time it
is less effectual for quenching thirst. Sweet wine, again, is
less inebriating, but stays longer on the stomach, while rough
wine is more easy of digestion. The wine that becomes mellow with the greatest rapidity is the lightest, and that which
becomes sweeter the older it is, is not so injurious to the
nerves. Wines that are rich and black,77
are not so beneficial to the stomach; but, at the same time, they are more
feeding to the body. Thin-bodied rough wines are not so
feeding, but are more wholesome to the stomach, and pass
off more speedily by urine, though they are all the more
liable to fly to the head; a remark which will apply, once for
all, to liquids of every kind.
Wine that has been mellowed by the agency of smoke is
extremely unwholesome—a fraudulent method of preparation
that has been invented in the wine-lofts78
of the retail dealers.
At the present day, however, this plan is adopted in private
families even, when it is wished to give the appearance of maturity to wines that have become carious.79
Indeed, this term
has been used very appositely by the ancients with
reference to wines; for we find that in the case of wood even,
smoke exercises a caustic effect upon the carious parts, and
eats them away; and yet we, on the other hand, persuade
ourselves that an adventitious age may be imparted to wines
by the bitter twang derived from smoke!80
Those wines which are extremely pale, become more wholesome the older they are. The more generous81
a wine is, the
thicker it becomes with age; while, at the same time, it
contracts a bitter flavour, which is far from exercising a beneficial effect upon the health. To season another wine, that is
not so old, with this, is nothing less than to make an unwholesome preparation. The more of its own natural flavour82
wine possesses, the more wholesome it is; and the best age for
a wine is that which naturally belongs to it, a medium age
being the one that is the most generally esteemed.
CHAP. 23.—SIXTY-ONE OBSERVATIONS RELATIVE TO WINE.
Persons whose wish it is to make flesh, or to keep the bowels
relaxed, will do well to drink while taking their food. Those,
on the other hand, who wish to reduce themselves, or prevent
the bowels from being relaxed, should abstain from drinking
while taking their meals, and drink but a very little only
when they have done eating. To drink wine fasting is a
fashion of recent introduction83
only, and an extremely bad
one for persons engaged in matters of importance, and requiring a continued application of the mental faculties. Wine, no
doubt, was taken fasting in ancient times, but then it was as
a preparative for sleep and repose from worldly cares; and it
is for this reason that, in Homer,84
we find Helen presenting
it to the guests before the repast. It is upon this fact, too,
that the common proverb is founded, which says that "wisdom is obscured by wine."85
It is to wine that we men are
indebted for being the only animated beings that drink without
being thirsty. When drinking wine, it is a very good plan to
take a draught of water every now and then; and to take one
long draught of it at the last, cold water taken internally
having the effect of instantaneously dispelling inebriation.
It is strongly recommended by Hesiod86
to drink undiluted
for twenty days before the rising of the Dog-star, and
as many after. Pure wine, too, acts as an antidote to hemlock, coriander,88
henbane, mistletoe, opium, mercury, as also
to stings inflicted by bees, wasps, hornets, the phalangium,
serpents, and scorpions; all kinds of poison, in fact, which are
of a cold nature, the venom of the hæmorrhois and the
in particular, and the noxious effects of fungi. Undiluted wine is good, too, in cases of flatulency, gnawing pains
in the thoracic organs, excessive vomitings at the stomach,
fluxes of the bowels and intestines, dysentery, excessive perspirations after prolonged fits of coughing, and defluxions of
various kinds. In the cardiac90
disease, it is a good plan to
apply a sponge soaked in neat wine to the left breast: in all
these cases, however, old white wine is the best. A fomentation of hot wine applied to the genitals of beasts of burden is
found to be very beneficial; and, introduced into the mouth,
with the aid of a horn, it has the effect of removing all sensations of fatigue.91
It is asserted that in apes, and other quadrupeds with toes, the growth will be impeded if they are
accustomed to drink undiluted wine.92
CHAP. 24.—IN WHAT MALADIES WINE SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED; HOW IT SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED, AND AT WHAT TIMES.
We shall now proceed to speak of wine in relation to its
medicinal uses. The wines of Campania93
which have the
least body, are the most wholesome beverage for persons of
rank and station; and for the lower classes94
the best kind of
wine is that which is the most pleasant to the person who
drinks it, provided he is in robust health. For persons of all
ranks, however, the most serviceable wine is that the strength
of which has been reduced by the strainer;95
for we must bear
in mind that wine is nothing else but juice of grapes which
has acquired strength by the process of fermentation. A mixture of numerous kinds of wine is universally bad, and the
most wholesome wine of all is that to which no ingredient has
been added when in a state of must; indeed, it is still better
if the vessels even in which it is kept have never been pitched.96
As to wines which have been treated with marble, gypsum,
where is the man, however robust he may be, that
has not stood in dread of them?
Wines which have been prepared with sea-water98
ticularly injurious to the stomach, nerves, and bladder. Those
which have been seasoned with resin are generally looked
upon as beneficial to a cold stomach, but are considered unsuitable where there is a tendency to vomit: the same, too, with
must, boiled grape-juice,99
and raisin wine. New wines sea-
soned with resin are good for no one, being productive of
vertigo and head-ache: hence it is that the name of "crapula"100
has been given equally to new resined wines, and to
the surfeit and head-ache which they produce.
The wines above mentioned101
by name, are good for cough
and catarrh, as also for cœliac affections, dysentery, and
the catamenia. Those wines of this sort which are red102
are more astringent and more heating than the others.
Wines which have been seasoned with pitch only, are not so
injurious; but at the same time we must bear in mind that
pitch is neither more nor less than resin liquefied104
by the action
of fire, These pitched wines are of a heating nature, promote
the digestion, and act as a purgative; they are good, also, for
the chest and the bowels, for pains in the uterus, if there are
no signs of fever, for inveterate fluxes, ulcerations, ruptures,
spasms, suppurated abscesses, debility of the sinews, flatulency,
cough, asthma, and sprains, in which last case they are applied
in uncleansed wool. For all these purposes the wine is preferred which has naturally the flavour of pitch,105
thence known as "picatum:" it is generally agreed, however,
that the produce of the vine called "helvennaca,"106
if taken in
too large a quantity, is trying to the head.
In reference to the treatment of fever, it is well known that
wine should never be given, unless the patient is an aged person, or the symptoms are beginning to abate. In cases of acute
fever, wine must never be given, under any circumstance,
except when there is an evident remission of the attack, and
more particularly if this takes place in the night, for then the
danger is diminished by one half, there being the probability
of the patient sleeping off the effects of the wine. It is equally
forbidden, also, to females just after delivery or a miscarriage,
and to patients suffering from over-indulgence of the sexual
passions; nor should it be given in cases of head-ache, of
maladies in which the attacks are attended with chills at the
extremities, of fever accompanied with cough, of tremulousness107
in the sinews, of pains in the fauces, or where the disease
is found to concentrate itself in the iliac regions. Wine is
strictly forbidden, too, in cases of induration of the thoracic
organs, violent throbbings of the veins, opisthotony, tetanus,
asthma, and hardness of breathing attended with fever.
Wine is far from beneficial for a patient, when the eyes are
fixed and rigid, and when the eyelids are immoveable, or else
relaxed and heavy; in cases, too, where, with an incessant nictation, the eyes are more than usually brilliant, or where the
eyelids refuse to close—the same, too, if that symptom
should occur in sleep—or where the eyes are suffused with
blood, or congealed matter makes its appearance in the corners
of those organs. The same rule should be observed, also, when
the tongue is heavy and swollen, or when there is an impediment from time to time in the speech, when the urine is passed
with difficulty, or when a person has been seized with a sudden
fright, with spasms, or recurrent fits of torpor, or experiences
seminal discharges during sleep.
CHAP. 25.—NINETY-ONE OBSERVATIONS WITH REFERENCE TO WINE.
It is a well-ascertained fact, that in the cardiac108
only resource is wine. According to some authorities, however, wine should only be given when the attacks come on,
while others, again, are of opinion, that it must only be administered between the attacks; it being the object with the
former to arrest the profuse perspirations, while the latter base
their practice on an impression that it may be given with more
safety at a moment when the malady has diminished in intensity; and this I find is the opinion entertained by most people.
In all cases, wine must only be administered just after taking
food, never after sleep, and under no circumstances after any
other kind of drink, or in other words, only when the patient
is thirsty; in no case whatever should it be given, except at the
very last extremity. Wine is better suited to males than to
females, to aged people than to youths, to youths than to children, and to persons who are used to it than to those who are
not in the habit of taking it; winter, too, is a better time for
using it than summer. As to the quantity to be prescribed,
and the proportion of water to be mixed with it, that depends
entirely upon the strength of the wine; it is generally thought,
however, that the best proportions are one cyathus of wine and
two of water. If, however, there is a derangement of the
stomach, and if the food does not pass downward, the wine must
be given in a larger proportion.
CHAP. 26.—ARTIFICIAL WINES.
Among the artificial wines, the preparation of which we
described, [there are some which],110
I think, are no
longer made; in addition to which, it would be a mere loss of
time to enlarge upon their medicinal effects, having expatiated elsewhere upon the properties of the various elements of
which they are composed. And then, besides, the conceits of
the medical men in relation to these wines have really passed
all bounds; they pretend, for instance, that a wine extracted
is good for recruiting the exhausted strength,
after exercises in arms or on horseback; and, not to speak of
other preparations, they attribute a similar effect to wine of
Who is there, too, that would think of looking
upon wormwood wine113
as superior in its effects to wormwood
I shall pass in silence the rest of these preparations, and
among them palm wine,114
which is injurious to the head, and
is beneficial only as a laxative to the bowels, and as a cure for
spitting of blood. We cannot, however, look upon the liquor
which we have spoken of115
under the name of "bion," as being
an artificial wine; for the whole art of making it consists merely
in the employment of grapes before they have arrived at maturity. This preparation is extremely good for a deranged
stomach or an imperfect digestion, as also for pregnancy, fainting fits, paralysis, fits of trembling, vertigo, gripings of the
bowels, and sciatica. It is said, too, that in times of pestilence, and for persons on a long journey, this liquid forms a
beverage of remarkable efficacy.
