Natural History (Rackham, Jones, & Eichholz)/Book 26
I. THE face of man has also been afflicted with new diseases, unknown in past years not only to Italy but also to almost the whole of Europe, and even then they did not spread all over Italy, or through Illyricum, the Gauls, and the Spains to any great extent, or in fact anywhere except in and around Rome. Though they are painless and without danger to life, yet they are so disfiguring that any kind of death would be preferable.
II. The most severe of these they called by a Greek name lichens; in Latin, because it generally began on the chin, it was called mentagra, at first by way of a jokeso prone are many men to make a jest of the misfortunes of othersthe name passing presently into common use. The disease seized in many cases at least the whole of the face, with the eyes only unaffected, but passed down however also to the neck, chest and hands, covering the skin with a disfiguring, scaly eruption.
III. This plague was unknown to our fathers and forefathers. It first made its way into Italy in the middle of the principate of Tiberius Claudius Caesar, when a Roman knight of Perusia, a quaestor's secretary, introduced the infection from Asia Minor, where he had taken up his duties. Women were not liable to the disease, or slaves and the lower and middle classes, but the nobles were very much infected through the momentary contact of a kiss. The scar left on many who had been hardy enough to endure the treatment was more unsightly than the disease, for caustics were the method employed, and the loathsome complaint broke out afresh unless the flesh was burnt through right to the bones. There arrived from Egypt, the parent of such diseases, physicians who devoted all their attention to this complaint only, to their very great profit, since it is a fact that Manilius Cornutus, of praetorian rank and legate of the province of Aquitania, laid out two hundred thousand sesterces in getting himself treated for that disease. On the other hand, it has more usually happened that new kinds of disease on their first appearance have been epidemic. What can be found more marvellous than this, that some diseases should arise suddenly in a special part of the world, should attack special limbs of human beings or special ages, or even people of a special position in life, (just as if a plague chose its victims), one children, another adults, one making the nobility especially liable, another the poor.
IV. It is noted in the Annals that it was in the censorship of Lucius Paullus and Quintus Marcius that there appeared for the first time in Italy the carbuncle, a disease peculiar to the province of Gallia Narbonensis. There died of it in the same year as I compose my work two men of consular rank, Julius Rufus and Laecanius Bassus, the former through the ignorance of his physicians, who tried lancing; the latter, however, through his own tearing out with a needle from his left thumb a splinter (boil) so small that it could scarcely be seen. The carbuncle forms in the most hidden parts of the body, and usually as a red hardness under the tongue, like a pimple but blackish at the top, occasionally of a leaden colour, spreading into the flesh but without swelling, pain, irritation, or any other symptom than sleep, overcome by which the patient is carded off in three days. Sometimes also the disease, bringing shivering, small pustules around the sore, and more rarely fever, has reached the oesophagus and pharynx, causing death very quickly.
V. I have said that leprosy did not occur in Italy before the time of Pompeius Magnus, and that though the plague usually begins on the face, a kind of freckle on the tip of the nose, yet presently the skin dries up over all the body, covered with spots of various colours, and uneven, in places thick, in others thin, in others hard as with rough itch-scab, finally however going black, and pressing the flesh on to the bones, while the toes and fingers swell up. This plague is native to Egypt. When kings were attacked, it was a deadly thing for the inhabitants, because the tubs in the baths used to be prepared with warm human blood for its treatment. This disease indeed quickly died out in Italy, as also did that called by the ancients gemursa, which appeared between the toes, the very name being now obsolete.
VI. This itself is a wonderful fact, that some diseases should disappear from among us while others remain endemic, as for example colum. It was in the principate of Tiberius Caesar that this malady made its way into Italy. Nobody suffered from it before the Emperor himself, and the citizens were greatly puzzled when they read in his edict, in which he begged to be excused because of illness, a name they had never heard before. What are we to say that this means, what wrath of the gods? Were the recognised kinds of human disease, more than three hundred, too few, that they must be increased by new ones also to add to man's fears? No fewer either are the troubles which man brings upon himself by his own agency. These remedies that I record were those used by the ancients, Nature in a way making medicine herself, and their vogue was a long one. Certainly the works of Hippocrates, who was the first to put together, and that with great distinction, rules for medical practice, we find full of references to herbs, equally so the works of Diocles of Carystus, who comes next after Hippocrates in time and reputation, likewise those of Praxagoras and Chrysippus, and then comes Erasistratus of Ceos; while Herophilus indeed, although the founder of an over-subtle sect, we know recommended before all others this method of treatment. But little by little experience, the most efficient teacher of all things, and in particular of medicine, degenerated into words and mere talk. For it was more pleasant to sit in a lecture-room engaged in listening, than to go out into the wilds and search for the various plants at their proper season of the year.
VII. However, the ancient system of medicine remained unshaken, and claimed as its own considerable remains of its once acknowledged sphere, until, in the time of Pompeius Magnus, one Asclepiades, a professor of rhetoric, who found his gains in that profession too small, but had a brain brilliant enough for success in other professions, suddenly abandoned rhetoric for medicine. A man who neither had practised it nor knew anything of remedies that call for sharp eyes and personal experience, but could attract by his eloquent and daily-practised oratory, was forced to reject all simples, and reducing the whole of medicine to the discovery of causes, made it a matter of guesswork. He recognised especially five principles of general application: fasting from food, in other cases abstinence from wine, massage, walking, and the various kinds of carnage-rides. Since every man realised that he could provide these things for himself, and since all applauded him as if the easiest things were also true, Asclepiades brought round to his view almost all the human race, just as if he had been sent as an apostle from heaven.
VIII. He used, moreover, to attract men's minds by the empty artifice of promising the sick, now wine, which he administered as opportunity occurred, while now he would prescribe cold water; and since Herophilus had anticipated him in inquiring into the causes of diseases, and Cleophantus among the ancient physicians had brought to prominent notice the treatment by wine, he preferred, according to Marcus Varro, to win for himself the surname of 'cold-water giver.' He devised also other attractive methods of treatment, such as suspended beds, so that by rocking them he could either relieve diseases or induce sleep; again, he organized a system of hydropathy, which appeals to man's greedy love of baths, and many other things pleasant and delightful to speak of, which won him a great professional reputation. His fame was no less great when, on meeting the funeral cortege of a man unknown to him, he had him removed from the pyre and saved his life. This incident I give lest any should think that it was on slight grounds that so violent a changes took place. One thing alone moves me to anger: that one man, of a very superficial race, beginning with no resources, in order to increase his income suddenly gave to the human race rules for health, which however have subsequently been generally discarded. The success of Asclepiades owed much to the many distressing and crude features of ancient medical treatment; for instance, it was the custom to bury patients under coverings, and to promote perspiration by every possible means, now to roast the body before a fire, or continually to make them seek sunshine in our rainy city, nay throughout rainy imperial Italy: then for the first time were used hot-air baths, heated from below, treatment of infinite attractiveness. Besides this he did away with the agonizing treatment employed in certain diseases; for example in quinsy, which physicians used to treat by thrusting an instrument into the throat. He rightly condemned emetics also, which were at that time employed unduly often. He disapproved also of administering draughts that are injurious to the stomach, a criticism which is to a great extent a sound one. That is why I always point out in the first place those remedies that are beneficial to the stomach.
IX. Above all Asclepiades was helped by Magian deceits, which prevailed to such a degree that they were strong enough to destroy confidence in all herbal remedies. It was believed that by the plant aethiopis rivers and pools are dried up; that by the touch of onothuris all things shut are opened; that if achaemenis is thrown on the ranks of an enemy the lines turn their backs in panic; that latace was wont to be given by the Persian king to his envoys, so that wherever they went they might enjoy an abundant supply of everything, with much similar nonsense. Where then were these plants when the Cimbri and the Teutones raised their awful war yells, or when Lucullus with a few legions laid low so many kings of the Magi? Or why have Roman generals always made victualling a first care in their wars? Why did Caesar's soldiers at Pharsalia feel hunger, if abundant plenty could have been given them by the happy property of a single plant? Would it not have been better for Scipio Aemilianus to open the gates of Carthage by a plant than to shake the defences for so many years with battering-rams? Let the Pomptine marshes be drained today by the plant merois, and much land be recovered for Italy near Rome. But as for the medical prescription found in the same Democritus, to ensure the begetting of beautiful, good and lucky children, did it ever give such offspring to any Persian king? It would certainly be wonderful that the credulity of our forefathers, though it arose from most sound beginnings, reached the height it did, if in any matter man's wit knew moderation, and I were not about to show, in the appropriate place, that this very system of medicine invented by Asclepiades has surpassed even Magian nonsense. It is without exception the nature of the human mind that what begins with necessities is finally carried to excess. I shall therefore go on to describe the omitted properties of the plants I dealt with in the preceding book, adding any other plants that my judgment will suggest.
