Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 336-337

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Pliny: Natural History

extrahit et excrescentia in sedibus. spinae quoque ac lumborum sanguinem corruptum trahit inlitum semen, et potum in iure gallinacei decoctum aut cum beta et lente. cortex seminis liventibus colorem reddit. Magi heliotropium in1 quartanis quater, in tertianis ter adligari iubent ab ipso aegro precarique eum, soluturum se nodos liberatum, et iacere2 non exempta herba.


XXX. Aliud adianto miraculum: aestate viret, bruma non marcescit, aquas respuit, perfusum mersumve sicco simile est—tanta dissociatio deprehenditur—unde et nomen a Graecis alioqui frutici topiario. quidam callitrichon vocant, alii polutrichon, utrumque ab effectu. tinguit enim capillum et ad hoc decoquitur in vino cum semine apii adiecto oleo copiose,3 ut crispum densumque faciat; et 63defluere autem prohibet. duo eius genera: candidius et nigrum breviusque. id quod maius est, polytrichon, aliqui trichomanes vocant. utrique ramuli nigro colore nitent, foliis felicis, ex quibus inferiora aspera ac fusca sunt, omnia autem contrariis pediculis densa ex adverso inter se,4 radix nulla. umbrosas petras parietumque aspergines ac fontium maxime



at any rate draws warts out by the root, as well as growths in the seat. Corrupt blooda also about the spine or in the loins is withdrawn by an application of the seed, and by a draught or decoction of it in chicken broth, or with beet and lentils. The husk of the seed restores the natural colour to livid patches. The Magi recommend that the patient himself should tie on himself heliotropium, four pieces if the ague be quartan and three if it be tertian, and to say in prayer that he will untie the knots only when the fever has left him, and to lie in bed without taking the plant off.

XXX. Maidenhair too is remarkable, but in otherMaidenhair. ways. It is green in summer without fading in winter; it rejects water; sprinkled or dipped it is just like a dry plant—so great is the antipathy manifested—whence too comes the name given by the Greeksb to what in other respects is a shrub for ornamental gardens. Some call it lovely hairc or thick hair,d both names being derived from its properties. For it dyes the hair, for which purpose a decoction is made in wine with celery seed added and plenty of oil, in order to make it grow curly and thick; moreover it prevents hair from falling out. There are two kinds: one is whiter than the other, which is dark and shorter. The larger kind, thick hair, is called by some trichomanes.e Both have sprigs of a shiny black, with leaves like those of fern, of which the lower are rough and tawny, but all grow from opposite footstalks, close set and facing each other; there is no root. It is mostly found on shaded rocks, walls wet with spray, especially the grottoes of fountains, and on boulders streaming

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938