CHAP. 27.—VINEGAR: TWENTY-EIGHT REMEDIES.
Wine, even when it has lost its vinous properties, still retains some medicinal virtues. Vinegar possesses cooling properties in the very highest degree, and is no less efficacious as
a resolvent; it has the property, too, of effervescing,116
poured upon the ground. We have frequently had occasion,
and shall again have occasion, to mention the various medicinal
compositions in which it forms an ingredient. Taken by itself
it dispels nausea and arrests hiccup, and if smelt at, it will
prevent sneezing: retained in the mouth, it prevents a person
from being inconvenienced by the heat117
of the bath. It is used
as a beverage also, in combination with water,118
as a gargle, it is found by many to be very wholesome to the
stomach, particularly convalescents and persons suffering from
sun-stroke; used as a fomentation, too, this mixture is extremely beneficial to the eyes. Vinegar is used remedially
when a leech has been swallowed;119
and it has the property of
healing leprous sores,120
scorbutic eruptions, running ulcers,
wounds inflicted by dogs, scorpions, and scolopendræ, and the
bite of the shrew-mouse. It is good, too, as a preventive of the
itching sensations produced by the venom of all stinging animals, and as an antidote to the bite or the millepede.
Applied warm in a sponge, in the proportion of three sextarii to two ounces of sulphur or a bunch of hyssop, vinegar
is a remedy for maladies of the fundament. To arrest the
hemorrhage which ensues upon the operation121
and, indeed, all other operations of a similar nature, it is usual
to apply vinegar in a sponge, and at the same time to administer it internally in doses of two cyathi, the very strongest
possible being employed. Vinegar has the effect also of
dissolving coagulated blood; for the cure of lichens, it is used
both internally and externally. Used as an injection, it arrests looseness of the bowels and fluxes of the intestines; it is
similarly employed, too, for procidence of the rectum and uterus.
Vinegar acts as a cure for inveterate coughs, defluxions of
the throat, hardness of breathing, and looseness of the teeth:
but it acts injuriously upon the bladder and the sinews, when
relaxed. Medical men were for a long time in ignorance how
beneficial vinegar is for the sting of the asp; for it was only
recently that a man, while carrying a bladder122
of vinegar, happening to be stung by an asp upon which he trod, found to his
surprise that whenever he put down the bladder he felt the sting,
but that when he took it up again, he seemed as though he
had never been hurt; a circumstance which at once suggested
to him the remedial properties of the vinegar, upon drinking
some of which he experienced a cure. It is with vinegar, too,
and nothing else, that persons rinse the mouth after sucking
the poison from a wound. This liquid, in fact, exercises a
predominance not only upon various articles of food, but upon
many other substances as well. Poured upon rocks in con-
siderable quantities, it has the effect of splitting123
the action of fire alone has been unable to produce any effect
thereon. As a seasoning, too, there is no kind that is more
agreeable than vinegar, or that has a greater tendency to
heighten the flavour of food. When it is employed for this
purpose, its extreme tartness is modified with burnt bread or
wine, or else it is heightened by the addition of pepper, and of
in all cases, too, salt modifies its strength.
While speaking of vinegar, we must not omit to mention a
very remarkable case in connexion with it: in the latter years
of his life, M. Agrippa was dreadfully afflicted with gout, so
much so, in fact, that he was quite unable to endure the tor-
ments to which he was subjected. Upon this, guided by the
ominous advice of one of his medical attendants, though un-
known to Augustus, at the moment of an extremely severe
attack he plunged his legs into hot vinegar, content to pur-
chase exemption from such cruel torments as he suffered, if
even at the price of all use and sensation in those limbs,
* * * * *.125
CHAP. 28. (2.)—SQUILL VINEGAR: SEVENTEEN REMEDIES.
Squill vinegar is the more esteemed, the older it is. In
addition to the properties which we have already126
it is useful in cases where the food turns sour upon the sto-
mach, a mere taste of it being sufficient to act as a corrective.
It is good, too, when persons are seized with vomiting, while
fasting, having the effect of indurating the passages of the
throat and stomach. It is a corrective, also, of bad breath,
strengthens the teeth and gums, and improves the complexion.
Used as a gargle, squill vinegar remedies hardness of hearing, and opens the passages of the ears, while at the same
time it tends to improve the sight. It is very good, too, for
epilepsy, melancholy, vertigo, hysterical suffocations, blows,
falls with violence, and extravasations of blood in consequence,
as also for debility of the sinews, and diseases of the kidneys.
In cases of internal ulceration, however, the use of it must be
CHAP. 29.—OXYMELI: SEVEN REMEDIES.
The following, as we learn from Dieuches, was the manner
in which oxymeli127
was prepared by the ancients. In a cauldron they used to put ten minæ of honey, five heminæ of old
vinegar, a pound and a quarter of sea-salt, and five sextarii
of rain-water; the mixture was then boiled together till it
had simmered some ten times, after which it was poured off,
and put by for keeping. Asclepiades, however, condemned
this preparation, and put an end to the use of it, though before his time it used to be given in fevers even. Still, however, it is generally admitted that it was useful for the cure
of stings inflicted by the serpent known as the "seps,"128
that it acted as an antidote to opium129
and mistletoe. It was
usefully employed also, warm, as a gargle for quinsy and
maladies of the ears, and for affections of the mouth and
throat; for all these purposes, however, at the present day,
oxalme is employed, the best kind of which is made with
salt and fresh vinegar.
CHAP. 30.—SAPA: SEVEN REMEDIES.
has a close affinity with wine, being nothing else
but must boiled down to one third: that which is prepared
from white must is the best. It is used medicinally in cases
of injuries inflicted by cantharides, the buprestis,131
the pinecaterpillars known as pityocampæ,132
salamanders, and all venomous bites and stings. Taken with onions it has the effect
of bringing away the dead fœtus and the after-birth. According to Fabianus, it acts as a poison, if taken by a person fasting, immediately after the bath.133
CHAP. 31.—LEES OF WINE: TWELVE REMEDIES.
Next in the natural order come the lees of these several
liquids. The lees of134
wine are so extremely powerful as to
prove fatal to persons on descending into the vats.135
proper precaution for preventing this, is to let down a light first,
which so long as it refuses to burn, is significant of danger.
Wine-lees, in an unrinsed136
state, form an ingredient in several
medicinal preparations: with an equal proportion of iris,137
liniment is prepared from them for purulent eruptions; and
either moist or dried, they are used for stings inflicted by the
phalangium, and for inflammations138
of tile testes, marmillæ,
or other parts of the bolly. A decoction of wine-lees is pre-
pared, too, with barley-meal and powdered frankincense; after
which it is first parched and then dried. The test of its being
properly boiled, is its imparting, when cold, a burning sensa-
tion to the tongue. When left exposed to the air, wine-lees
very rapidly lose their virtues; which, on the other hand, are
greatly heightened by the action of fire.
Wine-lees arc very useful, too, boiled with figs, for the cure
of lichens and cutaneous eruptions; they are applied also in a
similar manner to leprous sores and running ulcers. Taken
in drink, they act as an antidote to the poison of fungi, and
more particularly if they are undiluted; boiled and then rinsed,
they are used in preparations for the eyes. They are employed
also topically for diseases of the testes and generative organs,
and are taken in wine for strangury. When wine-lees have
lost their strength, they are still useful for cleansing the body
and scouring clothes, in which case they act as a substitute
for gum acacia.139
CHAP. 32.—LEES OF VINEGAR: SEVENTEEN REMEDIES.
The lees of vinegar,140
as a matter of course, considering the
material from which they are derived, are much more acrid
than these of wine, and more caustic in their effects. This
substance prevents the increase of suppuration, and, employed
topically, is good for the stomach, intestines, and regions of
the abdomen. It has the property also of arresting fluxes of
those parts, and the catamenia when in excess; it disperses
inflamed tumours which have not come to a head, and is a cure
for quinsy. Applied with wax, it is curative of erysipelas.
It reduces swellings of the mamillæ when gorged with milk,
and removes malformed nails. Employed with polenta, it is
very efficacious for the cure of stings inflicted by the serpent
and in combination with melanthium,142
heals bites inflicted by crocodiles and dogs.
Vinegar lees, too, by being subjected to the action of fire,
acquire additional strength.143
Mixed in this state with oil of
mastich, and applied to the hair, they turn144
it red in a single
night. Applied with water in linen, as a pessary, they act as a
detergent upon the uterus.
CHAP. 33.—LEES OF SAPA: FOUR REMEDIES.
of sapa are used for the cure of burns, it being
the best plan to employ with them the down that grows on
the reed; a decoction too, of these lees, is good for the cure of
an inveterate cough. They are boiled also in a saucepan with
salt and grease as an ointment for tumours of the jaws and
CHAP. 34. (3.)—THE LEAVES OF THE OLIVE: TWENTY-THREE REMEDIES.
The next rank, after the vine, clearly belongs to the olive.
The leaves of the olive-tree are astringent,146
binding in the highest degree. Chewed and applied to sores,
they are of a healing nature; and applied topically with oil,
they are good for head-ache. A decoction of them with honey
makes a good liniment for such parts of the body as have been
subjected to cauterization, as also for inflammations of the gums,
whitlows, and foul and putrid ulcers: combined with honey,
they arrest discharges of blood from the nervous147
parts of the
body. The juice of olive leaves is efficacious for carbuncular
ulcers and pustules about the eyes, and for procidence of the
pupil; hence it is much employed in the composition of eye-
salves, having the additional property of healing inveterate
runnings of the eyes, and ulcerations of the eyelids.