X. But of lichen, which is so disfiguring a disease, I shall amass from all sources a greater number of remedies, although not a few have been noticed already. Remedies, then, are pounded plaintain, cinqnefoil, root of asphodel in vinegar, shoots of the fig-tree boiled down in vinegar, and the root of hibiscus with bee-glue and strong vinegar boiled down to one quarter. The affected part is also rubbed with pumice, as a preparation for the application of rumex root pounded in vinegar, or of mistletoe scum kneaded with lime. A decoction too of tithymallus with resin is highly recommended; the plant lichen however is considered a better remedy than all these, a fact which has given the plant its name. It grows among rocks, has one broad leaf near the root, and one small stem with long leaves hanging down from it. This plant removes also marks of scars; it is pounded with honey. There is another kind of lichen, entirely clinging, as does moss, to rocks; this too is used by itself as a local application. It also stops bleeding if the juice is dropped into wounds, and applied locally it is good for gatherings. With honey also it cures jaundice, if the mouth and tongue are smeared with it. Patients undergoing this treatment are ordered to bathe in salt water, to be rubbed with almond oil, and to abstain from garden vegetables. To treat lichen is also used the root of thapsia pounded with honey.
XI. For the treatment of quinsy argemonia is taken in wine, hyssop is boiled down with figs and used as a gargle, peucedanum is used with rennet of the seal in equal parts, and proserpinaca pounded with sprats-brine and oil, or else held beneath the tongue. Cinquefoil juice also, in doses of three cyathi. This also used as gargle is good for all affections of the throat; verbascum taken in water is specific for the tonsils.
XII. For scrofulous sores are prescribed plantain, the great celandine with honey and axle-grease, cinquefoil, root of persollata also with axle-greasethe application is covered with the plant's leavesartemisia also and the root of mandrake in water. Broad-leaved sideritis dug up with a nail in the left hand is attached as an amulet, but the healed patients must guard it, lest herbalists wickedly plant it again, as I have said in certain places, and bring about a relapse, a danger against which I find those also are warned who have been cured by artemisia, and those too cured by plantain. Damasonium, which is also called alisma, is gathered at the solstice and applied in rainwater to the sores, the leaf being crushed, or the root pounded, with axle-grease, but the application must be covered with a leaf from the same plant. The same method is used for all pains in the neck and for tumours in any part of the body.
XIII. The daisy grows in meadows. It has a white flower, to a certain distance tinged with red. It is held that an application of it is more efficacious if artemisia is added.
XIV. Condurdum too is a plant blooming at the summer solstice, having a red flower. Hung round the neck it is said to arrest scrofula; the same is said of vervain with plantain. All complaints of the fingers and specifically whitlows are successfully treated with cinquefoil.
XV. Of chest complaints quite the most distressing is cough. Remedies for it are: root of panaces taken in sweet wine, juice of henbane (even when there is spitting of blood; the fumes too of bnrning henbane help the cough), scordotis also mixed with cress and dry resin pounded with honeyeven by itself it makes expectoration easythe greater centaury too, even when there is spitting of blood, for which complaint the juice of the plantain also is a remedy, three oboli of betony in water for spitting of pus or blood, root of persollata in doses of one drachma with eleven pine seeds, juice of peucedanum. For pains in the chest acorum is a help, and for this reason it is a component of antidotes, a help too for cough are daucum and the Scythian herb. The last is helpful for all chest complaints. For cough and spitting of pus, the dose being three oboli in the same amount of raisin wine, the golden-flowered verbascum is a good remedy. The potency of this plant is so great that beasts of burden that are not only suffering from cough but also broken-winded, are relieved by a draught, and the same I find is true of gentian. The root of caccalia, soaked in wine and chewed, is good not only for cough but also for the throat. A decoction of five sprays of hyssop, two of rue, and three figs, clears the chest and soothes the cough.
XVI. Bechion is also called tussilago. There are two kinds of it. Wherever the wild kind grows it is believed that springs run under the surface, and the plant is considered a sign by the water-finders. The leaves are rather larger than those of ivy, numbering five or seven, whitish underneath and pale on the upper side. There is no stem, or flower, or seed, and the root is slender. Some think it is the same as areion, and chamaeleuce under another name. The smoke of this plant, dried with the root and burnt, is said to cure, if inhaled deeply through a reed, an inveterate cough, but the patient must take a sip of raisin wine at each inhalation.
XVII. The second kind is called by some salvia, being like verbascum. Finely ground, strained and warmed, it is taken in drink for a cough and pains in the side; this prescription is also a remedy for scorpion stings and the poison of the sea dragon. An embrocation also of the plant and oil is good for snakebites. For cough, pains in the side and in the chest, a decoction is made of a bunch of hyssop and a quarter of a pound of honey, and verbascum with rue is taken in water, or powdered betony in hot water.
XVIII. The stomach is strengthened by the juice of scordotis, by centaury, by gentian taken in water, by plantain, either taken by itself in food or mixed with lentils or alica gruel. Although betony in general lies heavy on the stomach, yet taken in drink, or if the leaves are chewed, it cures its troubles; aristolochia also may be taken in drink or dry agaric chewed, neat wine being drunk after a while, and nymphaea heraclia or juice of pencedanum may be applied locally. Psyllion is applied to inflammations, or pounded cotyledon with pearl-barley, or aizom.
XIX. Molon has a striated stalk, soft small leaves, and a root four fingers long, at the end of which is a head like that of garlic. Some give it the name of syron. In wine it cures stomach troubles and difficulty of breathing, as do the greater centaury in an electuary, plantain, its juice or as food, pounded betony, in the proportion of one pound to half an ounce of Attic honey and taken daily in hot water, and aristolochia or agaric in doses of three oboli taken in hot water or ass's milk. Cissanthemus is given in drink a for orthopnoea, for that and for asthma hyssop, while for pains in the liver, chest, and side, if there is no fever, the juice of peucedanum. For spitting of blood also agaric is of help; a vietoriatus by weight is pounded and given in five cyathi of honey wine. For this complaint amomum is equally good. For liver complaints fresh teucria is specific, taken in the proportion of four drachmae to one hemina of vinegar and water, or betony, one drachma to three cyathi of hot water: the same amount of betony, in two cvathi of cold water, is given for heart affections. The juice of cinquefoil is a remedy for affections of the liver and lungs, for spitting of blood, and for all internal blood impurities. Both kinds of anagallis are wonderfully good for liver complaints. Those who have eaten the plant called capnos (smoke) pass bile in their urine. Acoron is a cure for liver diseases, and daucum for those of the chest and hypochondria.
XX. Ephedra, called by some anabasis, grows generally in wind-swept regions, climbs trees and hangs down from their branches. It has no leaves, but numerous rush-like, jointed tufts, and a pale root. For cough, asthma and colic it is given pounded in a dark-red, dry wine; and it may be made into a gruel, to which wine should be added. Another remedy is gentian, thoroughly pounded after being steeped the day before, the dose being a denarius by weight in three cyathi of wine.
XXI. Geum has little roots, slender, blackish and with a pleasant smell. It not only is a cure for pains in the chest or side, but also dispels indigestion, having besides a pleasant taste. Vervain however is a cure for troubles of all the internal organssides, lungs, liver and chest. But especially good for the lungs, and for those attacked by pulmonary tuberculosis, is the root of the plant consiligo, which I have said was but recently discovered. It is a sovereign remedy indeed for lung trouble in pigs and in all cattle, even though it is merely placed across the ear-lap. It ought to be drunk in water and held continuously in the mouth under the tongue. Whether the part of this plant above ground is of any use is not yet agreed. The kidneys are benefited by plantain taken as food, by betony taken in drink, and by agaric taken in drink as is prescribed for cough.
XXII. Tripolion is found on coastal rocks washed by the waves, but neither in the sea nor on dry ground; the leaf is that of isatis only thicker, the stem a span high and divided at the end, and the root white, thick, with a strong smell and a hot taste. Cooked in emmer wheat it is prescribed for patients with liver complaint. This plant is thought by some to be the same as polium, about which I have spoken in its proper place.
XXIII. Gromphaena, which has its leaves alternately green and rose-colour along the stem, taken. in vinegar and water cures spitting of blood;
XXIV. and the plant malundrum cures troubles of the liver; it grows among the corn and in meadows, with a strong scent and a white flower. Its young shoot a is beaten up in old wine.
XXV. The plant calcetum likewise is crushed with grape-skins and applied locally. Betony root acts as a gentle emetic, administered as is hellebore, the dose being four drachmae taken in raisin wine or in honey wine. The same is true of hyssop beaten up with honey, the result being better if cress or irio is taken first. Another cure is molemouium in doses of one denarius by weight. The milky juice of sillybum also, which thickens into a gum, is taken with honey, the dose being as above, and is excellent for carrying off bile. On the other hand, vomiting is arrested by wild cummin, or by powdered betony, both taken in water. Distaste for food is banished and indigestion dispelled by daucum, by powdered betony in hydromel, and by plantain boiled down as are greens. Hemionion relieves hiccoughs, as also does aristolochia, and clymenus relieves asthma. For pleurisy and pneumonia the greater centaury, and likewise hyssop, are taken in drink, and for pleurisy is taken juice of peucedanum.
XXVI. Halus also, which the Gauls call sil and the Veneti cotonea, cures pain in the side, as well as kidney troubles, sprains and ruptures. It is like ox-eunila, and the tops are like those of thyme. It is sweet and allays thirst. Its roots are in some districts light, in others dark.
