Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 348-349

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Pliny: Natural History

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XXXVI. Buprestim magna inconstantia Graeci in laudibus ciborum etiam habuere, iidemque remedia tamquam contra venenum prodiderunt. et ipsum nomen indicio est boum certe venenum esse, quos dissilire degustata fatentur. quapropter nec de hac plura dicemus. est vero causa quare venena monstremus inter gramineas coronas,1 nisi libidinis causa expetenda alicui videtur, quam non aliter magis accendi putant quam pota ea?

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XXXVII. Elaphoboscon ferulaceum est, geniculatum digiti crassitudine, semine corymbis dependentibus silis effigie, set non amaris, foliis olusatri.2 et hoc laudatum in cibis—quippe etiam conditum prorogatur—ad urinam ciendam, lateris dolores sedandos, rupta, convulsa sananda, inflationes discutiendas colique tormenta, contra serpentium omniumque aculeatorum ictus, quippe fama est hoc pabulo cervos resistere serpentibus. fistulas quoque radix nitro addito inlita sanat, siccanda autem in eo usu prius est, ne suco suo madeat, qui contra serpentium ictus non facit deteriorem eam.

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XXXVIII. Scandix quoque in olere silvestri a Graecis ponitur, ut Ophion et Erasistratus tradunt.

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Book XXII

XXXVI. Buprestis the Greeks with great inconsistencyBuprestis. went to the length of including among their praised foods, and yet they prescribed correctives of it as though it were poison, and the mere name implies that it is poison to oxen at any rate,a which it is allowed burst when they taste it. Wherefore it is oneb of the plants about which I shall not speak at length. Is there indeed a reason why I should describe poisons when dealing with grass crowns, unless there be someone who thinks that for the sake of lust buprestis is desirable, which taken in drink is the most potent aphrodisiac known?c

XXXVII. Elaphoboscon (wild parsnip) is a plantElaphoboscon. like fennel-giant, with a jointed stem of the thickness of a finger, the seed in clusters hanging down like hartwort, but not bitter, and with the leaves of olusatrum.d This too has been praised as a food—in fact it is even preserved for future use—being good as a diuretic, for soothing pains in the side, for curing ruptures and spasms, for dispersing flatulence and colic, and for the wounds of snakes and of all stinging creatures—in fact report has it that deer by eating it fortify themselves against snakes.e Fistulas too are cured by the application of the root with saltpetre added, but when used in this way it must first be dried, so that it may not be soaking with its own juice, although the latter does not impair its efficacy as a remedy for snake bites.

XXXVIII. Scandix (chervil) too is classed by theScandix. Greeks as a wild vegetable, as Ophion and Erasistratus report. A decoction of it too tones up loose

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938