This juice is extracted by pouring wine and rain-water
upon the leaves, and then pounding them; after which the
pulp is dried and divided into lozenges. Used with wool,
as a pessary, this preparation arrests menstruation when in
excess, and is very useful for the treatment of purulent sores,
condylomata, erysipelas, spreading ulcers, and epinyctis.
CHAP. 35—THE BLOSSOM OF THE OLIVE: FOUR REMEDIES.
of too, of the olive-tree possesses similar pro-
perties. The young branches are burnt when just beginning
to blossom, and of the ashes a substitute for spodium149
made, upon which wine is poured, and it is then burnt afresh.
To suppurations and inflamed tumours these ashes are applied, or
else the leaves, beaten up with honey; for the eyes, they are
used with polenta. The juice which exudes150
from the wood,
when burnt in a green state, heals lichens, scaly eruptions, and
As to the juice151
which exudes naturally from the olivetree, and more particularly that of Æthiopia, we cannot be
sufficiently surprised that authors should have been found to
recommend it as an application for tooth-ache, and to tell us
at the same time that it is a poison, and even that we must
have recourse to the wild olive for it. The bark of the roots
of the olive, as young and tender a tree as possible being
selected, scraped and taken every now and then in honey, is
for patients suffering from spitting of blood and purulent expectorations. The ashes of the tree itself, mixed with
axle-grease, are useful for the cure of tumours, and heal
fistulas by the extraction of the vicious humours which they
CHAP. 36.—WHITE OLIVES: FOUR REMEDIES. BLACK OLIVES:
White olives are wholesome for the upper regions of the
stomach, but not so good for the bowels. Eaten by themselves,
habitually as a diet, quite fresh and before they are preserved, they are remarkably serviceable, having the effect of
and of strengthening the teeth when worn or
loosened by the use of meat.
Black olives, on the other hand, are not so wholesome for
the upper regions of the stomach, but are better for the
bowels; they are not good, however, for the head or for the
eves. Both kinds, pounded and applied topically, are good
for the cure of burns, but the black olive is sometimes chewed
first, and instantly applied to the sore, for the purpose of preventing blisters from forming. Colymbades154
act as a deter-
gent for foul ulcers, but they are bad for persons suffering
CHAP. 37.—AMURCA OF OLIVES: TWENTY-ONE REMEDIES.
As to the amurca of olives, we might appear to have said
enough on the subject already,155
taking Cato as our guide; it
remains, however, to speak of the medicinal uses of this substance. It is extremely serviceable as a strengthener of the
and for the cure of ulcers of the mouth; it has the
effect, also, of strengthening loose teeth in the sockets, and an
application of it is good for erysipelas and spreading ulcers.
For chilblains, the amurca of the black olive is the best, as
also as a fomentation for infants; that of the white olive is
used, with wool, as a pessary for affections of the uterus. Of
both kinds, however, the amurca is much more serviceable
when boiled; this being done in a vessel of Cyprian copper, to
the consistency of honey. Thus prepared, it is used, according to the necessities of the case, with either vinegar, old
wine, or honied wine, for the treatment of maladies of the
mouth, teeth, and ears, and for running ulcers,157
diseases of the
generative organs, and chaps on various parts of the body. It
is employed topically, for the cure of wounds, in a linen
pledget, and for sprains, in wool: as a medicament, it is of great
utility, more particularly when old, as in such case it effects
the cure of fistula.158
It is used as an injection for ulcerations of the fundament,
the generative organs, and the uterus, and is employed topically for incipient gout and diseases of the joints. Boiled
down again, with omphacium,159
to the consistency of honey,
it extracts decayed teeth; and, in combination with a decoction of lupines and the plant chamæleon,160
it is a marvellous
cure for itch in beasts of burden.161
Fomentations of amurca
in a raw state162
are extremely good for gout.
CHAP. 38. (4.)—THE LEAVES OF THE WILD OLIVE: SIXTEEN REMEDIES.
The leaves of the wild olive are possessed of similar properties. The spodium163
that is made by burning the young
branches is of remarkable efficacy for arresting fluxes; it
allays inflammations of the eyes also, acts as a detergent upon
ulcerous sores, makes the flesh grow on wounds from which it
has been removed, and acts gently as a caustic upon fleshy
excrescences, drying them up and making them cicatrize. The
rest of its properties are similar to those of the cultivated olive.
There is, however, one peculiarity in it; the leaves, boiled
with honey, are given in doses of a spoonful for spitting of
The oil, too, of the wild olive is more acrid, and
possesses greater energy than that of the cultivated olive;
hence it is that it is usual to rinse the mouth with it for the
purpose of strengthening the teeth.165
The leaves, too, are applied topically, with wine, to whitlows, carbuncles, and all kinds of gatherings; and, with
honey, to sores which require a detergent. Both a decoction
of the leaves and the natural juices of the wild olive form
ingredients in medicaments for the eyes; and the latter are
found useful as an injection for the ears, in the case of puru-
lent discharges even. From the blossom of the wild olive a
liniment is prepared for condylomata and epinyctis: it is applied also to the abdomen, with barley-meal, for fluxes, and to
the head, with oil, for head-ache. In cases where the scalp
becomes detached from the cranium, the young branches,
boiled and applied with honey, have a healing effect. These
branches, too, when arrived at maturity, taken with the food,
arrest diarrhœa: parched and beaten up with honey, they
act as a detergent upon corroding sores, and bring carbuncles
to a head and dispers them.
CHAP. 39.—OMPHACIUM: THREE REMEDIES.
As to olive oil, we have abundantly treated of its nature
and elements already.166
It now remains to speak of the medicinal properties of the various kinds of oil. The most useful
of all is omphacium,167
and next to that, green oil;168
in addition to which, we may remark that oil ought to be as fresh as
possible, except in cases where old oil is absolutely required.
For medicinal purposes, too, oil should be extremely fluid,
have an agreeable smell, and be free from169
all taste, just the
converse, in fact, of the property which we look for in food.
Omphacium is good for the gums, and if kept from time to
time in the mouth, there is nothing better as a preservative of
the whiteness of the teeth. It checks profuse perspirations.
CHAP. 40.—OIL OF ŒNANTHE: TWENTY-EIGHT REMEDIES.
Oil of œnanthe170
has just the same properties as oil of roses.
Like oil in general, it makes the body supple, and imparts to
it strength and vigour; it is injurious to the stomach, promotes the increase of ulcers, irritates the fauces, and deadens
the effect of all poisons, white-lead and gypsum in particular,
if taken in hydromel or a decoction of dried figs. Taken with
water, it is good as an antidote to the effects of opium, and to
injuries inflicted by cantharides, the buprestis, the salamandra,
and the pine caterpillar.171
Taken pure as an emetic, it is
highly esteemed as an antidote in all the before-mentioned
cases. It is also a refreshing remedy for extreme lassitude,
and for fits of shivering from cold. Taken warm, in doses of
six cyathi, and more particularly when boiled with rue,172
relieves gripings of the stomach and expels intestinal worms,
Taken in doses of one hemina with wine and warm water, or
else with barley water,173
it acts as a purgative upon the bowels.
It is useful, also, in the composition of plasters for wounds,
and it cleanses the complexion of the face. Injected into the
nostrils of oxen, till it produces eructation, it cures attacks of
When old it is of a more warming nature than when new,
and acts more energetically as a sudorific, and as a resolvent
for indurations. It is very efficacious174
in cases of lethargy,
and more particularly in the decline of the disease. Mixed
with an equal proportion of honey which has not been smoked,175
it contributes in some degree to the improvement of the sight.
It is a remedy, also for head-ache; and, in combination with
water, for the burning attacks in fevers. If old oil should
happen not to be at hand, the new oil is boiled to act as a substitute for it.
CHAP. 41.—CASTOR OIL: SIXTEEN REMEDIES.
oil, taken with an equal quantity of warm water, acts
as a purgative177
upon the bowels. It is said, too, that as a
purgative this oil acts more particularly upon the regions of
It is very useful for diseases of the joints,
all kinds of indurations, affections of the uterus and ears, and
for burns: employed with the ashes of the murex,179
itch-scabs and inflammations of the fundament. It improves
the complexion also, and by its fertilizing tendencies promotes
the growth of the hair. The cicus, or seed from which this
oil is made, no animal will touch; and from these grape-like
wicks are made,181
which burn with a peculiar brilliancy;
the light, however, that is produced by the oil is very dim, in
consequence of its extreme thickness. The leaves are applied
topically with vinegar for erysipelas, and fresh-gathered, they
are used by themselves for diseases of the mamillæ and de-
fluxions; a decoction of them in wine, with polenta and saf-
fron, is good for inflammations of various kinds. Boiled by
themselves, and applied to the face for three successive days,
they improve the complexion.
CHAP. 42.—OIL OF ALMONDS: SIXTEEN REMEDIES.
Oil of almonds is of a purgative and emollient nature; it
effaces wrinkles on the skin, improves the complexion, and, in
combination with honey, removes spots on the face. A decoc-
tion of it with oil of roses, honey, and pomegranate rind, is
good for the ears, and exterminates the small worms that breed
there; it has the effect also, of dispelling hardness of hearing,
recurrent tinglings and singing in the ears, and is curative of
head-ache and pains in the eyes. Used with wax, it cures
boils, and scorches by exposure to the sun;182
with wine it heals running ulcers and scaly eruptions, and
with melilote, condylomatous swellings. Applied by itself to
the head, it invites sleep.183
CHAP. 43.—OIL OF LAUREL: NINE REMEDIES.
As to oil of laurel,184
the fresher and greener it is, the more
valuable are its properties. It is of a heating nature, and is
consequently applied, warm, in a pomegranate rind, for paralysis, spasms, sciatica, bruises, head-ache, catarrhs of long
standing, and diseases of the ears.