XXVII. The same good effect on pain in the sides is given by chamaerops, taken in wine, a plant with myrtle-like leaves around its twin stems, and with heads like those of a Greek rose. Agaric, taken in drink as for cough, relieves sciatica and pains in the spine, as does powdered stoechas or betony, taken in hydromel.
XXVIII. The greatest part however of man's trouble is caused by the belly, the gratification of which is the life's work of the majority of mankind. For at one time it does not allow food to pass, at another it will not retain it, at another it does not take it, at another it does not digest it; and so much have our customs degenerated that it is chiefly through his food that a man dies. This, the most troublesome organ in the body, presses as does a creditor, making its demands several times a day. It is for the belly's sake especially that avarice is so acquisitive; for its sake luxury uses spices, voyages are made to the Phasis, and the bottom of the ocean is explored. Nobody, again, is led to consider how base an organ it is by the foulness of its completed work. Therefore the tasks of medicine concerned with the belly are very numerous. Looseness of the bowels is checked by a drachma dose of fresh scordotis beaten up with wine, or by the same quantity taken in a decoction, by polemonia in wine, which is also given for dysentery, by root of verbascum in doses of two fingers' size taken in water, the seed of nymphaea heraclia taken with wine, the upper root of xiphium, the dose being a drachma by weight, taken in vinegar, the seed of plantain beaten up in wine, plantain itself boiled in vinegar, or groats taken in plantain juice, also the plant boiled with lentils, or the plant dried, powdered and sprinkled in drink with parched and pounded poppies, juice of plantain injected or drunk, or betony in wine made warm with hot iron. Betony is also administered in a dry wine for coeliac affections, for which hiberis also is applied locally in the way I have described. For tenesmus the root of nymphaea heraclia is taken in wine, psyllium in water, or a decoction of root of acoron. The juice of aizom checks looseness of the bowels and dysentery, and expels round worms. Root of symphytum taken in wine checks looseness of the bowels and dysentery, as does the root of daucum. Leaves of aizom thoroughly beaten up in wine arrest griping pains, as does dried alcima powdered and taken with wine.
XXIX. Astragalus has long leaves with many slanting incisions, around the root three or four stems covered with leaves, blossom like that of the byacinthus, and roots that are hairy, matted, red and very hard. It grows on stony ground that is exposed to sunshine and also to falls of snow, like the ground around Pheneus in Arcadia. Its property is to brace the body. Its root, taken in wine, checks looseness of the bowels, a result of which is that it is diuretic by forcing back their fluid, as most things do that check looseness. It cures dysentery also when ground in light-red wine, but it is ground only with difficulty. Fomentation with the same plant is very good for gum-boils. It is gathered at the end of autumn, when it has lost its leaves, and is dried in the shade.
XXX. Looseness of the bowels is also checked by both kinds of ladanum; the one that grows in cornfields must be first crushed and passed through a sieve. It is taken in hydromel, or in wine of a good vintage. The name of lcdon is given to a plant from which in Cyprus is made the ladannm that clings to the beards of goats; a finer sort is prepared in Arabia. Today a kind is also found in Syria and in Africa, called toxicum. For they surround with pieces of wool strings fastened across a bow, and drag it over the plant; to this wool adhere the dew-like tufts of ladanum. I have said more about the plant in my section on unguents. This ladanum has a very strong smell and is very hard to the touch. In fact a great deal of earth sticks to it, while the most valued kind is clean, scented, soft, green and resinous. Its nature is to soften, to dry, to mature abscesses, and to induce sleep. It prevents the hair from falling off, and preserves its dark colour. It is poured into the ears with hydromel or rose-oil. With the addition of salt it cures scurf on the skin and running sores, and chronic cough when taken with stdrax; it is also a very effective carminative.
XXXI. Looseness of the bowels is checked too by chondris, also called pseudodictamnum. Hypocisthis, called by some orobothron, which is like an unripe pomegranate, grows as I have said under the cisthus, and from this fact derives its name. Either kind of hypocisthis (there are two; the white and the red), dried in the shade and taken in dark-red, dry wine, checks looseness of the bowels. The part used is the juice, which braces and dries, and it is the red kind that arrests better stomach catarrhs, spitting of blood when three oboli are taken with starch in drink, and dysentery when taken in drink or injected; similarly vervain given in water, or in Aminnean wine if there is no fever, the dose being five spoonfuls added to three cyathi of wine.
XXXII. Layer also, which grows in streams, when preserved and boiled cures gripings,
XXXIII. potamogiton, however, taken in wine, cures dysentery as well and coeliac affections. The latter is a plant with leaves like those of beet, only it is a smaller and more hairy plant, never rising more than a little above the surface of the water. Only the leaves are used. which have a cooling and bracing quality, being especially useful for bad legs, and, with honey or vinegar, for corroding ulcers. The plant known to Castor under this name was different; it had slender leaves like horsehair, a long, smooth stem, and grew in marshy districts. With its root Castor used to cure scrofulous sores and indurations. The crocodile has an antipathy a to potamogiton, so that crocodile hunters carry some of it on their persons. Achillea too checks looseness of the bowels. Statice also has the same properties, a plant that bears seven heads, like the heads of a rose, upon seven stems.
XXXIV. Ceratia, a plant with one leaf, and a large, knotted root, taken in food cures sufferers from coeliac disease and dysentery. Leontopodium, called by some leuceoron, by others dorypetron, by others thorybethron, is a plant the root of which, in doses of two denarii by weight added to hydromel, checks looseness of the bowels and carries off bile. It grows on flat land with a thin soil. Its seed, taken in drink, is said to cause nightmares. Lagopus taken in wine, or in water if there is fever, checks looseness of the bowels. It is also attached to the groin when there is swelling there. It grows in cornfields. Many recommend above all else for desperate cases of dysentery doses of a decoction in milk of the roots of cinquefoil, or aristolochia, a victoriatus by weight in three cyathi of wine. When the prescriptions mentioned above are to be taken warm, it will be found best to heat them with red-hot iron. On the other hand a drachma of the juice of the lesser centaury taken in a hemina of water with a little salt and vinegar purges the bowels and carries off bile; the greater centaury dispels griping pains. Betony acts as an aperient, four drachmae being added to nine cyathi of hydromel; so also euphorbeum or agaric, in doses of two drachmae with a little salt, taken in water or in three oboli of honey wine. Cyclamen too is an aperient, either taken in water or used as a suppository; the same in its action is a suppository of chamaecissos. A handful of hyssop, boiled down to one third with salt, or pounded in oxymel and salt, both carries off phlegm and expels worms from the intestines. Root of peucedanum carries off both phlegm and bile.
XXXV. Both kinds of anagallis, taken in hydromel, are purgative, as is also epithymum, which is the blossom of the thyme like satureia. The only difference is that this has a grass-green flower, the other thyme a white one. Some call it hippopheos. Less beneficial to the stomach, it causes vomitings, but dispels colic and flatulence. As an electuary it is also taken with honey, and sometimes with iris, for chest troubles. From four to six drachmae with honey and a little salt and vinegar move the bowels. Others give a different account of epithymum: that it grows without a root, has a small head like a little hood, is red in colour and is dried in the shade, and a dose of half an acetabulnm, taken in water, carries off phlegm and bile, acting as a gentle aperient.
XXXVI. Nymphaea too in a dry wine loosens the bowels, as also does pycnocomon, which has leaves like rocket, but thicker and more acrid, a round root of a yellow colour and an earthy smell, a quadrangular stem, of moderate length and slender, and the blossom of basil. It is found on stony ground. Its root, taken in hydromel in doses of two denarii by weight, thoroughly purges the bowels of bile and phlegm. A drachma of the seed, taken in wine, causes wild dreams. Capnos trunca also carries away bile.
XXXVII. Of polypodium, a plant called by Romans filicula, being like a fern (filix), the root is medicinal, hairy, grass-green inside, as thick as the little finger, with indented edges so as to look like a polypus's arms, of a sweetish taste, and to be found in stony soils or under old trees. The juice is extracted from the root soaked in water, and chopped up fine the root itself is sprinkled on cabbage, beet, mallows and pickled fish, or else boiled with gruel to make a gentle aperient usable even in fever. It brings away bile and phlegm, although injurious to the stomach. Dried and reduced to powder it eats away polypus if pushed up the nostrils. There is no flower and no seed.
XXXVIII. It is by relaxing the stomach that a scamonium too brings away bile and loosens the bowels, unless indeed to two oboli of it are added two drachmae of aloes. This is the juice of a plant with many branches at the root, fleshy, three-cornered, pale leaves, and a thick, wet, nauseating root. It grows in rich, pale soil. Near the rising of the Dog-star a hollow is made in this root, so that the juice may collect in it automatically; this is dried in the sun and worked into lozenges. The root itself or the skin is also dried. The kind most approved grows in the regions of Colophon, Mysia and Priene. This is shiny, as like as possible to bull glue, spongy with very fine cracks, quickly melting, with a poisonous smell, gummy, becoming like milk at a touch of the tongue, extremely light, and turning white when dissolved. This happens too with bastard scamonmm, which is made, generally in Judea, with flour of bitter vetch and juice of sea spurge, and even chokes those who take it. The bastard kind is detected by the taste, for the genuine burns the tongue. It is to be used when two years old, being of no use either before or after. It has been prescribed by itself in water or in hydromel and salt, the dose being four oboli, but most effectively with aloes, though honey wine must be taken as soon as purging begins. The root too is boiled down in vinegar to the consistency of honey, the decoction being applied to leprous sores, and with oil it is used as an ointment for the head when there is headache.
