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It would be too lengthy a task to enumerate all the praises of the cabbage, more particularly as the physician Chrysippus has devoted a whole volume to the subject, in which its virtues are described in reference to each individual part of the human body. Dieuches has done the same, and Pythagoras too, in particular. Cato, too, has not been more sparing in its praises than the others; and it will be only right to examine the opinions which he expresses in relation to it, if for no other purpose than to learn what medicines the Roman people made use of for six hundred years.

The most ancient Greek writers have distinguished three1 varieties of the cabbage; the curly2 cabbage, to which they have given the name of "selinoïdes,"3 from the resemblance of its leaf to that of parsley, beneficial to the stomach, and moderately relaxing to the bowels; the "helia," with broad leaves running out from the stalk—a circumstance, owing to which some persons have given it the name of "caulodes"— of no use whatever in a medicinal point of view; and a third, the name of which is properly "crambe," with thinner leaves, of simple form, and closely packed, more bitter than the others, but extremely efficacious in medicine.4

Cato5 esteems the curly cabbage the most highly of all, and next to it, the smooth cabbage with large leaves and a thick stalk. He says that it is a good thing for headache, dimness of the sight, and dazzling6 of the eyes, the spleen, stomach, and thoracic organs, taken raw in the morning, in doses of two acetabula, with oxymel, coriander, rue, mint, and root of silphium.7 He says, too, that the virtue of it is so great that the very person even who beats up this mixture feels himself all the stronger for it; for which reason he recommends it to be taken mixed with these condiments, or, at all events, dressed with a sauce compounded of them. For the gout, too, and diseases of the joints, a liniment of it should be used, he says, with a little rue and coriander, a sprinkling of salt, and some barley meal: the very water even in which it has been boiled is wonderfully efficacious, according to him, for the sinews and joints. For wounds, either recent or of long standing, as also for carcinoma,8 which is incurable by any other mode of treatment, he recommends fomentations to be made with warm water, and, after that, an application of cabbage, beaten up, to the parts affected, twice a-day. He says, also, that fistulas and sprains should be treated in a similar way, as well as all humours which it may be desirable to bring to a head and disperse; and he states that this vegetable, boiled and eaten fasting, in considerable quantities, with oil and salt, has the effect of preventing dreams and wakefulness; also, that if, after one boiling, it is boiled a second time, with the addition of oil, salt, cummin, and polenta, it will relieve gripings9 in the stomach; and that, if eaten in this way with- out bread, it is more beneficial still. Among various other particulars, he says, that if taken in drink with black wine, it has the effect of carrying off the bilious secretions; and he recom- mends the urine of a person who has been living on a cabbage diet to be preserved, as, when warmed, it is a good remedy for diseases of the sinews. I will, however, here give the identical words in which Cato expresses himself upon this point: "If you wash little children with this urine," says he, "they will never be weak and puny."

He recommends, also, the warm juice of cabbage to be injected into the ears, in combination with wine, and assures us that it is a capital remedy for deafness: and he says that the cabbage is a cure for impetigo10 without the formation of ulcers.

1 See B. xix. c. 41.

2 "Crispam"

3 "Parsley-like."

4 The only use now made of the cabbage, in a medicinal point of view, is the extraction from the red cabbage, which is rich in saccharine matter, of a pectoral, and the employment of the round cabbage, in the form of sour-krout, as an antiscorbutic. The great majority of the statements as to the virtues of the cabbage, though supported by Cato, and in a great measure by Hippocrates, are utterly fallacious.

5 De Re Rust. 157.

6 "Scintillationibus."

7 See B. xix. c. 15.

8 Or cancer.

9 Cato, De Re Rust., 156, 157.

10 See Note 11 to C. 2 of this Book.

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