CHAP. 44.—OIL OF MYRTLE: TWENTY REMEDIES.
Oil of myrtle has similar properties.185
It is of an astringent
and indurative nature; mixed with the scoria of copper, and
wax, it cures diseases of the gums, tooth-ache, dysentery,
ulcerations of the uterus, affections of the bladder, inveterate
or running ulcers, eruptions, and burns. It exercises a healing effect also, upon excoriations, scaly eruptions, chaps, condylomata, and sprains, and it neutralizes offensive odours of the
body. This oil is an antidote186
to cantharides, the buprestis,
and other dangerous poisons of a corrosive nature.
CHAP. 45.—OIL OF CHAMÆMYRSINE OR OXYMYRSINE; OIL OF CYPRESS; OIL OF CITRUS; OIL OF WALNUTS; OIL OF CNIDIUM: OIL OF MASTICH; OIL OF BALANUS; VARIOUS REMEDIES.
Oil of chamæmyrsine, or oxymyrsine,187
possesses similar properties. Oil of cypress188
also, produces the same effects as oil
of myrtle, and the same as to oil of citrus.189
Oil of walnuts,
which we have previously mentioned190
as being called "caryinon," is good for alopecy, and is injected into the ears for the
cure of hardness of hearing. Used as a liniment, it relieves
head-ache; but in other respects it is of an inert nature and
disagreeable taste; indeed, if part only of one of the kernels
should happen to be decayed, the whole making is spoilt.
The oil extracted from the grain of Cnidos191
has similar properties to castor192
oil. Oil of mastich193
is very useful as an
ingredient in the medicinal preparation known as "acopum;"194
indeed it would be fully as efficacious as oil of roses, were it
not found to be somewhat too styptic in its effects. It is employed in cases of too profuse perspiration, and for the cure
of pimples produced thereby. It is extremely efficacious also
or itch in beasts of burden. Oil of balanus195
on the skin, boils, freckles, and maladies of the gums.196
CHAP. 46.—THE CYPRUS, AND THE OIL EXTRACTED FROM IT;
SIXTEEN REMEDIES. GLEUCINUM: ONE REMEDY.
We have already enlarged197
upon the nature of the cyprus,
and the method of preparing oil of cyprus. This oil is natu-
rally warming, and relaxes the sinews. The leaves of the
tree are used as an application to the stomach,198
and the juice
of them is applied in a pessary for irritations of the uterus.
Fresh gathered and chewed, the leaves are applied to running
ulcers of the head, ulcerations of the mouth, gatherings, and
condylomatous sores. A decoction of the leaves is very useful
also for burns and sprains. Beaten up and applied with the
juice of the strutheum,199
they turn the hair red. The blos-
soms, applied to the head with vinegar, relieve head-ache,
and the ashes of them, burnt in a pot of raw earth, are curative of corrosive sores and putrid ulcers, either employed by
themselves, or in combination with honey. The odour200
by these blossoms induces sleep.
The oil called "gleucinum"201
has certain astringent and refreshing properties similar to those of oil of œnanthe.
CHAP. 47.—OIL OF BALSAMUM: FIFTEEN REMEDIES.
The oil of balsamum is by far the most valuable of them all,
as already stated202
by us, when treating of the unguents. It
is extremely efficacious for the venom of all kinds of serpents,
is very beneficial to the eyesight, disperses films upon the eyes,
assuages hardness of breathing, and acts emolliently upon all
kinds of gatherings and indurations. It has the effect, also,
of preventing the blood from coagulating, acts as a detergent
upon ulcers, and is remarkably beneficial for diseases of the
ears, head-ache, trembling,203
spasms, and ruptures. Taken in
milk, it is an antidote to the poison of aconite, and used as a
liniment upon the access of the shivering fits in fevers, it modifies their violence. Still, however, it should be used but sparingly, as it is of a very caustic nature, and, if not employed in
moderation, is apt to augment the malady.
CHAP. 48.—MALOBATHRUM: FIVE REMEDIES.
We have already204
spoken, also, of the nature of malobathrum, and the various kinds of it. It acts as a diuretic, and,
sprinkled in wine upon the eyes, it is used very advantageously
for defluxions of those organs. It is applied also to the forehead, for the purpose of promoting sleep; but it acts with
still greater efficacy, if the nostrils are rubbed with it, or if it
is taken in water. The leaves, placed beneath the tongue,
impart a sweetness to the mouth and breath, and put among
clothes, they produce a similar effect.
CHAP. 49.—OIL OF HENBANE: TWO REMEDIES. OIL OF LUPINES:
ONE REMEDY. OIL OF NARCISSUS: ONE REMEDY. OIL OF
RADISHES: FIVE REMEDIES. OIL OF SESAME: THREE REMEDIES.
OIL OF LILIES: THREE REMEDIES. OIL OF SELGA: ONE REMEDY.
OIL OF IGUVIUM: ONE REMEDY.
Oil of henbane205
is of an emollient nature, but it is bad for
the nerves; taken in drink, it disturbs the brain. Thermal-
or oil of lupines, is emollient, and very similar to oil of
roses in its effects. As to oil of narcissus, we have already207
spoken of it when describing that flower. Oil of radishes208
contracted in a long illness, and removes
roughness of the skin upon the face. Oil of sesame is curative
of pains in the ears, spreading ulcers, and the cancer210
as "cacoethes." Oil of lilies, which we have previously211
mentioned as being called oil of Phaselis and oil of Syria, is
extremely good for the kidneys and for promoting perspiration,
as also as an emollient for the uterus, and as tending to bring
internal tumours to a head. As to oil of Selga, we have already212
spoken of it as being strengthening to the tendons
which is the case, also, with the herbaceous213
oil which the
people of Iguvium214
sell, on the Flaminian Way.
CHAP. 50.—ELÆOMELI: TWO REMEDIES. OIL OF PITCH: TWO
Elæomeli, which, as we have already215
stated, exudes from
the olive-trees of Syria, has a flavour like that of honey, but
not without a certain nauseous taste. It relaxes the bowels,
and carries off the bilious secretions more particularly, if taken
in doses of two cyathi, in a semisextarius of water. After
drinking it, the patient falls into a torpor, and requires to be
aroused every now and then. Persons, when about to drink
for a wager, are in the habit of taking216
a cyathus of it, by way
of prelude. Oil of pitch217
is employed for the cure of cough,
and of itch in cattle.
CHAP. 51.—THE PALM: NINE REMEDIES.
Next in rank after the vine and the olive comes the palm.
Dates fresh-gathered have an inebriating218
effect, and are productive of head-ache; when dried, they are not so injurious.
It would appear, too, that they are not wholesome to the stomach; they have an irritating219
effect on coughs, but are very
nourishing to the body. The ancients used to give a decoction
of them to patients, as a substitute for hydromel, with the view
of recruiting the strength and allaying thirst, the Thebaic date
being held in preference for the purpose. Dates are very use-
ful, too, for persons troubled with spitting of blood, when taken
in the food more particularly. The dates called caryotæ,220
combination with quinces, wax, and saffron, are applied topically for affections of the stomach, bladder, abdomen, and in-
testines: they are good for bruises also. Date-stones,221
in a new earthen vessel, produce an ash which, when rinsed,
is employed as a substitute for spodium,222
and is used as an ingredient in eye-salves, and, with the addition of nard, in washes
for the eye-brows.223
CHAP. 52. (5.)—THE PALM WHICH PRODUCES MYROBALANUM: THREE REMEDIES.
Of the palm which produces myrobalanum,224
esteemed kind is that grown in Egypt;225
the dates of which,
unlike those of the other kinds, are without stones. Used with
astringent wine, they arrest226
diarrhœa and the catamenia, and
promote the cicatrization of wounds.
CHAP. 53.—THE PALM CALLED ELATE: SIXTEEN REMEDIES.
The palm called "elate,"227
or "spathe," furnishes its buds,
leaves, and bark for medicinal purposes. The leaves are applied to the thoracic regions, stomach, and liver, and to spreading
ulcers, but they are adverse to cicatrization. The bark228
tree, while tender, mixed with wax and resin, heals itch-scab
in the course of twenty days: a decoction, also, is made of it
for diseases of the testes. Used as a fumigation, it turns the
hair black, and brings away the fœtus. It is given in drink,
also, for diseases of the kidneys, bladder, and thoracic organs;
but it acts injuriously upon the head and nerves. The decoction of this bark has the effect, also, of arresting fluxes of the
uterus and the bowels: the ashes of it are used with white wine
for griping pains in the stomach, and form a very efficacious
remedy for affections of the uterus.
CHAP. 54. (6.)—REMEDIES DERIVED FROM THE BLOSSOMS, LEAVES,
FRUIT, BRANCHES, BARK, JUICES, WOOD, ROOTS, AND ASHES OF
VARIOUS KINDS OF TREES. SIX OBSERVATIONS UPON APPLES.
TWENTY-TWO OBSERVATIONS UPON QUINCES. ONE OBSERVATION
We next come to the medicinal properties of the various
kinds of apples. The spring fruits of this nature are sour and
to the stomach, disturb the bowels, contract the
bladder, and act injuriously upon the nerves; when cooked,
however, they are of a more harmless nature. Quinces are
more pleasant eating when cooked; still however, eaten
raw, provided they are ripe, they are very useful230
of blood, dysentery, cholera, and cœliac affections; indeed,
they are not of the same efficacy when cooked, as they then
lose the astringent properties which belong to their juice.