XXXIX. Tithymallus is called 'milky plant' by us Romans, sometimes 'goat lettuce.' It is said that, if letters are traced on the body with its milk and then allowed to dry, on being sprinkled with ash the letters become visible. And it is by this means, rather than by a letter, that some lovers have preferred to address unfaithful wives. The kinds of it are many, the first being surnamed characias, which is also considered the male plant. five or six branches, a cubit long, as thick as a finger, red and juicy; the leaves at the root are very like those of the olive, and on the top of the stem is a head a like that of the rush. It grows on rough ground near the sea. The seed is gathered in autumn together with the head; after being left to get dry in the sun it is pounded and stored away; as to the juice, as soon as down begins to form on fruit, twigs are broken off, and juice therefrom is caught on meal of bitter vetch or on figs and left to get dry with them. Five drops are enough to be caught on each fig, and it is reported that a dropsical patient on taking a fig has as many motions as the fig has caught drops of juice. When the juice is being collected care must be taken that it does not touch the eyes. A juice is also extracted from pounded leaves, but one less efficacious than the former. A decoction too is made from the branches. The seed is also used, boiled down with honey, to make purgative pills. The seed is also inserted with wax into hollow teeth. A decoction too of the root in wine or oil is used as a monthwash. The juice is applied locally for lichen; it is taken internally as a purge, being both an emetic and an aperient; apart from this it is bad for the stomach. Taken in drink with the addition of salt it brings away phlegm, but to bring away bile saltpetre must be added; if it is desired that the purging shall be by stool, the drink should be vinegar and water; if by vomiting, raisin wine or hydromel. A moderate draught is made up with three oboli. It is better taken on a fig, and after food. The juice burns the throat slightly; for it is of so heating a nature that, applied externally by itself to the body, it raises blisters as fire does, and so it is sometimes used as a cautery.
XL. The second kind of tithymallus is called myrtites by some, and caryites by others, having leaves like those of the myrtle, pointed and prickly, but larger, and growing like the first kind in rough ground. Its heads are gathered when the barley is beginning to swell, dried in the shade for nine days and thoroughly dried in the sun. The fruit does not ripen all together, but a part in the following year. It is called the nut, and for this reason the Greeks have surnamed this tithymallus earyites. It is gathered when the harvest is ready, washed, and then dried. It is given with twice the amount of black poppy, the dose being one acetabulum altogether. It is a less violent emetic than the preceding, as are also the others. Some have given the leaf also in a similar dose, the nut however by itself in honey wine or raisin wine, or with sesame. It carries off phlegm and bile by stool. Sores in the mouth it cures, but for corroding ulcers in the mouth the leaf is eaten with honey.
XLI. The third kind of tithymallus is called paralius or tithvmallis. It has a round leaf, a stem a span high, reddish branches, and a white seed, which is gathered when the grape begins to form, and after being dried and pounded is taken in doses of one acetabulum as a purgative.
XLII. The fourth kind of tithymallus is called helioscopios. It has the leaves of purslane, and four or five small branches standing out from the root, which are reddish, half a foot high and full of juice. This kind grows around towns, and has a white seed of which pigeons are very fond. The name helioscopios has been given to this plant because it moves its heads round to follow the sun. Bile it carries away by urine or stool when taken in doses of half an acetabulum in oxymel. Its other uses are the same as those of characias.
XLIII. The fifth kind is called cyparittias, because its leaves are like those of cypress. It has a double or triple stem, and grows in fiat country. Its properties are the same as those of helioscopios or characias.
XLIV. The sixth kind is called by some platyphyllos, by others corymbites, and by others amygdalites from its likeness to the almond tree. Its leaves are broader than those of any other. It kills fish. Root, leaves or juice are purgative if a dose of four drachmae is taken in honey wine or hydromel. It is specific for carrying away morbid fluids.
XLV. The seventh kind is surnamed dendroides, and is called by some cohios, and by others leptophyllos. It grows among rocks, and is the most thickly headed of all the kinds. It has very large, reddish stems, and an abundance of seed. The properties are the same as those of characias.
XLVI. Apios ischas or raphanos agria spreads out on the ground two or three rush-like stalks of a reddish colour with leaves like those of rue. The root is like that of an onion, but bigger, and this is the reason why some call it the wild radish. Inside it has a white pap, outside, dark skins. It grows in rough, hilly spots, sometimes also in grass land. Dug up in spring, it is pounded and immersed in an earthen vessel. After throwing away what floats on the surface they use the juice that remains as a purge and emetic, the dose being an obolus and a half in hydromel. Prepared after this fashion a dose of an acetabulum is also given for dropsy. The dried root powdered is also sprinkled in a draught. They say that the upper part of it brings away the hues by vomiting, the lower part by stool.
XLVII. Colic is cured by any kind of panaces, by betony, except when the cause is indigestion, by the juice of peucedanum, which also, being carminative, dispels flatulence, by the root of acoron, or by daucum, if it is taken as a salad like lettuce. Cyprian ladanum, taken in drink, is good for intestinal complaints, as also is powdered gentian, of the size of a bean, taken in warm water, or plantain taken in the morning, the dose being two spoonfuls with one of poppy in four cyathi of wine which is not old. It is also given before going to sleep with the addition of soda or pearl barley, provided that it is long after the last meal. For colitis a hemina of the juice is injected, even when fever is present.
XLVIII. Agaric taken in drink, the dose being three oboli in one cyathus of old wine, is good for disorders of the spleen, as is the root in honey wine of all kinds of panaces, but best of all is teneria, dried and taken in drink by boiling down to one hemina a handful of it with three heminae of vinegar. In vinegar it is also used as a liniment, or, if that cannot be borne, in figs or water. Polemonia is taken in wine, or a drachma of betony in three cyathi of oxymel, or aristolochia as used for snake bite. Argemonia, taken in food on seven consecutive days, is said to reduce the spleen, and so are two oboli of agaric in oxymel. It is reduced also by the root of nymphaea heraclia taken in wine or by itself. Cissanthemus, if a drachma is taken twice daily in two cyathi of white wine for forty days, is said to carry off the spleen gradually in the urine. Useful too is a decoction of hyssop with fig, or of the root of lonchitis before it sheds its seed, while a decoction of root of peucedannm is good for both spleen and kidneys. The spleen is reduced by the juice of acoron taken by the mouththe roots are very useful for trouble of the hypochondria and groinby the seed of clymenus taken in drink for thirty days, the dose being a denarius by weight in white wine, by powdered betony taken in honey and squill vinegar, and by root of lonchitis in water. Teucrium is used as liniment, likewise scordium with wax, or agaric with powdered fenugreek.
XLIX. For diseases of the bladder and for the cure of stone, which causes as we have said the most severe torture, help is obtained from polemonia taken in wine, from agaric, from leaves or root of plantain taken in raisin wine, from betony as we prescribed it for the liver; this last, taken in drink and used as liniment, is good for hernia and wonderfully effective for strangury. Some recommend betony, vervain and millefolium, in equal parts and taken in water, as a sovereign remedy for stone. It is certain that strangury is cured by dittany also, and by cinquefoil boiled down to one third in wine. The latter preparation is very useful to be taken, and to be used locally as a liniment, by sufferers from intestinal hernia. The upper part of the root of xiphilum also is diuretic; it is given in water and applied locally as liniment for intestinal hernia in infants. For bladder troubles the juice of peucedanum is applied locally, and psyllion is so applied for hernia and umbilical rupture in infants. The two kinds of anagallis are diuretic, as is a decoction of root of acoron, or the root by itself pounded and taken in drink; these are good for all troubles of the bladder, for stone both cotyledon and its root, and also, for all inflammations of the genitals, equal parts by weight of the stem, of the seed, and of myrrh. Ebulum ground with its tender leaves and taken in wine expels stone, and applied locally cures complaints of the testicles. Erigeron too with powdered frankincense and sweet wine cures inflammation of the testicles. Root of symphytum used as liniment reduces intestinal hernia, and white hypocisthis is good for corroding ulcers of the genitals. Artemisia too in sweet wine is given for stone and for strangury; root of nymphaea heraclia in wine relieves pains of the bladder.
L. The same property is to be found in crethmos, a plant very highly praised by Hippocrates. It is also one of the wild plants that are eatenat any rate in Callimachus the peasant Hecale puts it on the tableand a species of garden elate. It has one stem a span high, and a hot seed, scented like that of libanotis, and round. When dried it bursts, and has inside a white kernel, which some call cachrys. The leaves are fleshy, and whitish like those of the olive only thicker, and salt to the taste; there are three or four roots, of the thickness of a finger. It grows in rocky places by the sea. It is eaten, raw or boiled, with cabbage, and has a pleasant, aromatic taste; it is also preserved in brine. It is especially useful for strangury, the leaves, stem, or root being taken in wine. The complexion also of the skin is improved by it, but too large a dose causes flatulence. A decoction relaxes the bowels, brings away urine and humours from the kidneys, as does the powder of dried alcima taken in wine, and relieves strangury, more efficaciously however if daucum is added. It is also good for the spleen, and is taken in drink for snake bites. Phlegm or strangury in draught animals also is relieved if crethsnos is sprinkled over their barley.
