Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 50-51

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Book XX

he recommends that the urine of a person who has lived on a cabbage diet should be kept, because when warmed it is a cure for pains in the sinews. I will add his actual words to explain his thought: “Little boysa if you bathe them with such urine, never become weak.” He also advises that the juice of cabbage should be poured warm into the ears, with wine added, and he insists that this treatment benefits those who are hard of hearing, and that impetigo by the same means is cured without ulceration.

XXXIV. Just because we have dealt with Cato itGreek opinions about cabbage. is well to put down now the views of the Greeks also, limiting ourselves to making good Cato’s omissions. If not overcooked they think that cabbage brings away bile, also that it loosens the bowels, checking diarrhoea however if it be boiled twice. As cabbage is the enemy of the vine, they say that it opposes wine; that if taken in food beforehand it prevents drunkenness, taken after drinking it dispels its unpleasant effects. They hold that cabbage taken as food greatly brightens the vision, and that the benefit is very great indeed if the juice of raw cabbage and Attic honey merely touch the corners of the eyes. They add that cabbage is very easily digested, and that its use as food clears the senses. The school of Erasistratus loudly declares that nothing is more useful than cabbage for the stomach and sinews, and he therefore prescribes it for paralysis and palsy, as well as for spitting of blood. Hippocrates prescribed twice-boiled cabbage and salt for coeliac trouble and dysentery, also for tenesmus and kidney troubles, holding also that its use as food gave a rich supply of milk to lying-in women and benefited

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938