They are applied also to the breast in the burning attacks of
fever, and, in spite of what has been stated above, they are
occasionally boiled in rain-water for the various purposes before-mentioned. For pains in the stomach they are applied231
like a cerate, either raw or boiled. The down upon them
Boiled in wine, and applied with wax, they restore the hair,
when it has been lost by alopecy. A conserve of raw quinces
in honey relaxes the bowels; and they add very materially to
the sweetness of the honey, and render it more wholesome to
the stomach. Boiled quinces preserved in honey are beaten
up with a decoction of rose-leaves, and are taken as food by some
for the cure of affections of the stomach. The juice of raw quinces
is very good, also, for the spleen, hardness of breathing, dropsy,
affections of the mamillæ, condylomata, and varicose veins.
The blossoms, either fresh or dried, are useful for inflammations of the eyes, spitting of blood, and irregularities of the
catamenia. By beating them up with sweet wine, a sooth-
ing sirop is prepared, which, is very beneficial for cœliac
affections and diseases of the liver: with a decoction of them
a fomentation is made for procidence of the uterus and intestines.
From quinces an oil is also extracted, which we have spoken
of under the name of "melinum:"233
in order to make it, the
fruit must not have been grown in a damp soil; hence it is
that the quinces which come from Sicily are so highly esteemed
for the purpose; while, on the other hand, the strutheum,234
though of a kindred kind, is not so good.
is traced round the root of this tree, and the root
itself is then pulled up with the left hand, care being taken
by the person who does so to state at the same moment the
object for which it is so pulled up, and for whom. Worn as
an amulet, this root is a cure for scrofula.
CHAP. 55.—THE SWEET APPLES CALLED MELIMELA: SIX OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM. SOUR APPLES: FOUR OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
The apples known as "melimela,"236
and the other sweet
apples, relax the stomach and bowels, but are productive of
heat and thirst,237
though they do not act injuriously upon the
nervous system. The orbiculata238
arrest diarrhœa and vomiting, and act as a diuretic. Wild apples resemble the sour apples
of spring, and act astringently upon the bowels: indeed, for
this purpose they should always be used before they are ripe.
CHAP. 56.—CITRONS: FIVE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
either the pulp of them or the pips, are taken in
wine as an antidote to poisons. A decoction of citrons, or the
juice extracted from them, is used as a gargle to impart sweet-
ness to the breath.240
The pips of this fruit are recommended
for pregnant women to chew when affected with qualmish-
ness. Citrons are good, also, for a weak stomach, but it is not
easy to eat them except with vinegar.241
CHAP. 57.—PUNIC APPLES OR POMEGRANATES: TWENTY-SIX REMEDIES.
It would be a mere loss of time to recapitulate the nine242
different varieties of the pomegranate. The sweet pome-
granates, or, in other words, those known by the name of
are generally considered to be injurious to the
stomach; they are productive, also, of flatulency, and are bad
for the teeth and gums. The kind which closely resembles the
last in flavour, and which we have spoken of as the "vinous"
pomegranate, has very diminutive pips, and is thought to be
somewhat more wholesome than the others. They have an
astringent effect upon the stomach and bowels, provided they
are taken in moderation, and not to satiety; but even these,
or, indeed, any other kind, should never be given in fevers, as
neither the substance nor the juice of the fruit acts otherwise
than injuriously under those circumstances. They should,
also, be equally244
abstained from in cases of vomiting and
In this fruit Nature has revealed to us a grape, and, so to
say, not must, but a wine ready made, both grape and wine
being enclosed in a tougher skin.245
The rind of the sour
pomegranate is employed for many purposes. It is in very
common use with curriers for tanning246
leather, from which
circumstance it has received the name of "malicorium."247
assure us that the rind is diuretic, and that, boiled
with nut-galls in vinegar, it strengthens loose teeth in the
sockets. It is prescribed also for pregnant women when suf-
fering from qualmishness, the flavour of it quickening the
fœtus. A pomegranate is cut, and left to soak in rain-water
for some three days; after which the infusion is given cold to
persons suffering from cœliac affections and spitting of blood.
CHAP. 58.—THE COMPOSITION CALLED STOMATICE: FOURTEEN
With the sour pomegranate a medicament is made, which is
known as "stomatice," and is extremely good for affections of
the mouth, nostrils, and ears, dimness of sight, films upon the
diseases of the generative organs, corrosive sores called
"nomæ," and fleshy excrescences in ulcers; it is useful, also,
as an antidote to the venom of the sea-hare.249
is the method of making it: the rind is taken off the fruit,
and the pips are pounded, after which the juice is boiled
down to one-third, and then mixed with saffron, split alum,250
myrrh, and Attic honey, the proportions being half a pound
Some persons have another way of making it: a number
of sour pomegranates are pounded, after which the juice is
boiled down in a new cauldron to the consistency of honey.
This composition is used for various affections of the generative organs and fundament, and, indeed, all those diseases
which are treated with lycium.251
It is employed, also, for
the cure of purulent discharges from the ears, incipient defluxions of the eyes, and red spots upon the hands. Branches
of the pomegranate have the effect of repelling the attacks of
Pomegranate rind, boiled in wine and applied, is
a cure for chilblains. A pomegranate, boiled down to onethird in three heminæ of wine, is a cure for griping pains in
the bowels and for tape-worm.253
A pomegranate, put in anew
earthen pot tightly covered and burnt in a furnace, and then
pounded and taken in wine, arrests looseness of the bowels,
and dispels griping pains in the stomach.
CHAP. 59.—CYTINUS: EIGHT REMEDIES.
The Greeks have given the name of cytinus254
to the first
germs of this tree when it is just beginning to blossom.
These germs have a singular property, which has been re-
marked by many. If a person, after taking off everything
that is fastened upon the body, his girdle, for instance, shoes,
and even his ring, plucks one of them with two fingers of
the left hand, the thumb, namely, and the fourth finger, and,
after rubbing it gently round his eyes, puts it into his mouth
it without letting it touch his teeth, he will
experience, it is said, no malady of the eyes throughout all
the year. These germs, dried and pounded, check the growth
of fleshy excrescences; they are good also for the gums and
teeth; and if the teeth are loose a decoction of the germs will
The young pomegranates256
themselves are beaten up and
applied as a liniment to spreading or putrid sores; they are
used also for inflammations of the eyes and intestines, and
nearly all the purposes for which pomegranate-rind is used.
They are remedial also for the stings of scorpions.
CHAP. 60.—BALAUSTIUM: TWELVE REMEDIES.
We cannot sufficiently admire the care and diligence displayed by the ancients, who, in their enquiries into every
subject, have left nothing untried. Within the cytinus, before
the pomegranate itself makes its appearance, there are dimi-
nutive flowers, the name given to which, as already257
These blossoms, even, have not escaped
their enquiries; it having been ascertained by them that they
are an excellent remedy for stings inflicted by the scorpion.
Taken in drink, they arrest the catamenia, and are curative
of ulcers of the mouth, tonsillary glands, and uvula, as also of
spitting of blood, derangement of the stomach and bowels,
diseases of the generative organs, and running sores in all
parts of the body.
The ancients also dried these blossoms, to try their efficacy
in that state, and made the discovery that, pulverized, they
cure patients suffering from dysentery when at the very point
of death even, and that they arrest looseness of the bowels.
They have not disdained, too, to make trial of the pips of the
pomegranate: parched and then pounded, these pips are good
for the stomach, sprinkled in the food or drink. To arrest
looseness of the bowels, they are taken in rain-water. A
decoction of the juices of the root, in doses of one victoriatus,259
and the root itself, boiled
down in water to a thick consistency, is employed for the
same purposes as lycium.261
CHAP. 61.—THE WILD POMEGRANATE.
There is a tree, also, which is called the wild pomegranate,262
on account of its strong resemblance to the cultivated pomegranate. The roots of it have a red bark, which taken in
wine in doses of one denarius, promotes sleep. The seed of
it taken in drink is curative of dropsy. Gnats are kept at a
distance by the smoke of burnt pomegranate rind.
CHAP. 62. (7.)—PEARS: TWELVE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
All kinds of pears, as an aliment, are indigestible,263
persons in robust health, even; but to invalids they are forbidden as rigidly as wine. Boiled, however, they are re-
markably agreeable and wholesome, those of Crustumium264
in particular. All kinds of pears, too, boiled with honey, are
wholesome to the stomach. Cataplasms of a resolvent nature
are made with pears, and a decoction of them is used to disperse indurations. They are efficacious, also, in cases of poisoning265
by mushrooms and fungi, as much by reason of their
heaviness, as by the neutralizing effects of their juice.
The wild pear ripens but very slowly. Cut in slices and
hung in the air to dry, it arrests looseness of the bowels,
an effect which is equally produced by a decoction of it taken
in drink; in which case the leaves also are boiled up together
with the fruit. The ashes of pear-tree wood are even more
as an antidote to the poison of fungi.
A load of apples or pears, however small, is singularly
to beasts of burden; the best plan to counteract
this, they say, is to give the animals some to eat, or at least
to shew them the fruit before starting.
CHAP. 63.—FIGS: ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN OBSERVATIONS
The milky juice of the fig-tree possesses kindred properties
hence it is, that, like rennet, it curdles milk.
This juice is collected before the fruit ripens, and dried in the
shade; being used with yolk of egg as a liniment, or else in
drink, with amylum,269
to bring ulcers to a head and break
them, and for the purposes of an emmenagogue. With meal
of fenugreek and vinegar, it is applied topically for gout; it
acts also as a depilatory,270
heals eruptions of the eyelids,
lichens and itch-scabs, and relaxes the bowels. The milk of
the fig-tree is naturally curative of the stings of hornets,
wasps, and similar insects, and is remarkably useful for wounds
inflicted by scorpions. Mixed with axle-grease it removes
warts. With the leaves and figs still green an application is
made for scrofulous271
and other sores of a nature which requires
emollients or resolvents. The leaves, too, used by themselves,
are productive of a similar effect. In addition to this, they
are employed for other purposes, as a friction for lichens, for
example, for alopecy, and other diseases which require caustic
applications. The young shoots of the branches are used as
an application to the skin in cases of bites inflicted by dogs.