LI. Anthyllion is very like the lentil, and taken in wine cures bladder troubles and arrests bleeding. A second plant, anthyllis, is like chamaepitys, and has a purple flower, a heavy scent, and a root like that of endive. It is even better treatment taken in oxymel for epilepsy.
LII. Cepaea is like purslane, but has a darker root, which is of no value. It grows on sandy shores, and has a bitter taste. Taken in wine with root of asparagus it is very good indeed for the bladder.
LIII. The same properties are to be found in hypericonsome call it chamaepitys, others conssumwhich has the stem of a garden vegetable, thin, reddish, and a cubit high. The leaves are like those of rue and have a pungent smell. The seed, which is black, is in a pod, and it ripens at the same time as barley. This seed is of a bracing quality, checks diarrhoea and promotes urine; it is taken with wine for bladder troubles.
LIV. There is another hypericon, called by some caro, having a leaf like that of the tamariskit grows underneath itbut more fleshy and less red. It is scented, more than a span high, with a sweet and rather pungent taste. The seed is of a heating nature and therefore causes inflammation, but it is not injurious to the stomach; it is particularly good for strangury, if the bladder is not ulcerated. Taken in wine it is also good for pleurisy,
LV. as moreover is callithrix for the bladder if beaten up with eummin and administered in white wine. Vervain too if boiled down with the leaves to one third, or its root in warm honey wine, expels stone from the bladder, as does also perpressa, which grows near Arretium and in Illyricum; it is taken in drink, boiled down in water from three heminae to one. Trefoil, taken in wine, and chrysanthemum, have the same effect. Stone is expelled also by anthemis, which has five small leaves growing from the root, two long stems and a rose-coloured flower. The roots pounded by themselves a layer, raw.
LVI. Silaus grows in running streams with gravelly bottoms; a cubit high it resembles celery. It is boiled as is an acid vegetable, and is very good for the bladder, which if it suffers from is cured by the root of panaces, a plant otherwise injurious to the bladder. Stone is expelled by the wild apple, a pound of the root being boiled down to one half in a congius of winea hemina of it is taken daily for three days, the rest is taken in wineby sea-nettle, by daucum, and by the seed of plantain in wine.
LVII. The plant of Fulvins, beaten up with wine, is another remedy for stone. It is one of the plants named after the discoverer, and is well known to botanists.
LVIII. Scordion is diuretic; hyoscyamus reduces swollen testicles; the genitals are effectively treated by juice of pencedannm, and by its seed in honey; strangury by three-oboli doses of agaric in one cyathus of old wine, by two-drachmae doses of root of trefoil in wine, and by one-drachma doses of daucum or of its seed. Sciatica is cured by pounded seed and leaves of erythrodanus, by panaces taken in drink and rubbed on the affected part, by polemonia, and by a decoction of the leaves of aristolochia. Agaric indeed cures both the tendon called 'broad' and pain in the shoulders, the dose being three oboli taken in one cyathus of old wine. For sciatica cinquefoil is both taken in drink and applied, as is also a decoction of scammony with barley meal added. The seed of either kind of hypericum is taken in wine. Affections and chafings of the seat are cured very quickly by plantain, condylomata by cinquefoil; if however these have already become callous, by eyclamen root in vinegar. The blue anagallis pushes back prolapsus of the anus; the red anagallis on the contrary makes it worse. Cotyledon is wonderfully good treatment for condylomata and for piles; so is, for swollen testicles, the application of root of acoron, pounded and boiled down in wine. Cato says that those carrying on their persons Pontic wormwood never suffer from chafing between the thighs. Other authorities add pennyroyal to the list of remedies; this, gathered by a fasting man and tied behind him, prevents pains in the groin or relieves those which have begun already.
LIX. Inguinalis ('groin-wort'), called by some argemonion, a plant growing anywhere in briar patches, needs only to be held in the hand to be of benefit.
LX. Superficial abscess is cured by panaces in honey, plantain with salt, cinquefoil, root of persollata administered as for scrofula; also by damasonium and by verbascum, pounded with its root, sprinkled with wine, wrapped round with its leaves, and heated, thus prepared, on embers, so that it may be applied hot. Those with experience have assured us that it makes all the difference if, while the patient is fasting, the poultice is laid upon him by a maiden, herself fasting and naked, who must touch him with the back of her hand and say: 'Apollo tells us that a plague cannot grow more fiery in a patient if a naked maiden quench the fire;' and with her hand so reversed she must repeat the formula three times, and both must spit on the ground three times. Other cures are mandrake root in water, a decoction of scammony root with honey, sideritis crushed with stale grease, marruvinm with stale axle-grease, or ehrysippiosanother plant named after its discovererwith plump figs.
LXI. Nymphaea heraelia, as I have said, takes away altogether sexual desire; a single draught of it does so for forty days; sexual dreams too are prevented if it is taken in drink on an empty stomach and eaten with food. Applied to the genitals the root also cheeks not only desire but also excessive accumulation of semen. For this reason it is said to make flesh and to improve the voice. Sexual desire is excited by the upper part of xiphium root given in wine as a draught; also by the plant called eremuos agrios and by ormenos agrios crushed with pearl barley.
LXII. But very high on the list of wonders is the plant orchis, or serapias, which has the leaves of leek, a stem a span high, and a purple flower. The root has two tubers, like testicles, so that the larger, or, as some put it, the thinner, taken in water excites desire; the smaller, or softer, taken in goat's milk checks it. Some say that this orchis has leaves like those of the squill, only smoother and smaller, and a prickly stem. The roots cure sores in the mouth and phlegm on the chest; taken in wine they are constipating. Satyrion is a sexual stimulant. There are two kinds of it: one with longer leaves thap those of the olive, a stem four fingers high, purple blossom, and a double root shaped like human testicles, which swells and subsides again in alternate years. The other kind has the further name of satyrios orehis, and is thought to be female. It is distinguished from the former kind by the spaces between the joints, by its more branchy, bushy shape, also by its root's being like a phallus. The plant is generally found near the sea.
This latter kind, if applied with pearl barley or by itself after being pounded, relieves swellings and affections of the privy parts. The root of the former kind, taken in the milk of a farmyard sheep, causes erections; taken in water, however, it makes them subside.
LXIII. The Greeks speak of a satyrion that has leaves like those of the lily, but red, smaller, and springing from the ground not more than three in number, a smooth, bare stem a cubit high, and a double root, the lower, and larger, part favouring the conception of males, the upper, and smaller, the conception of females. Yet another kind of satyrion they call erythraicon, saying that its seed is like that of the vitex, but larger, smooth and hard; that the root is covered with a red rind, and contains a a white substance with a sweetish taste, and that the plant is generally found in hilly country. They tell us that sexual desire is aroused if the root is merely held in the hand, a stronger passion, however, if it is taken in a dry wine, that rams also and he-goats are given it in drink when they are too sluggish, and that it is given to stallions from Sarmatia when they are too fatigued in copulation because of prolonged labour; this condition is called prosedamum. The effects of the plant can be neutralized by doses of hydromel or lettuce. The Greeks indeed always, when they wish to indicate this aphrodisiac nature of a plant, use the name satyrion, so applying it to crataegis, thelygonon, and arrenogonon, the seeds of which resemble testicles. Again, those carrying on their persons the pith of tithymallus branches are said to become thereby more excited sexually. The remarks on this subject made by Theophrastus generally a weighty authority, are fabulous. He says that the lust to have intercourse seventy times in succession has been given by the touch of a certain plant whose name and kind he has not mentioned.
LXIV. Tied to the part as an amulet sideritis reduces varicose veins and does its work without pain. Gout was a rarer disease within the memory, not only of our fathers and grandfathers, but also of our own generation. It is also itself a foreign complaint; had it existed in Italy in early times it would have received a Latin name. It must not be considered incurable, for many cases have been cured without treatment, and yet more with it. Useful remedies are roots of panaces with raisins, juice of henbane with meal, or the seed of henbane, scordion in vinegar, hiberis as already prescribed vervain beaten up with axle-grease, and the root of cyclamen, a decoction of which is also good for chilblains. Cooling applications for gouty pains are made from xiphion root, psyllion seed, hemlock with litharge or axle-grease, and aizotim for the first onset of red, that is hot, gout. Good for either kind however is erigeron with axle-grease, plantain leaves beaten up with a little salt added, and argemonia pounded with honey. Vervain too may be applied as a remedyor the feet may be soaked in the water in which it has been boiled
LXV. or the lappago that is like anagallis, but more branchy and leafy, and with a strong smell. This kind of plant is called mollugo; like it, but with rougher leaves, is asperugo. The juice of the former a is taken daily, the dose being one denarius by weight in two cyathi of wine.
