Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 504-505

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Pliny: Natural History


LXVIII. Silvestrium quidem prunorum bacae, vel e radice cortex, in vino austero si decoquantur ita ut triens ex hemina supersit, alvum sistunt et tormina. satis est singulos cyathos decocti sumi.

LXIX. Et in his et sativis prunis est limus arborum quem Graeci lichena appellant, rhagadis et condylomatis mire utilis.


LXX. Mora in Aegypto et Cypro sui generis, ut diximus, largo suco abundant summo cortice desquamato, altior plaga sicca est mirabili natura. sucus adversatur venenis serpentium, prodest dysintericis, discutit panos omnesque collectiones, vulnera conglutinat, capitis dolores sedat, item aurium. splenicis bibitur atque inlinitur et contra 135perfrictiones. celerrime teredinem sentit. neque apud nos suco minor usus. adversatur aconito et araneis in vino potus. alvum solvit, pituitas taeniasque et similia ventris animalia extrahit. hoc idem praestat et cortex tritus. folia tingunt capillum cum fici nigrae et vitis corticibus1 simul coctis aqua caelesti. pomi ipsius sucus alvum solvit protinus. ipsa poma ad praesens stomacho utilia refrigerant, sitim faciunt. si non superveniat alius cibus, intumescunt. ex inmaturis sucus sistit alvum, veluti animalis alicuius in hac arbore observandis miraculis quae in natura eius diximus.



LXVIII. As for wild plums, their fruit or the skinwild plums. of their root, boiled down in dry wine from one hemina to one third, checks looseness of the bowels and colic. A cyathus of the decoction at a time makes a sufficient dose.

LXIX. Both on wild and on cultivated plum trees there forms a gummy substance called lichen by the Greeks and wonderfully beneficial for chaps and condylomata.

LXX. In Egypt and in Cyprus are mulberries of aMulberries and their uses unique sort, as I have already said.a If the outer rind be peeled off they stream with copious juice; a deeper cut (so wonderful is their nature) finds them dry.b The juice counteracts the poison of snakes, is good for dysentery, disperses superficial abscesses and all kinds of gatherings, heals wounds, and allays headache and ear-ache. For diseases of the spleen it is taken by the mouth and used as a liniment, as also for violent chills. It very quickly breeds worms. We Romans use the juice quite as much. Taken in wine it neutralizes aconite and the poison of spiders; it opens the bowels, expelling phlegm, tapeworm and similar intestinal parasites. The same effect also is produced by the pounded bark. The leaves boiled in rain water together with the bark of the dark fig and of the vine dye the hair. The juice of the fruit itself moves the bowels immediately; the fruit itself is for the time being good for the stomach, being cooling, though thirst-producing, and if no other food is taken afterwards, it swells up. The juice of unripe mulberries is constipating; there are marvels to be noticed about this tree, mentioned by me in my descriptionc of it, which suggest that it has some sort of soul.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938