With honey they are applied to the ulcers known as honeycomb ulcers;272
mixed with the leaves of wild poppies they extract273
splinters of bones; and the leaves beaten up in vinegar
are a cure for bites inflicted by dogs. The young white shoots
of the black274
fig are applied topically, with wax, to boils, and
bites inflicted by the shrew-mouse: and the ashes of their
leaves are used for the cure of gangrenes and the reduction of
Ripe figs are diuretic and laxative; they promote the perspiration, and bring out pimples; hence it is that they are unwholesome in autumn, the perspirations which they excite
being always attended with shivering. They are injurious
also to the stomach, though for a short time only; and it is
generally thought that they spoil the voice. The figs which
are the last to ripen are more wholesome than the first, but
those which are drugged275
for the purpose of ripening them
are never wholesome. This fruit invigorates the young, and
improves the health of the aged and retards the formation of
wrinkles; it allays thirst, and is of a cooling nature, for
which reason it should never be declined in those fevers of an
astringent tendency which are known as "stegnæ."
Dried figs are injurious to the stomach,276
but are beneficial
in a marvellous degree to the throat and fauces. They are of
a warming nature, are productive of thirst, and relax the bowels,
but are unwholesome in stomachic complaints and fluxes of the
bowels. In all cases they are beneficial for the bladder, hard-
ness of breathing, and asthma, as also for diseases of the liver,
kidneys, and spleen. They are nourishing and invigorating,
for which reason, the athletes in former times used them as
food: Pythagoras, the gymnast, being the first who intro-
duced among them a flesh diet.277
Figs are extremely useful
for patients recovering from a long illness, and for persons
suffering from epilepsy or dropsy. They are applied topically
also in all cases where sores require to be brought to a head,
or dispersed; and they are still more efficacious when mixed
with lime or nitre. Boiled with hyssop they act as a purgative on the pectoral organs, carry off the phlegm, and cure
inveterate coughs: boiled with wine they heal maladies of
the fundament, and tumours of the jaws. A decoction of them
is applied also to boils, inflamed tumours, and imposthumes
of the parotid glands. This decoction, too, is found very
useful as a fomentation for disorders incident to females.
Boiled with fenugreek,278
figs are very useful in cases of
pleurisy and peripneumony. A decoction of them with
rue is good for griping pains in the bowels; in combination
they are used for ulcers of the legs and imposthumes of the parotid glands; with pomegranates, for hang-
and with wax, for burns and chilblains. Boiled in
wine, with wormwood and barley-meal, they are employed
for dropsy. Eaten with nitre, they relax the bowels; and
beaten up with salt they are applied to stings inflicted by
scorpions. Boiled in wine, and applied topically, they bring
carbuncles to a head. In cases of carcinoma, unattended with
ulceration, it is a singularly good plan to apply to the part the
pulpiest fig that can be procured; the same, too, with phagedænic sores.
As to the ashes of the fig, those of no tree known are of a
more acrid character,281
being of a detergent and astringent
nature, and tending to make new flesh and to promote the
cicatrization of wounds. They are also taken in drink, for
the purpose of dissolving coagulated blood, as also for bruises,
falls with violence, ruptures, convulsions * * * * in
one cyathus respectively of water and oil. They are administered also for tetanus and spasms, and are used either in a
potion, or as an injection for cœliac affections and dysentery.
Employed as a liniment with oil, they have a warming effect;
and kneaded into a paste with wax and rose-oil, they heal
burns, leaving the slightest scar only. Applied in oil, as a
liniment, they are a cure for weakness of sight, and are used
as a dentifrice in diseases of the teeth.
It is said, too, that if a patient draws downward a branch
of a fig-tree, and turns up his head and bites off some knot
or other of it, without being seen by any one, and then wears
it in a leather bag suspended by a string from his neck, it is a
certain cure for scrofulous sores and imposthumes of the parotid
glands. The bark of this tree, beaten up with oil, cures
ulcerations of the abdomen. Green figs, applied raw, with
the addition of nitre and meal, remove warts and wens.282
The ashes of the suckers which spring from the roots are used
as a substitute for spodium.283
Burnt over a second time and
incorporated with white lead, they are divided into cakes
which are used for the cure of ulcerations of the eyes and
CHAP. 64.—THE WILD FIG: FORTY-TWO OBSERVATIONS UPON IT.
The wild fig, again, is even more efficacious in its properties
than the cultivated one. It has not so large a proportion of
milky juice as the other: a slip of it put into milk has the
effect of curdling it and turning it into cheese. This juice,
collected and indurated by being subjected to pressure, im-
parts a fine flavour284
to meat, being steeped in vinegar for the
purpose, and then rubbed upon it. It is used also as an ingredient in blisters, and taken internally it relaxes the bowels.
Used with amylum,285
it opens the passages of the uterus, and
combined with the yolk of an egg it acts as an emmenagogue.
Mixed with meal of fenugreek it is applied topically for
gout, and is used for the dispersion of leprous sores, itch-scabs,
lichens, and freckles: it is an antidote also to the stings
of venomous animals, and to the bites of dogs. Applied to
the teeth in wool, or introduced into the cavity of a carious
tooth, this juice cures tooth-ache.286
The young shoots and
the leaves, mixed with meal of fitches, act as an antidote to
the poison of marine animals, wine being added to the prepa-
ration. In boiling beef a great saving of fire-wood may be
effected, by putting some of these shoots in the pot.287
The figs in a green state, applied topically, soften and disperse
scrofulous sores and all kinds of gatherings, and the leaves, to
a certain extent, have a similar effect. The softer leaves are
applied with vinegar for the cure of running ulcers, epinyctis,
and scaly eruptions. With the leaves, mixed with honey, honeycomb ulcers288
are treated, and wounds inflicted by dogs; the
leaves are applied, too, fresh, with wine, to phagledænic sores.
In combination with poppy-leaves, they extract splintered
bones. Wild figs, in a green state, employed as a fumigation,
dispel flatulency; and an infusion of them, used as a potion,
combats the deleterious effects of bullocks' blood, white-lead,
and coagulated milk, taken internally. Boiled in water, and
employed as a cataplasm, they cure imposthumes of the parotid
glands. The shoots, or the green figs, gathered as young as
possible, are taken in wine for stings inflicted by scorpions.
The milky juice is also poured into the wound, and the leaves
are applied to it: the bite of the shrew-mouse is treated in a
similar manner. The ashes of the young branches are curative
of relaxations of the uvula; and the ashes of the tree itself,
mixed with honey, have the effect of healing chaps. A de-
coction of the root, boiled in wine, is good for tooth-ache.
The winter wild fig, boiled in vinegar and pounded, is a cure
for impetigo: the branches are first barked for the purpose
and then scraped; these scrapings, which are as fine as sawdust, being applied topically to the parts affected.
There is also one medicinal property of a marvellous nature
attributed to the wild fig: if a youth who has not arrived at
puberty breaks off a branch, and then with his teeth tears off
the bark swelling with the sap, the pith of this branch, we are
assured, attached as an amulet to the person before sunrise,
will prevent the formation of scrofulous sores. A branch of
this tree, attached to the neck of a bull, however furious, ex-
ercises such a marvellous effect upon him as to restrain his
and render him quite immoveable.
CHAP. 65.—THE HERB ERINEON: THREE REMEDIES.
It will be as well to speak here, in consequence of the similarity of name,290
of the herb which is known to the Greeks as
the "erineon." This plant291
is a palm in height, and has
mostly five small stems: in appearance it resembles ocimum,
and bears a white flower, with a small, black, seed. Beaten up
with Attic honey, it is a cure for defluxions of the eyes. In
whatever way it is gathered, it yields a considerable abundance of sweet, milky, juice. With the addition of a little
nitre, this plant is extremely useful for pains in the ears. The
leaves of it have the property of neutralizing poisons.
CHAP. 66.—PLUMS: FOUR OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
of the plum, boiled in wine, are useful for the
tonsillary glands, the gums, and the uvula, the mouth being
rinsed with the decoction every now and then. As for the
fruit itself, it is relaxing293
to the bowels; but it is not very
wholesome to the stomach, though its bad effects are little
more than momentary.
CHAP. 67.—PEACHES: TWO REMEDIES.
Peaches, again, are more wholesome than plums; and the
same is the case with the juice of the fruit, extracted, and
taken in either wine or vinegar. Indeed, what known fruit
is there that is more wholesome as an aliment than this?
There is none, in fact, that has a less powerful smell,294
greater abundance of juice, though it has a tendency to create
The leaves of it, beaten up and applied topically,
arrest hæmorrhage: the kernels, mixed with oil and vinegar,
are used as a liniment for head-ache.296
CHAP. 68.—WILD PLUMS: TWO REMEDIES.
The fruit of the wild plum, or the bark of the root,297
down to one-third in one hemina of astringent wine, arrests
looseness of the bowels and griping pains in the stomach:
the proper dose of the decoction is one cyathus.
CHAP. 69.—THE LICHEN ON PLUM-TREES: TWO REMEDIES.
Upon the bark of the wild and cultivated plums we find an
growing, known to the Greeks by the name of
"lichen:" it is remarkably good for chaps and condylomatous
CHAP. 70.—MULBERRIES: THIRTY-NINE REMEDIES.
In Egypt and in the Isle of Cyprus there are, as already
mulberry-trees of a peculiar kind, being of a nature
that is truly marvellous; for, if the outer bark is peeled off,
they emit a great abundance of juice; but if a deeper incision is made, they are found to be quite dry.300
This juice is
an antidote to the venom of serpents, is good for dysentery,
disperses inflamed tumours and all kinds of gatherings, heals
wounds, and allays both head-ache and ear-ache: it is taken
in drink for affections of the spleen, and is used as a liniment
for the same purpose, as also for fits of shivering. This juice,
however, very soon breeds worms.