LXVI. The sovereign remedy, however, for this complaint is phycos the lassion, or seaweed, which is like lettuce, and is used as a ground-colour for the purple of the murex; it is sovereign, not for gout only, but for all diseases of the joints, if applied before it becomes dry. There are moreover three kinds of it: one is broad, the second is rather long and inclining to red, and the third, which has curly leaves, is used in Crete to dye cloth. They have all the same medicinal uses. Nicander gave these too in wine for snakebite. A further remedy is the seed, soaked in water, of the plant I have called psyllion: one hemina of such seed is compounded with two spoonfuls of Colophonian resin and one spoonful of frankincense. Another highly valued remedy is made from leaves of mandrake pounded with pearl barley. When however ankles swell, water-mud kneaded with oil makes a wonderfully good plaster; for the joints the juice of the smaller centaury is very beneficial, as it is also for the sinews; beneficial too is centauris. For the sinews running across the shoulder blades, for the shoulders, for the backbone and the loins, a good remedy is betony, taken as prescribed for the liver; for the joints an application of cinquefoil, leaves of mandrake with pearl barley, or its root pounded fresh with wild cucumber or boiled down in water; for chaps on the toes the root of polypodium; for the joints juice of henbane with axle-grease, the decocted juice of amomum, a decoction too of centunculus, or fresh moss soaked in water and bound round the part until the water dries off, and also root of lappa boaria taken in wine. Cyclamen boiled down in water is a good remedy for chilblains and for all other affections caused by cold; for chilblains cotyledon too with axle-grease, leaves of batrachion and the juice of epithymum. Corns are extracted from the feet by ladanum mixed with beaver-oil, and by vervain in wine.
LXVII. Having now finished the complaints that affect separate limbs I shall go on to describe those that attack the whole body. Of remedies that are generally useful I learn that the best is dodecatheum, to be given in drink, a plant I have already described; next the roots of all kinds of panaces, especially good for long illnesses, and the seed is used for intestinal complaints; for general bodily pains however juice of seordion and also of betony, which taken in drink is specific for removing a leaden colour of the skin and restoring a more pleasing complexion.
LXVIII. Geranion is called by some myrris and by others myrtidas. It resembles hemlock, but with smaller leaves and shorter in the stem, round, and of a pleasant taste and smell. In this way it is described by our Roman authorities; but Greeks say that it has leaves a little lighter in colour than those of the mallow, thin stems, and downy, with branches at interval and two spans long; on them are the leaves, among which on the tips of the stems are miniature heads of cranes. A second kind has leaves like those of anemone, which are marked with rather long incisions, and a round root like an apple, sweet, and very beneficial to convalescents. The last seems to be the true geranion. It is taken in drink for consumption twice a day in doses of one drachma in three cyathi of wine; the same prescription is good for flatulence, and eaten raw the plant has the same effect. The juice of the root is good for ear trouble; for opisthotonic tetanus four-drachmae doses of seed are taken in drink with pepper and myrrh. Consumption is cured too by drinking plantain juice, and by plantain itself boiled and taken as food. Eaten with salt and oil on waking from sleep in the morning it is very refreshing. It is also given every other day to those who we say are wasting away, but to consumptives we give betony made up with honey into an electuary of the size of a bean, or agarie in raisin wine in two-oboli doses, or daucum with the greater centaury in wine. Cases of phagedaena, a word meaning bulimia as well as rodent ulcer, are treated by tithymallus with sesame.
LXIX. Of the maladies that affect the whole body sleeplessness is the most common. As remedies for it are recommended panaces, clymenos, aristolochiaby the smell or by bathing the headaizoum, that is houseleek, wrapped in black cloth and placed under the pillow without the knowledge of the patient. Onothera also, that is onear, is soporific although exhilarating in wine, having leaves like those of the almond tree, rose-coloured blossom, a bushy shape and a long root, which when dried smells of wine, and given in their drink soothes even wild beasts. Indigestion causing nausea is relieved by betony; it also if taken in drink after dinner promotes digestion; in doses of one drachma by weight in three cyathi of oxymel it also removes the after-effects of drink, as does agaric too taken in hot water after food. Betony is said to cure paralysis and so does hiberis as prescribed previously. It is also good for numbness of the limbs; so also is argemonia, by removing all symptoms indicating that surgical treatment (i.e. venesection) may be necessary.
LXX. Epilepsy is cured by the root of the panaces. I have called heraclion taken in drink with seal's rennet; three quarters of the mixture must be panaces. Other cures are plantain in drink, doses of one drachma of betony or three oboli of agaric in oxymel, leaves of cinquefoil in water, and also archezostis, but the last must be taken in drink for a year. Other cures are dried root of baccar crushed to powder and taken in hot water in doses of three cyathi with one of coriander, pounded centunculus in vinegar or honey or hot water, vervain taken in wine, three crushed berries of hyssop taken in water for sixteen days, equal quantities of peucedanum and seal's rennet taken in drink, crushed leaves of cinquefoil taken in wine for thirty days, powdered betony in doses of three denarii by weight with a cyathus of squill vinegar and an ounce of Attic honey, scammony in doses of two oboli with four drachmae of beaver-oil.
LXXI. The chills of fever are relieved by agaric taken in hot water, tertian fevers by sideritis with oil, by crushed ladanum, a plant found in grain fields, by plantain in hydromel taken in two-drachma doses within two hours before a paroxysm, juice of its root soaked or pounded, or by the root itself beaten up in water heated with hot iron. Some physicians have prescribed doses of three roots in three cyathi of water, changing three to four if the fever is quartan. If one takes, when bugloss is withering, the pith out of a stem and says that he does it to free so and so from fever, attaching to the patient seven leaves before a paroxysm begins, he is freed, it is said, from the fever. Another remedy is betony in doses of one drachma in three cyathi of hydromel, or agaric, especially in fevers attended with violent shivers. Some have prescribed doses of three cinquefoil leaves for tertians, of four for quartans, and of more for the other fevers; others prescribe for all three oboli with pepper in hydromel. Vervain in wine indeed is a remedy for fever even of beasts of burden, but for tertians the plant must be cut at the third joint, and for quartans at the fourth. For quartans and feverish shivers is taken in drink the seed of either kind of hypericum, powdered betony, which checks all shiverings, and panaces also, which is of such a heating nature that those about to travel through snow are recommended to take it in drink and to be rubbed with it. Violent chills are also checked by aristolochia.
LXXII. Phrenitis is cured by sleep, which will be induced by pouring on the head an infusion of peucedanum in vinegar, or the juice of either anagallis. On the other hand it is difficult to awaken sufferers from lethargus; this is done by touching the nostrils with euphorbeum in vinegar, or with the juice of peucedanum. For delirium betony is taken in drink. Carbuncles are made to burst by panaces, and cured by powdered betony in water, or by cabbage and frankincense with frequent draughts of hot water; or the ash from a burning coal extinguished in the patient's presence may be picked up with a finger and applied. Other remedies are pounded plantain and tithymallus characites.
LXXIII. Remedies for dropsy are: panaces; plantain as food, after dry bread without any drink; two-drachma doses of betony in two cyathi of wine or honey wine; agaric, or lonchitis seed, two spoonfuls for a dose taken in water; psyllion in wine; juice of either anagallis; root of cotyledon in honey wine; root of fresh ebulum, shaken only and not washed, a two-finger pinch for a dose, taken in an emma of old wine and hot water; root of trefoil in wine, two drachmae for a dose; the tithymallus called platyphyllon; seed of the hypericum known as caros; acte, which some identify with ebulum, the root, if there is no fever, being crushed in three cyathi of wine, or the seed being taken in dark wine; vervain also, a good handful being boiled down in water to one half. The most efficacious remedy however is believed to be the juice of chamaeacte. An of phlegm is relieved by plantain, by cyclamen root in honey, and by pounded leaves of ebulum in old wine. An application of the last cures boa also, an eruption of red pimples, and the juice of strychnos applied as liniment cures itch.
LXXIV. Erysipelas is treated with aizoum, pounded leaves of hemlock, and root of mandrakeit is cut into slices as is cucumber, hung first over must, then in smoke, and finally pounded taken in wine or vinegar. It is beneficial too to foment with myrtle wine, or to use as an ointment two ounces of mint with one ounce of native sulphur beaten np together in vinegar, or soot mixed with vinegar. There are several kinds of erysipelas, among them one called zoster, which goes round the patient's waist, and is fatal if the circle becomes quite complete. Remedies are: plantain with Cimolian chalk, penstereos by itself and the root of persollata; as remedies for the creeping forms can be used root of cotyledon with honey wine, aizoum, and the juice of linozostis with vinegar.
LXXV. Root of polypodinm made up into liniment is a remedy for dislocations, and the pain and swelling are taken away by seed of psyllion, plantain leaves beaten up with a little salt, ground seed of verbascum boiled in wine, and hemlock with axle-grease. The leaves of ephemeron are applied in the form of liniment to tumours and swellings that are still able to be dispersed.
