somnium autem generum eorum radices scorpionibus adversantur.48
XXII. Coronopus oblonga herba est cum fissuris. seritur interim, quoniam radix coeliacis praeclare facit in cinere tosta.
XXIII. Et anchusae radix in usu est, digitali crassitudine. finditur papyri modo manusque inficit sanguineo colore, praeparat lanas pretiosis coloribus. sanat ulcera in cerato, praecipue senum, item adusta. liquari non potest in aqua, oleo dissolvitur, idque 49sincerae experimentum est. datur et ad renium dolores drachma eius potui in vino aut, si febris sit, in decocto balani, item iocinerum vitiis et lienis et bile subfusis. lepris et lentigini inlinitur ex aceto. folia trita cum melle et farina luxatis inponuntur, et pota drachmis duabus in mulso alvum sistunt. pulices necare radix in aqua decocta traditur.50
XXIV. Est et alia similis pseudoanchusa ob id appellata, a quibusdam vero echis aut doris et multis aliis nominibus, lanuginosior et minus pinguis, tenuioribus foliis languidioribus. radix in oleo non fundit rubentem sucum, et hoc ab anchusa discernitur. contra serpentes efficacissima potu foliorum vel seminis. folia ictibus inponuntur. virus serpentes fugat. bibitur et propter spinam. folium
their kinds are an antidote to the sting of the scorpion.
XXII. Hartshorn is a longish plant with fissures.aHartshorn, Sometimes it is cultivated, because its root, roasted in hot ashes, is a splendid remedy for coeliac complaints.
XXIII. Alkanet too has a useful root, which is ofAlkanet (Anchusa officinalis). the thickness of a finger. It is split into small divisions like the papyrus, and stains the hands the colour of blood; it prepares wools for costly colours.b Applied in wax ointment it heals ulcerous sores, especially those of the aged, and also burns. Insoluble in water, it dissolves in oil, and this is the test of genuineness. A drachma of it is given to be taken in wine for pains in the kidneys, or if there be fever, in a decoction of behen nut; also for affections of the liver and spleen and for violent biliousness. It is applied in vinegar to leprous sores and freckles. The pounded leaves, with honey and meal, are applied to sprains, and doses of two drachmae in honey wine check looseness of the bowels. Fleas are said to be killed by a decoction of the root in water.
XXIV. There is also another plant, which being like alkanet is called bastard alkanet, though some call it echisc or dorisd or by many other names; it is more downy than the other and less fleshy, the leaves are thinner and more flabby. The root in oil does not give out a red juice, by which test it is distinguished from true alkanet. The leaves or seed taken in drink are a very sure antidote to snake bite. The leaves are applied to stings and bites, and their strong smell keeps snakes away. A draught too is made from the plant for affections of the spine.
- aIn the leaves.
- bPretiosis coloribus can be dative or ablative. Two translations are possible: “prepares wools for (more) costly colours” or “prepares wools with costly colours”, i.e. with colours which if genuine would be costly. Book XXIV. 96: tingentibus et radicula lanas praeparat, “soapwort prepares wools also for dyers”, points to the former of these alternatives.
- cPerhaps Pliny has confused this with the Greek ἔχιος.
- d“The Dorian plant.”