Among ourselves, too, the juice which exudes from the
mulberry-tree is employed for an equal number of purposes:
taken in wine, it neutralizes the noxious effects of aconite301
the venom of spiders, relaxes the bowels, and expels tapeworm and other animals which breed in the intestines;302
bark of the tree, pounded, has also a similar effect. The
leaves, boiled in rain-water with the bark of the black fig and
the vine, are used for dyeing the hair.
The juice of the fruit has a laxative effect immediately upon
the bowels, though the fruit itself, for the moment, acts beneficially upon the stomach, being of a refreshing nature, but productive of thirst. If no other food is taken upon them, mulberries303
are of a swelling tendency. The juice of unripe mulberries acts astringently upon the bowels. The marvels which
are presented by this tree, and of which we have made some
when describing it, would almost appear to belong
to a creature gifted with animation.
CHAP. 71.—THE MEDICAMENT CALLED STOMATICE, ARTERIACE, OR
PANCHRESTOS. FOUR REMEDIES.
From the fruit of the mulberry a medicament is prepared,
"stomatice," or "arteriace:" the following is the method employed. Three sextarii of the juice
are reduced, at a slow heat, to the consistency of honey; two
denarii of dried omphacium306
or one of myrrh, with one denarius of saffron, are then added, the whole being beaten up together and mixed with the decoction. There is no medica-
ment known that is more soothing than this, for affections of
the mouth, the trachea, the uvula, and the stomach. There
is also another mode of preparing it: two sextarii of mulberry
juice and one of Attic honey are boiled down in the manner
There are some other marvellous properties, also, which are
mentioned in reference to this tree. When the tree is in bud,
and before the appearance of the leaves, the germs of the fruit
must be gathered with the left hand—the Greeks give them
the name of "ricini."307
These germs, worn as an
amulet before they have touched
the ground, have the effect of arresting
hæmrrhage, whether proceeding from a wound,
mouth, from the nostrils, or from piles; for which purposes
they are, accordingly, put away and kept. Similar virtues
are attributed to a branch just beginning to bear, broken off at
full moon, provided also it has not touched the ground: this
branch, it is said, attached to the arm, is peculiarly efficacious
for the suppression of the catamenia when in excess. The
same effect is produced, it is said, when the woman herself
pulls it off, whatever time it may happen to be, care being
taken not to let it touch the ground, and to wear it attached to
the body. The leaves of the mulberry-tree beaten up fresh,
or a decoction of them dried, are applied topically for stings
inflicted by serpents: an infusion of them, taken in drink, is
equally efficacious for that purpose. The juice extracted from
the bark of the root, taken in wine or oxycrate, counteracts
the venom of the scorpion.
We must also give some account of the method of preparing
this medicament employed by the ancients: extracting the
juice from the fruit, both ripe and unripe, they mixed it to-
gether, and then boiled it down in a copper vessel to the con-
sistency of honey. Some persons were in the habit of adding
myrrh and cypress, and then left it to harden in the sun, mixing
it with a spatula three times a-day. Such was their receipt for
the stomatice, which was also employed by them to promote
the cicatrization of wounds. There was another method, also,
of dealing with the juice of this fruit: extracting the juice,
they used the dried fruit with various articles of food,308
tending to heighten the flavour; and they were in the habit
of employing it medicinally309
for corroding ulcers, pituitous
expectorations, and all cases in which astringents were required for the viscera. They used it also for the purpose of
the teeth. A third mode of employing the juices of
this tree is to boil down the leaves and root, the decoction
being used, with oil,311
as a liniment for the cure of burns.
The leaves are also applied by themselves for the same
An incision made in the root at harvest-time, supplies a
juice that is extremely useful for tooth-ache, gatherings, and
suppurations; it acts, also, as a purgative upon the bowels.
Mulberry-leaves, macerated in urine, remove the hair from
CHAP. 72.—CHERRIES: FIVE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
Cherries are relaxing to the bowels and unwholesome312
the stomach; in a dried state, however, they are astringent
I find it stated by some authors, that if
cherries are taken early in the morning covered with dew,
the kernels being eaten with them, the bowels will be so
strongly acted upon as to effect a cure for gout in the feet.
CHAP. 73.—MEDLARS: TWO REMEDIES. SORBS: TWO REMEDIES.
Medlars, the setania314
excepted, which has pretty nearly
the same properties as the apple, act astringently upon the
stomach and arrest looseness of the bowels. The same is the
case, too, with dried sorbs;315
but when eaten fresh, they are
beneficial to the stomach, and are good for fluxes of the bowels.
CHAP. 74. (8.)—PINE-NUTS: THIRTEEN REMEDIES.
with the resin in them, are slightly bruised, and
then boiled down in water to one-half; the proportion of water
being one sextarius to each nut. This decoction, taken in
doses of two cyathi, is used for the cure of spitting of blood.
The bark of the tree, boiled in wine, is given for griping pains
in the bowels. The kernels of the pine-nut allay thirst, and
assuage acridities and gnawing pains in the stomach; they
tend also to neutralize vicious humours in that region, recruit
the strength, and are salutary to the kidneys and the bladder.
They would seem, however, to exercise an irritating effect317
upon the fauces, and to increase cough. Taken in water, wine,
raisin wine, or a decoction of dates, they carry off bile. For
gnawing pains in the stomach of extreme violence, they are
mixed with cucumber-seed and juice of purslain; they are employed, too, in a similar manner for ulcerations of the bladder
having a diuretic effect.
CHAP. 75.—ALMONDS: TWENTY-NINE REMEDIES.
A decoction of the root of the bitter almond319
complexion, and gives the face a brighter colour.320
monds are provocative of sleep,321
and sharpen the appetite;
they act, also, as a diuretic and as an emmenagogue. They
are used topically for head-ache, when there is fever more particularly. Should the head-ache proceed from inebriation,322
they are applied with vinegar, rose-oil, and one sextarius of
water. Used in combination with amylum323
and mint, they
arrest hæmorrhage. They are useful, also, for lethargy and
epilepsy, and the head is anointed with them for the cure of
epinyctis. In combination with wine, they heal putrid ulcers
of an inveterate nature, and, with honey, bites inflicted by
They are employed, also, for the cure of scaly erup-
tions of the face, the parts affected being fomented first.
Taken in water, or, as is often done, in an electuary, with
resin of terebinth,325
they remove pains in the liver and kidneys;
used with raisin wine, they are good for calculus and strangury.
Bruised in hydromel, they are useful for cleansing the skin;
and taken in an electuary with the addition of a small proportion of elelisphacus,326
they are good for diseases of the liver,
cough, and colic, a piece about the size of a hazel-nut being
taken in honey. It is said that if five bitter almonds are taken
by a person before sitting down to drink, he will be proof
and that foxes, if they eat bitter almonds,328
will be sure to die immediately, if they cannot find
water to lap.
As to sweet almonds, their remedial properties are not329
extensive; still, however, they are of a purgative nature, and
are diuretic. Eaten fresh, they are difficult330
CHAP. 76.—GREEK NUTS: ONE REMEDY.
taken in vinegar with wormwood seed, are said
to be a cure for jaundice. Used alone, they are employed
topically for the treatment of diseases of the fundament, and
condylomata in particular, as also cough and spitting of blood.
CHAP. 77.—WALNUTS: TWENTY-FOUR REMEDIES. THE MITHRIDATIC ANTIDOTE.
have received their name in Greek from being
to the head; for, in fact, the emanations334
tree itself and the leaves penetrate to the brain. The kernels,
also, have a similar effect when eaten, though not in so marked
a degree. When fresh gathered, they are most agreeable
eating; for when dry, they are more oleaginous, unwholesome
to the stomach, difficult of digestion, productive of head-ache,
and bad for cough,335
or for a person when about to take an emetic
fasting: they are good in cases of tenesmus only, as they carry
off the pituitous humours of the body. Eaten beforehand, they
deaden the effects of poison, and, employed with rue and oil,
they are a cure for quinsy. They act as a corrective, also, to
onions, and modify their flavour. They are applied to inflammations of the ears, with a little honey, and with rue they are
used for affections of the mamille, and for sprains. With
onions, salt, and honey, they are applied to bites inflicted by
dogs or human beings. Walnut-shells are used for cauterizing336
carious teeth; and with these shells, burnt and then
beaten up in oil or wine, the heads of infants are anointed,
they having a tendency to make the hair grow; hence they
are used in a similar manner for alopecy also. These nuts,
eaten in considerable numbers, act as an expellent upon tapeworm.337
Walnuts, when very old, are338
curative of gangrenous
sores and carbuncles, of bruises also. Green walnut-shells339
are employed for the cure of lichens and dysentery, and the
leaves are beaten up with vinegar as an application for earache.340
After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Cneius
Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote
in his own hand-writing; it was to the following effect:341
Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue;
pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt;
if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against
all poisons for that day.342
Walnut kernels, chewed by a man
fasting, and applied to the wound, effect an instantaneous cure,
it is said, of bites inflicted by a mad dog.
CHAP. 78.—HAZEL-NUTS: THREE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
PISTACHIO-NUTS: EIGHT OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM. CHESNUTS:
FIVE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM.
are productive of head-ache, and flatulency of
the stomach; they contribute, however, to the increase of flesh
more than would be imagined. Parched, they are remedial for
catarrhs, and beaten up and taken with hydromel,344
good for an inveterate cough. Some persons add grains of
and others take them in raisin wine.
have the same properties, and are productive of the same effects, as pine-nuts; in addition to which,
they are used as an antidote to the venom347
of serpents, eaten
or taken in drink.
have a powerful effect in arresting fluxes of the
stomach and intestines, are relaxing to the bowels, are beneficial in cases of spitting of blood, and have a tendency to make
CHAP. 79.—CAROBS: FIVE OBSERVATIONS UPON THEM. THE
CORNEL; ONE REMEDY. THE FRUIT OF THE ARBUTUS.
are unwholesome to the stomach, and relaxing to the bowels;351
in a dried state, however, they are astringent, and are much more beneficial to the stomach; they are
diuretic also. For pains in the stomach, persons boil three
with one sextarius of water, down to one-half,
and drink the decoction.