LXXVI. The most striking symptom of jaundice is the effect upon the eyes; the bile penetrates even between the membranes, thin and close together as they are. Hippocrates says that if jaundice supervenes from the seventh day of a fever it is a fatal symptom. I however know of recoveries even from this desperate condition. But cases of jaundice occur without fever, and can be overcome by the greater centaury, taken in drink as I have prescribed, by betony, by three-oboli doses of agaric in a cyathns of old wine, and by three-oboli doses of vervain leaves taken for four days in a hemina of warmed wine. The quickest remedy however is juice of cinquefoil taken in doses of three cyathi with salt and honey. Three-drachmae doses of root of cyclamen are taken in drink while the patient is in a warm place protected from chilly draughtsthe medicine induces sweats full of galland good is done by leaves of tussilago in water, by seed of linozostis of either kind sprinkled in drink or boiled down with wormwood or chick peas, by hyssop berries taken with water, by the herb lichen, the patient during the treatment abstaining from all other vegetables, by polythrix administered in wine, and by struthion in honey wine.
LXXVII. A common complaint, affecting any part of the body, but especially an inconvenient part, is what are called boils, sometimes a fatal malady after surgical operations. Pounded leaves of pycnocomon with pearl barley are a remedy if the boil has not yet come to a head. Boils are also dispersed by applications of leaves of ephedron.
LXXVIII. Fistulas also form in any part of the body through the careless use of the surgeon's knife. The lesser centaury, if suppositories made from it are inserted with boiled honey, is a help; so is plantain juice poured into them, cinquefoil with salt and honey, ladanum with beaver-oil, and cotyledon with deer's marrow warmed and applied; the pith of verbascum root, cut as slender as a suppository, is inserted into the fistula, or there may be used root of aristolochia or juice of tithymallus.
LXXIX. Gatherings and inflammations are cured by an application of argemonia leaves, all indurations and gatherings by vervain, or by cinquefoil boiled down in vinegar, by leaves or root of verbascum, by an application of hyssop in wine, by fomenting with a decoction of acoron root, and by aizotim; for bruises, indurations, and for pitted sores in the flesh the remedy is illecebra. All foreign bodies buried in the flesh may be extracted by leaves of tussilago, by daucum, or by seed of leontopodium beaten up in water with pearl barley. To suppurations are applied leaves, or seed, of pycnocomon beaten up with pearl barley, likewise orchis. For affections of the bones a very efficacious cure is said to be an application of satyrion root, and for corroding sores and gatherings of all kinds an application of seaweed used while it is still wet. Root of alcima too disperses gatherings.
LXXX. Burns are healed by plantain, and by arctium so well that no scars are seen. A decoction in water of crushed arctium leaves is used as liniment for burns, and so are cyclamen roots with aizoum, and the plant itself of the hypericum I have called corissum.
LXXXI. Good for sinews and joints are plantain beaten up with salt and argemonia pounded in honey. Juice of peucedanum is rubbed all over those suffering from spasms or tetanus. For indurations of the sinews juice of aegilops is used as liniment, and for pains of the sinews erigeron (or epithymum) is so used in vinegar. Spasms and opisthotonic tetanus are benefited by thorough rubbing with seed of the hypericum known as caros, and this seed also benefits if taken in drink. Sinews even when severed are said to be healed by phrynion, beaten up or chewed, if it is applied immediately. Spasms, palsy, and opisthotonic tetanus are treated by root of alcima taken in hydromel. So taken it also warms rigors.
LXXXII. Haemorrhage is checked by the red seed of the plant paeoniathe root also is stypticbut by clymenus when blood is discharged from the mouth or nostrils, or when it flows from the bowels or the uterus; by lysimachia too taken in drink, or applied as liniment, or inserted into the nostrils, also by plantain seed, by cinquefoil taken in drink and applied, by hemlock seed beaten up in water and inserted into the nostrils should there be epistaxis, by aizoum and by root of astragalus. Ischaemon too and achillia check bleeding.
LXXXIII. Equisaetum, called hippuris by the Greeks, and found fault with by me when I discussed meadow land, it is in fact hair of the earth resembling horse hairreduces the spleen of runners if as much as the pot will hold is boiled down to one third in new earthenware, and taken in drink for three days in doses of one hemina. There must be abstinence from fatty foods for at least one day previously. The Greeks hold various views about this plant; some under the same name speak of a dark plant with leaves like those of the pine, assuring us that, so wonderful is its nature, its mere touch stanches a patient's bleeding; some call it hippuris, others ephedron, others anabasis. Their account is that it grows near trees, which it climbs, and hangs down in many dark, rush-like hairs as if from a horse's tail; that its little branches are jointed, and its leaves few, slender and small; that the seed is round, resembling that of coriander, that its root is ligneous, and that it grows mostly in plantations. Its property is to brace the body. Its juice, kept in the nostrils, checks haemorrhage therefrom, and it also checks looseness of the bowels. Taken in a sweet wine, in doses of three cyathi, it is good for dysentery, promotes passing of urine, and cures cough and orthopnoea, ruptures also and spreading sores. The leaves are taken in drink for complaints of the bowels and bladder; the plant itself reduces intestinal hernia. The Greeks recognise yet another hippuris, which has shorter, softer and paler hairs, making a very useful application in vinegar d for sciatica, and also for cuts, as it stanches the flow of blood. Nymphaea also beaten up is applied to wounds from blows, and peucedanum with cypress seed is taken in drink if blood is brought up through the mouth or flows from the lower passages. Sideritis has such a powerful effect that if bandaged to a gladiator's wound, however recent, it stops the bleeding, as does also the ash or cinders of fennel-giant, though more efficacious still is the fungus that grows about its root.
LXXXIV. For epistaxis however hemlock seed also beaten up in water and inserted into the nostrils is held to be efficacious, and so is stephanomelis in water. Ground betony taken in goat's milk checks haemorrhage from the breasts, as does crushed plantain. The juice of the latter is given to those who vomit blood. For sporadic bleeding however is recommended an application of persollata root with stale axle-grease.
LXXXV. For ruptures, sprains, and falls from a height remedies are: the greater centaury, gentian root beaten up or boiled down, or its juice, betony, and especially when the lesion is caused by straining the voice or sides, panaces, scordium, aristolochia in drink, agaric also for bruises and falls, the dose being two oboli taken in three cyathi of honey wine or, if there is fever, in hydromel, the verbascum with the golden flower, root of acoron, all the kinds of aizoum; the most efficacious preparation however being the juice of the greater aizoum, the broth too of symphytum or a decoction of the root, raw daucos, erysithalesthe flower is yellow, the leaves those of the acanthustaken in wine, chamaerops also and irio in soup, or any preparation of plantain, likewise.
LXXXVI. Sulla the dictator perished from phthiriasis; in the very blood of the patient creatures come to life that will eat up his flesh? The disease is combated by rubbing the whole body with juice of the taminian grape, or with hellebore juice and oil. Taminian grapes indeed boiled down in vinegar remove this nuisance even from garments.
LXXXVII. Ulcers are of many kinds, and the methods of treatment are many. To running sores is applied in warmed wine the root of any kind of panaces. A specific for drying them is the herb I have chironia; beaten up with honey it opens hard swellings, and affords relief to desperate cases of spreading ulcers; it is diluted with wine and combined with flower of copper, and seed, flower or root may be used indiscriminately. This plant with pearl barley is also good for old wounds, so too is heraclion siderion, apollinaris, psyllium and tragacantha. Scordotis with honey cleanses them; its powder consumes morbid excrescences of flesh, if sprinkled on them by itself. Polemonia heals ulcers that are called malignant; the greater centaury, whether sprinkled or applied as liniment, the tuft also of the lesser centaury, boiled down or beaten up, cleanses and thoroughly heals even chronic ulcers. The seed pods of clymenus are applied to fresh wounds. From gentian too is made a liniment for spreading ulcers; the pounded root is boiled down in water to the consistency of honey or the juice may be used; from gentian is made a lycium for wounds. Lysimachia is good treatment for fresh wounds, and plantain for ulcers of all kinds, especially for those of old men and babies. It is better when softened by fire, and with wax-salve cleanses the thickened lips of ulcers and arrests corrosive sores. The pounded plant when applied should be covered with its own leaves. Suppurations, gatherings and pitted ulcers are also dried up by chelidonia, wounds are healed so well that it is even used instead of spodium. It is also applied with axle-grease to sores that are already despaired of. Dittany taken in drink forces out arrows; an external application causes to fall out other kinds of weaponsthe dose for a draught is an obolus of the leaves in a cyathus of waterand bastard dittany is almost as effective; both too disperse suppurations. Aristolochia also eats away festering ulcers, with honey cleanses those that are foul, expels worms, the callosities also that form in ulcers and all things embedded in the flesh, especially with resin arrows and bone splinters; but the pits of ulcers it fills up by itself or with the addition of iris. For fresh wounds it is used in vinegar; for chronic ulcers vervain is used, or cinquefoil with salt and honey. The roots of persollata are applied to fresh wounds that have been inflicted by iron, and the leaves to old wounds, axle-grease being added to both with a covering of the plant's leaves. Other applications are damasonium, used as for serofula, and the leaves of verbascum in vinegar or wine. Peristereos is good for all kinds of ulcers, even when hard and festering. Running ulcers are cured by root of nymphaea heraclia, also by the root of cyclamen, by itself, in vinegar, or with honey. This last is also excellent for fatty tumours, as is hyssop for running ulcers, and peucedanum also, which when used for fresh wounds is so powerful as to exfoliate bones. The two kinds of anagallis also have this property, and check fluxes and the sores called nomae, being useful for fresh wounds, but especially for those on the flesh of the aged. Abscesses and foul ulcers may be treated with fresh leaves of mandrake and wax-salve, wounds with its root and honey or oil, or with hemlock added to wheat and neat wine. For herpes also, nomae and festering ulcers, aizoum may be used, as may erigeron for vermuinous sores, for fresh wounds root of astragalus, and for chronic ulcers either kind of hypocisthis, which cleanses them. The seed of leontopodium, beaten up in water and applied with pearl barley, extracts the heads of arrows, as does also the seed of pycnocomon. The juice of tithymallus characites heals gangrenes, phagedaenic sores and purulent ulcers, as does a decoction of the branches with pearl barley and oil; the roots of orchis moreover with honey cure even malignant sores, healing wounds without further addition, and whether dry or freshly gathered. Onothera heals ulcers that are becoming virulent. The Scythians treat wounds with scythice. For carcinoma argemonia applied with honey is very efficacious. For ulcers prematurely healed root of asphodel, boiled down as I have said, beaten up with pearl barley and applied, is good; but apollinaris is good for any kind of sore, and root of astragalus, beaten to powder, for ulcers that are running, and so is callithrix boiled down in water; specific however for sores caused by footwear is vervain, crushed lysimachia also, and dried nymphaea reduced to powder. But when these last have become chronic polythrix proves more useful.
