CHAP. 120.—FENUGREEK OR SILICIA: THIRTY-ONE REMEDIES.
Nor is fenugreek held in less esteem. By some it is known
as "telis," by others as "carphos," and by others again as
the produce of it bearing some
resemblance to horns. Among us it is known as "silicia."
The mode of sowing it we have already3
described on the
appropriate occasion. Its properties are desiccative,4
and resolvent. A decoction of it is useful for many female
maladies, indurations for instance, tumours, and contractions of
the uterus; in all which cases it is employed as a fomentation or
used for a sitting-bath: it is serviceable also as an injection.
It removes cutaneous eruptions on the face; and a decoction of
it, applied topically with nitre or vinegar, cures diseases of
the spleen or liver. In cases of difficult labour, Diocles recommends the seed pounded, in doses of one acetabulum,
mixed with boiled5
must. After taking one third of the mixture, the patient must use a warm bath, and then, while in a
perspiration, she must take another third, and, immediately
after leaving the bath, the remainder—this, he says, will prove
a most effectual means of obtaining relief.
The same authority recommends fenugreek boiled, with
barley or linseed, in hydromel, as a pessary for violent pains
in the uterus: he prescribes it also as an external application
for the lower regions of the abdomen. He speaks also of
treating leprous sores and freckles with a mixture composed
of equal proportions of sulphur and meal of fenugreek, recommending it to be applied repeatedly in the course of the day,
due care being taken not to rub the part affected.
For the cure of leprosy, Theodorus prescribes a mixture of
fenugreek, and one fourth part of cleaned nasturtium, the whole
to be steeped in the strongest vinegar. Damion used to give
a potion by way of emmenagogue, consisting of half an acetabulum of fenugreek seed in nine cyathi of boiled must6
water. There is no doubt too, that a decoction of it is remarkably useful for diseases of the uterus and for ulcerations
of the intestines, and that the seed is beneficial for affections
of the joints and chest. Boiled with mallows and then taken
in honied wine, fenugreek is extolled in the highest terms, as
serviceable for affections of the uterus and intestines. Indeed,
the very steam that arises from the decoction may be productive of considerable benefit. A decoction too of fenugreek seed
is a corrective of the rank odours of the armpits. Meal of
fenugreek, with wine and nitre, speedily removes ring-worm
and dandriff of the head; and a decoction of it in hydromel,
with the addition of axle-grease, is used for the cure of diseases
of the generative organs, inflamed tumours, imposthumes of
the parotid glands, gout in the Feet and hands, maladies of
the joints, and denudations of the bones. Kneaded with
vinegar, it effects the cure of sprains, and, boiled in oxymel
only, it is used as a liniment for affections of the spleen.
Kneaded with wine, it acts as a detergent upon carcinomatous
sores; after which, applied with honey, it effects a perfect cure.
A pottage too is made of this meal, which is taken for ulcerations of the chest and chronic coughs; it is kept boiling a considerable time, in order to remove the bitterness,7
honey is added.
We shall now proceed to speak of the plants which have
gained a higher degree of reputation.
SUMMARY.—Remedies, narratives, and observations, eleven
hundred and seventy-six.
ROMAN ATUTHORS QUOTED.—C. Valgius,8
who wrote in Greek, Julius Bassus11
wrote in Greek, Antonius Castor,12
FOREIGN AUTHORS QUOTED.—Theophrastus,14
who wrote the "Biochresta," Nicander,21
MEDICAL AUTHORS QUOTED.—Mnesitheus,26
the physician, Timaristus,29
of Citium, Apollodorus39
of Tarentum, Praxagoras,40
of Thebes, Philinus,61