The juices which exude from the branches of the cornel353
are received on a plate of red-hot iron354
without it touching the
wood; the rust of which is applied for the cure of incipient
lichens. The arbutus or unedo355
bears a fruit that is difficult
of digestion, and injurious to the stomach.
CHAP. 80.—THE LAUREL; SIXTY-NINE OBSERVATIONS UPON IT.
All parts of the laurel, both the leaves, bark, and berries,
are of a warming356
nature; and a decoction of them, the
leaves in particular, is very useful for affections of the bladder and uterus.357
The leaves, applied topically, neutralize the
poison of wasps, bees, and hornets, as also that of serpents,
and viper, in particular. Boiled in oil,
they promote the catamenia; and the more tender of the leaves
beaten up with polenta, are used for inflammations of the eyes.
with rue for inflammations of the testes, and with rose-oil, or
oil of iris,360
for head-ache. Three leaves, chewed and swallowed for three days in succession, are a cure for cough, and
beaten up with honey, for asthma. The bark of the root is
dangerous to pregnant women; the root itself disperses calculi, and taken in doses of three oboli in aromatic wine, it
acts beneficially on the liver. The leaves, taken in drink, act
as an emetic;361
and the berries, pounded and applied as a pessary, or else taken in drink, promote menstruation. Two of
the berries with the skin removed, taken in wine, are a cure
for inveterate cough and hardness of breathing; if, however,
this is accompanied with fever, they are given in water, or
else in an electuary with raisin wine, or boiled in hydromel.
Employed in a similar manner, they are good for phthisis, and
for all defluxions of the chest, as they have the effect of
detaching the phlegm and bringing it off.
For stings inflicted by scorpions, four laurel-berries are
taken in wine. Applied with oil, they are a cure for epinyctis, freckles, running sores, ulcers of the mouth, and scaly
eruptions. The juice of the berries is curative of porrigo
and phthiriasis; and for pains in the ears, or hardness of hearing, it is injected into those organs with old wine and oil of
roses. All venomous creatures fly at the approach of persons
who have been anointed with this juice: taken in drink, the
juice of the small-leaved362
laurel in particular, it is good for
stings inflicted by them. The berries,363
used with wine, neu-
tralize the venom of serpents, scorpions, and spiders; they
are applied also, topically, with oil and vinegar, in diseases of
the spleen and liver, and with honey to gangrenous sores. In
cases of lassitude and shivering fits, it is a very good plan to
rub the body with juice of laurel-berries mixed with nitre.
Some persons are of opinion that delivery is accelerated by
taking laurel-root to the amount of one acetabulum, in water,
and that, used fresh, it is better than dried. It is recommended
by some authorities, to take ten of the berries in drink, for
the sting of the scorpion; and in cases of relaxation of the
uvula, to boil a quarter of a pound of the berries, or leaves,
in three sextarii of water, down to one third, the decoction
being used warm, as a gargle. For head-ache, also, it is recommended to bruise an uneven number of the berries in oil,
the mixture being warmed for use.
The leaves of the Delphic laurel364
bruised and applied to the
nostrils from time to time, are a preservative365
gion in pestilence, and more particularly if they are burnt.
The oil of the366
Delphic laurel is employed in the preparation
of cerates and the medicinal composition known as "acopum,"367
and is used for fits of shivering occasioned by cold, for the
relaxation of the sinews, and for the cure of pains in the side
and the cold attacks in fevers.368
Warmed in the rind of a
pomegranate, it is applied topically for the cure of ear-ache. A
decoction of the leaves boiled down in water to one third, used
as a gargle, braces the uvula, and taken in drink allays pains
in the bowels and intestines. The more tender leaves, bruised
in wine and applied at night, are a cure for pimples and
The other varieties of the laurel possess properties which
are nearly analogous. The root of the laurel of Alexandria,369
or of Mount Ida,370
accelerates delivery, being administered in
doses of three denarii to three cyathi of sweet wine; it acts
also as an emmenagogue, and brings away the after-birth.
Taken in drink in a similar manner, the wild laurel, known as
"daphnoides" and by the other names which we have mentioned,371
is productive of beneficial effects. The leaves of it,
either fresh or dried, taken in doses of three drachmœ, in
hydromel with salt, act as a purgative372
upon the bowels.
The wood, chewed, brings off phlegm, and the leaves act as
an "emetic;" they are unwholesome, however, to the stomach.
The berries, too, are sometimes taken, fifteen in number, as a
CHAP. 81.—MYRTLE; SIXTY OBSERVATIONS UPON IT.
cultivated myrtle is employed for fewer medicinal purposes than the black one.374
of it are
good for spitting of blood, and taken in wine, they neutralize
the poison of fungi. They impart an agreeable smell376
breath, even when eaten the day before; thus, for instance, in
Menander we find the Synaristosæ377
eating them. They are
taken also for dysentery,378
in doses of one denarius, in wine:
and they are employed lukewarm, in wine, for the cure of
obstinate ulcers on the extremities. Mixed with polenta, they
are employed topically in ophthalmia, and for the cardiac
they are applied to the left breast. For stings inflicted by scorpions, diseases of the bladder, head-ache, and
fistulas of the eye before suppuration, they are similarly employed; and for tumours and pituitous eruptions, the kernels
are first removed and the berries are then pounded in old
wine. The juice of the berries380
acts astringently upon the
bowels, and is diuretic: mixed with cerate it is applied topically to blisters, pituitous eruptions, and wounds inflicted by
the phalangium; it imparts a black tint,381
also, to the hair.
The oil of this myrtle is of a more soothing nature than the
juice, and the wine382
which is extracted from it, and which
possesses the property of never inebriating, is even more so.
This wine, used when old, acts astringently upon the stomach
and bowels, cures griping pains in those regions, and dispels
The dried leaves, powdered and sprinkled upon the body,
check profuse perspirations, in fever even; they are good, too,
used as a fomentation, for cœliac affections, procidence of the
uterus, diseases of the fundament, running ulcers, erysipelas,
loss of the hair, scaly and other eruptions, and burns. This
powder is used as an ingredient, also, in the plasters known as
and for the same reason the oil of the leaves is
used for a similar purpose, being extremely efficacious as an
application to the humid parts of the body, the mouth and the
uterus, for example.
The leaves themselves, beaten up with wine, neutralize384
bad effects of fungi; and they are employed, in combination
with wax, for diseases of the joints, and gatherings. A decoction of them, in wine, is taken for dysentery and dropsy.
Dried and reduced to powder, they are sprinkled upon ulcers
and hæmorrhages. They are useful, also, for the removal of
freckles, and for the cure of hang-nails,385
mata, affections of the testes, and sordid ulcers. In combination
with cerate, they are used for burns.
For purulent discharges from the ears, the ashes of the
leaves are employed, as well as the juice and the decoction:
the ashes are also used in the composition of antidotes. For a
similar purpose the blossoms are stripped from off the young
branches, which are burnt in a furnace, and then pounded in
wine. The ashes of the leaves, too, are used for the cure of
burns. To prevent ulcerations from causing swellings in the
inguinal glands, it will suffice for the patient to carry386
of myrtle about him which has never touched the ground or
any implement of iron.
CHAP. 82.—MYRTIDANUM: THIRTEEN REMEDIES.
We have already described the manner in which myrtidanum387
is made. Applied in a pessary, or as a fomentation or liniment,
it is good for affections of the uterus, being much more efficacious than the bark of the tree, or the leaves and seed. There
is a juice also extracted from the more tender leaves, which
are pounded in a mortar for the purpose, astringent wine, or,
according to one method, rain-water, being poured upon them
a little at a time. This extract is used for the cure of ulcers of
the mouth, the fundament, the uterus, and the abdomen.
It is employed, also, for dyeing the hair black, the suppression
of exudations at the arm-pits,388
the removal of freckles, and
other purposes in which astringents are required.
CHAP. 83.—THE WILD MYRTLE, OTHERWISE CALLED OXYMYRSINE,
OR CHAMÆMYRSINE, AND THE RUSCUS: SIX REMEDIES.
The wild myrtle, oxymyrsine,389
or chamæmyrsine, differs
from the cultivated myrtle in the redness of its berries and its
diminutive height. The root of it is held in high esteem; a
decoction of it, in wine, is taken for pains in the kidneys and
strangury, more particularly when the urine is thick and
fetid. Pounded in wine, it is employed for the cure of jaundice, and as a purgative for the uterus. The same method is
adopted, also, with the young shoots, which are sometimes
roasted in hot ashes and eaten as a substitute for asparagus.390
The berries, taken with wine, or oil and vinegar, break
of the bladder: beaten up with rose-oil and vinegar,
they allay head-ache. Taken in drink, they are curative of
jaundice. Castor calls the wild myrtle with prickly leaves,
or oxymyrsine, from which brooms are made, by the name of
—the medicinal properties of it are just the same.
Thus much, then, with reference to the medicinal pro-
perties of the cultivated trees; let us now pass on to the wild
Summary.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, nine
hundred and eighteen.
Roman Authors Quoted.—C. Valgius,393
who wrote in Greek, Julius Bassus396
in Greek, Antonius Castor,397
Foreign Authors Quoted.—Theophrastus,401
who wrote the
Medical Authors Quoted.— Mnesitheus,412
the physician, Timaristus,415
of Citium, Apollodorus425
of Tarentum, Plistonicus,426
of Thebes, Philinus,448