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Elecampane1 is not so elongated as the preceding roots, but more substantial and more pungent; eaten by itself it is very injurious to the stomach, but when mixed with other condiments of a sweet nature, it is extremely wholesome. There are several methods employed for modifying2 its natural acridity and rendering it agreeable to the palate: thus, for instance, when dried it is reduced to a fine flour, and then mixed with some sweet liquid or other, or else it is boiled in vinegar and water, or kept in soak in it; it is also steeped in various other ways, and then mixed with boiled3 grape-juice, or else incorporated with honey or raisins, or dates with plenty of meat on them. Other persons, again, have a method of preparing it with quinces, or else sorbs or plums, while sometimes the flavour is varied by the addition of pepper or thyme.

This plant is particularly good for weakness of the stomach, and it has acquired a high reputation from the circumstance that Julia4 Augusta used to eat it daily. The seed of it is quite useless, as the plant is reproduced, like the reed, from eyes extracted from the root. This vegetable, as well as the skirret and the parsnip, is sown both in spring and autumn, a considerable distance being left between the plants; indeed, for elecampane, a space of no less than three feet is required, as it throws out its shoots to a very considerable distance.5 Skirrets, however, are best transplanted.

1 The Inula Helenium of Linnæus. Its English name is derived from Inula campana, that under which it is so highly recommended in the precepts of the School of Health at Salerno. See also B. xx. c. 19. At the present day it is universally rejected as an article of food in any shape.

2 The School of Salerno says that it may be preserved by being pickled in brine, or else in the juice of rue, which, as Fée remarks, would produce neither more nor less than a veritable poison. The modern Pharmacopœias give the receipt of a conserve of elecampane, which, however, is no longer used.

3 "Defrutum." Must, boiled down to one half.

4 The daughter of Augustus Cæsar.

5 The same account nearly is given in Columella, De Re Rust. B. xi. c. 3.

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