Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 320-321


Pliny: Natural History

infixa corpori extrahi, foliis cum axungia strumas discuti vel, si suppuraverint, erodi, compleri.


XVII. Ex argumento nomen accepit scorpio herba. semen enim habet ad similitudinem caudae scorpionis, folia pauca. valet et1 adversus animal nominis sui. est et alia eiusdem nominis effectusque sine foliis, asparagi caule, in cacumine aculeum habens et inde nomen.


XVIII. Leucacantham alii phyllon, alii ischada, alii polygonaton appellant, radice cypiri, quae commanducata dentium dolores sedat, item laterum et lumborum, ut Hicesius tradit, semine poto drachmis octo aut suco. eadem ruptis, convulsis medetur.


XIX. Helxinen aliqui perdicium vocant, quoniam perdices ea praecipue vescantur, alii sideritem, nonnulli parthenium. folia habet mixtae similitudinis plantagini et marruvio, cauliculos densos, leviter rubentes, semina in capitibus lappaceis adhaerescentia vestibus, unde et helxinen dictam volunt. sed nos qualis vera esset helxine diximus 42priore libro. haec autem inficit lanas, sanat ignes sacros et tumores collectionesque omnes et adusta, panos; sucus eius cum psimithio et guttura incipientia turgescere, item veterem tussim cyatho hausto et omnia in umido,2 sicut tonsillas, et aures3 cum rosaceo.



the leaves with axle-grease disperse scrofulous swellings, or, if they have suppurated, cause them to clear up and new flesh to be formed.

XVII. Association has given its name to the scorpion plant. For it has seed that resembles the tail of the scorpion, but only a few leaves. It has moreover power over the creature of the same name. There is also another kind, with the same name and properties, that is leafless, with the stem of asparagus, having on its head the sharp point which has given the plant its name.

XVIII. Leucacantha, also called phyllos, ischas, or polygonatum, has a root like that of cypirus, which when chewed relieves tooth-ache; pains also in the sides and loins, as Hicesius teaches, the seed or juice being taken in drink, and the dose being eight drachmae. The same plant is used for the cure of ruptures and convulsions.

XIX. Helxine, called by some perdiciuma (partridgeHelxine and perdicium. plant) because partridges are particularly fond of eating it, by others sideritis, and by a few people parthenium, has leaves that resemble partly those of the plantain and partly those of horehound, stalks small, close together and reddish in colour, and, in bur-shaped heads, seeds that cling to the clothes. Hence is derived, some hold, the name helxine.b The characteristics, however, of the genuine helxine I have described in the preceding book,c but this helxine dyes wool, cures erysipelas, every kind of tumour or boil, burns and superficial abscesses. Its juice with white-lead cures also incipient swelling of the throat, and a draught of a cyathus cures chronic cough and all complaints in moist parts, like the tonsils; with rose oil it is good

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938