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The silurus,1 taken in its broth, or the torpedo,2 used as food, acts as a laxative upon the bowels. There is a sea-wort,3 also, similar in appearance to the cultivated cabbage: it is injurious to the stomach, but acts most efficiently as a purgative, requiring to be cooked with fat meat for the purpose, in consequence of its extreme acridity. The broth, too, of all boiled fish is good for this purpose; it acting, also, as a strong diuretic, taken with wine more particularly. The best kind of all is that prepared from the sea-scorpion, the iulis,4 and rock-fish in general, as they are destitute of all rankness and are free from fat. The proper way of cooking them is with dill, parsley, coriander, and leeks, with the addition of oil and salt. Stale cybium,5 too, acts as a purgative, and is particularly useful for carrying off crudities, pituitous humours, and bile.

The myax6 is of a purgative nature, a shell-fish of which we shall take this opportunity of giving the natural history at length. These fish collect together in masses, like the murex,7 and are found in spots covered with sea-weed. They are the finest eating in autumn, and are found in the greatest perfection in places where fresh-water streams discharge themselves into the sea; for which reason it is that those of Egypt are held in such high esteem. As the winter advances, they contract a bitter flavour, and assume a reddish hue. The liquor of these fish, it is said, acts as a purgative upon the bowels and bladder, has a detergent effect upon the intestines, acts aperiently upon all the passages, purges the kidneys, and diminishes the blood and adipose secretions. Hence it is that these shell-fish are found of the greatest use for the treatment of dropsy, for the regulation of the catamenia, and for the removal of jaundice, all diseases of the joints, and flatulency. They are very good, also, for the reduction of obesity, for diseases of the bile and of the pituitous secretions, for affections of the lungs, liver, and spleen, and for rheumatic defluxions. The only inconvenience resulting from them is, that they irritate the throat and impede the articulation. They have, also, a healing effect upon ulcers of a serpiginous nature, or which stand in need of detergents, as also upon carcinomatous sores. Calcined, the same way as the murex, and employed with honey, they are curative of bites inflicted either by dogs or human beings, and of leprous spots or freckles. The ashes of them, rinsed, are good for the removal of films upon the eyes, granulations of those organs and indurations of the membrane, as also for diseases of the gums and teeth, and for pituitous eruptions. They serve, also, as an antidote to dorycnium8 and to opocarpathon.9

There are two species of this shell-fish, of a degenerate kind: the mitulus,10 which has a strong flavour, and a saltish taste; and the myisca,11 which differs from the former in the roundness of its shell, is somewhat smaller, and is covered with filaments, the shell being thinner, and the meat of a sweeter flavour. The ashes, also, of the mitulus, like those of the murex, are possessed of certain caustic properties, and are very useful for the removal of leprous spots, freckles, and blemishes of the skin. They are rinsed, too, in the same manner as lead,12 for the removal of swellings of the eyelids, of indurations of the membranes, and of films upon the eyes, as also of sordid ulcers upon other parts of the body, and of pustules upon the head. The meat of them, also, is employed as an application for bites inflicted by dogs.

As to pelorides,13 they act as a gentle laxative upon the bowels, an effect equally produced by castoreum, taken in doses of two drachmæ, in hydromel: where, however, a more drastic purgative is required, one drachma of dried garden-cucumber root is added, and two drachmæ of aphronitrum.14 The tethea15 is good for griping pains in the bowels and for attacks of flatulency: they are generally found adhering to the leaves of marine plants, sucking their nutriment therefrom, and may be rather looked upon as a sort of fungus than as a fish. They are useful, also, for the removal of tenesmus and of diseases of the kidneys.

There grows also in the sea a kind of absinthium, known by some persons as "seriphum,"16 and found in the vicinity of Taposiris,17 in Egypt, more particularly. It is of a more slender form than the land absinthium, acts as a purgative upon the bowels, and effectually removes intestinal worms. The sæpia, too, is a laxative; for which purpose these fish are administered18 with the food, boiled with a mixture of oil, salt, and meal. Salted mænæ,19 applied with bull's gall to the navel, acts as a purgative upon the bowels.

The liquor of fish, boiled in the saucepan with lettuces, dispels tenesmus. River-crabs,20 beaten up and taken with water, act astringently upon the bowels, and they have a diuretie effect, if taken with white wine. Deprived of the legs, and taken in doses of three oboli with myrrh and iris, one drachma of each, they disperse urinary calculi. For the cure of the iliac passion and of attacks of flatulency, castoreum21 should be taken, with seed of daucus22 and of parsley, a pinch in three fingers of each, the whole being mixed with four cyathi of warm honied wine. Griping pains in the bowels should be treated with castoreum and a mixture of dill and wine. The fish called "erythinus,"23 used as food, acts astringently upon the bowels. Dysentery is cured by taking frogs boiled with squills, and prepared in the form of boluses, or else hearts of frogs beaten up with honey, as Niceratus24 recommends. For the cure of jaundice, salt fish should be taken with pepper, the patient abstaining from all other kinds of meat.

1 See B. ix. cc. 17, 25, 75.

2 See B. ix. cc. 24, 48, 67, 74, 75.

3 See B. xx. c. 38.

4 A rock fish, according to Athenæus, B. vii. Rondelet, B. vi. c. 7, identifies it with the fish called girello by the people of Liguria, the donzelia of other districts.

5 Sliced tunny. See B. ix. c. 18.

6 A genus which comprises the "myes," mentioned in B. ix. c. 56, according to Dalechamps.

7 See B. ix. c. 60.

8 See B. xxi. c. 105.

9 See B. xxviii. c. 45, and Chapter 20 of the present Book.

10 Identical with our mussel, probably.

11 Holland identifies this with the cockle, but it is probably a smaller kind of mussel.

12 See B. xxxiv. c. 50.

13 We learn from Chapter 53 of this Book, that one class of the "Chamæ," or gaping cockles, was known as "Pelorides." Horace also mentions them.

14 See B. xxxi. c. 46.

15 See Note 51 above. Sillig would here read "tetheum," apparently, in the singular.

16 Described in B. xxvii. c. 29.

17 A city not far from the Canopic branch of the Nile.

18 "Dantur" seems a preferable reading to "datur."

19 See B. ix c. 42.

20 Our crawfish, the Astacus potamobios of Leach.

21 See Chapter 13 of this Book.

22 See B. xix. c. 27, and B. xxv. c. 64.

23 See B. ix. cc. 23, 77.

24 See end of B. xxxi.

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