Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 166-167

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Pliny: Natural History

ad1 hunc modum medicorum nemo novit. ille eas volvae cum melle vel rosaceo vel irino vel lilino admovit, item ad ciendos menses secundasque. idem praestare potu fotuque dixit. instillavit auribus olidis2 sucum. suco3 inunxit cum vino vetere 41alvum.4 folia inposuit epiphoris. stranguriae et vesicis decoctum eius dedit cum murra et ture. alvo quidem solvendae vel in febri decoquatur5 quantum manus capiat in duobus sextariis aquae ad dimidias. bibitur sale et melle admixto nec non cum ungula suis aut gallinaceo decocta6 salubrius. purgationis causa putavere aliqui utramque dandam per se sive7 cum malva decoctam.8 thoracem purgant, bilem detrahunt, sed stomachum laedunt. reliquos usus dicemus suis locis.

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Book XXV

recognises its virtues after this fashion.a He used them as pessaries for uterine troubles, adding thereto honey, or oil of roses or of iris or of lilies, also as an emmenagogue and to bring away the after-birth. The same effects, he said, resulted from taking them in drink and from using them for fomentations. He dropped the juice into foul-smelling ears, and with the juice and old wine made an embrocation for the abdomen. The leaves he applied to fluxes from the eyes. A decoction of it with myrrh and frankincense he prescribed for strangury and bladder troubles. For loosening the bowels, however, or for fever, a handful of the plant should be boiled down to one half in two sextarii of water. This is drunk with the addition of salt and honey, and if the decoction has been made with a pig’s foot or a chicken added, the draught is all the more beneficial. Some have thought that as a purge both kinds should be administered, either by themselves or with mallows added to the decoction.b They purge the abdomenc and bring away bile, but they are injurious to the stomach. Their other uses we shall give in the appropriate places.d

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938