LXXXVIII. Polycnemon is like ox cunila, and its seed resembles that of pennyroyal; it has a wood-like stem with many joints, and its clusters are scented, with a pungent but sweet smell. When chewed it is applied to cuts made by iron, but is taken off on the fifth day. Symphyton very quickly causes a scar to form, as also does sideritis, which is applied with honey. The seed and leaves of verbascum, boiled down in wine and beaten up, bring away everything embedded in the flesh, as do mandrake leaves with pearl barley, or cyclamen roots with honey. Trixago leaves crushed in oil are applied especially to spreading ulcers as is also seaweed beaten up in honey; betony, with the addition of salt, is used for carcinoma and chronic pustules on the neck.
LXXXIX. Warts are removed by argemonia in vinegar, by root of batrachium, which also brings away scabrous nails, and by an application of the leaves or juice of either kind of linozostis. All kinds of tithymallus remove all kinds of warts, hangnails, and pimples on the face. Ladanum smoothes away scars and restores the colour. A traveller who has artemisia and elelisphacus tied on him does not, they say, feel any fatigue.
XC. For diseases of women a very good general remedy is the black seed, taken in hydromel, of the plant paeonia; its root also has the same property. An emmenagogue is seed of panaces with wormwood, and a sudorific emmenagogue is scordotis, taken internally or applied locally. Betony in doses of one drachma to three cyathi of wine is taken for all uterine affections, and for those that result from childbirth. Excessive menstruation is checked by an application of achillia or a sitz bath in a decoction of it. To the breasts is applied henbane seed in winebut to the uterus henbane root in a plaster ... and also chelidonia. A pessary of panaces roots brings away retarded afterbirth or the dead foetus. The uterus is purged by panaces, taken by itself in wine, and by a pessary of it with honey. Polemonia taken in wine forces out the afterbirth, and the fumes of it when burnt correct the uterus. Juice of the lesser centaury taken in drink or used as a fomentation is an emmenagogue, and the root of the greater centaury, used in the same ways, is good for uterine pains, while if it is scraped and applied as a pessary it brings away a dead foetus. Plantain is applied as a pessary in wool for pain in the uterus; for hysterical suffocation it is taken in drink. But it is dittany that is of the greatest efficacy; it is an emmenagogue, and forces out the foetus when dead or lying transverselyan obolus of the leaves is taken in waterbeing so efficacious in these respects that it is not even introduced into the bedroom of pregnant women. Not only when taken in drink but also when used as embrocation or a fumigation it has medicinal power. Bastard dittany is very nearly as good, but for an emmenagogue it is boiled down with neat wine, the dose being one denarius by weight. Very many however are the ways in which aristolochia does good, for it is an emmenagogue, hastens the afterbirth, and brings away a dead foetus; myrrh and pepper being added it is taken in drink or used as a pessary. It also checks prolapsus of the uterus, whether used as fomentation, fumigation or pessary, especially the slender aristolochia. Hysterical suffocations and delayed menstruation are relieved by agaric taken in doses of three oboli to a cyathus of old wine, by a pessary of peristereos in fresh lard, and by antirrhinon with rose oil and honey. The root also of Thessalian nymphaea cures uterine pain when used as a pessary; taken in dark-red wine it checks excessive menstruation; on the contrary, root of cyclamen is an enxmenagogue if taken in drink or a used as a pessary; a sits bath in the decoction is a remedy for troubles of the bladder. Cissanthemos taken in drink forces out the afterbirth and heals the uterus. The upper part of the root of xiphium is an emmenagogue, the dose being a drachma taken in vinegar. Peucedanum calms hysterical suffocations by its smell when burnt; leucorrhoea is purged especially by psyllion in doses of one drachma to three cyathi of water. Seed of mandrake taken in drink purges the uterus; a pessary of its juice is an enimenagogue and brings away a dead foetus. Excessive menstruation again is checked by mandrake seed with live sulphur; on the contrary, menstruation is promoted by batrachium, taken in drink or food, a plant which, though when raw it has, as I have said, a burning taste, is made agreeable, when cooked, by salt, oil and cummin. Daucum in drink readily acts as an emmenagogue, and readily brings away the afterbirth; fumigation with ladanum corrects the uterus, and the plant is applied locally for pain there and ulceration. Scammony taken in drink or used as a pessary forces out a dead foetus. Either kind of hypericum, used as a pessary, acts as an eminenagogue; pre-eminently so, however, as Hippocrates believes, does crethmos, the seed, or the skin of the root, being taken in wine; it also brings away the afterbirth, and taken in water is helpful in hysterical suffocations, as is the root of geranion, which is specific for the afterbirth and for inflation of the uterus. Hippuris, taken in drink and applied as a pessary, purges the uterus, as does polygonus taken in drink. The root of alcima too is an enunenagogue, leaves of plantain a violent one, as is also agaric in hydromel. Artemisia beaten up is good for the uterus, applied as a pessary in iris oil or with fig or with myrrh. Its root taken in drink purges the uterus so violently that it expels a dead foetus. A sitz bath of a decoction of the branches is an enimenagogue, and also hastens the afterbirth; so too acts a drachma of the leaves taken in drink. For all the same purposes the leaves are also good when merely applied with barley meal to the base of the abdomen. Acoron too is beneficial for internal diseases of women, and so is either kind of conyza, and also crethmos. The two kinds of anthyllis, taken in wine, are very useful for uterine troubles, for griping pains there, and for delay of the afterbirth. Callithrix used for fomentations is healing to the uterus, removes albugo on the head, and beaten up in oil stains the hair. Geranion taken in a white wine, and hypocisthis taken in a red, check excessive menstruation. Hyssop relieves hysteria. The root of vervain, taken in water, is a sovereign remedy for all troubles at or after childbirth. Some physicians prescribe pencedanum in dark-red wine mixed with crushed cypress seed. But seed of psyllixun, boiled in water and taken while still warm, relieves all fluxes of the uterus. Symphyton beaten up in dark-red wine promotes menstruation. Scordotis taken in drink hastens delivery, the dose being a drachma of the juice in four cyathi of hydromel. Leaves of dittany given in water are excellent for this purpose. It is an established fact that a single obolus of them by weight immediately brings away the foetus, even if it is dead in the uterus, without any distress to the lying-in woman. Good in a similar way is bastard dittany, but slower, also cyclamen used as an amulet, cissanthemos taken in drink, and powdered betony in hydromel.
XCI. Arsenogonon and thelygonon are plants bearing clusters like the flowers of the olive, but paler, and a white seed like that of the poppy. It is said that thelygonon, taken in drink, causes the conception of a female; arsenogonon differs from it in having a seed like that of the olive, but in no other way; taken in drink this plant is said to cause the generation of males, if we care to believe it. Some hold that both plants are like basil, but that the seed of arsenogonon is double, resembling testicles.
XCII. For affections of the breasts the aizoum I have called a digitillum is an outstanding remedy. Erigeron in raisin wine makes the breasts richer in milk, as does soncum boiled with emmer wheat; the plant called mastos, however, is applied as liniment. The hairy affection appearing on the breasts at childbirth, brick-red spots on the face, and other skin tronbles, are removed by gentian, or by an application of nymphaea heraclia, and all kinds of spots by root of cyclamen. The grains of caccalia, mixed with melted wax, smooth the face, taking away the wrinkles, and all facial troubles are removed by root of acoron.
XCIII. Lycinm juice dyes the hair flaxen; hypericum, also called corissum, dyes it black, as does ophrys, a plant like indented cabbage, but with only two leaves. Polemonia, too, boiled down in oil, imparts a black colour. Depilatories I myself indeed regard as a woman's cosmetic, but now today men also use them. But very efficacious is held to be archezostis, as also the tithymalli, the juice being applied frequently with oil either in the sun or when the hairs have been pulled out. Hyssop in oil heals the itch in quadrupeds, and sideritis is specific for the quinsy in swine. But I must go on to describe the remaining kinds of plants.