Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 232-233

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Pliny: Natural History

macerantur atque ita adversus capillos1 caput inungitur.

LXXXVI. Fit et ex callitriche sternumentum. folia sunt lenticulae, caules iunci tenuissimi radice minima. nascitur opacis et umidis, gustatu fervens.


LXXXVII. Hysopum in oleo contritum phthiriasi resistit et prurigini in capite. est autem optimum Cilicium e Tauro monte, dein Pamphylium ac Zmyrnaeum. stomacho contrarium purgat cum fico sumptum per inferna, cum melle vomitionibus. putant et serpentium ictibus adversari tritum cum melle et sale et cumino.


LXXXVIII. Lonchitis non, ut plerique existimaverunt, eadem est quae xiphion aut phasganion, quamquam cuspidi similis semine: habet enim folia porri rubentia ad radicem et plura quam in caule, capitula personis comicis similia, parvam exserentibus linguam, radicibus praelongis. nascitur in sitientibus.


LXXXIX. e diverso xiphion et phasganion in umidis. cum primum exit, gladii praebet speciem caule duum cubitorum, radice ad nucis abellanae figuram fimbriata, quam effodi ante messes oportet, siccari in umbra. superior pars eius cum ture trita, aequo pondere admixto vino, ossa fracta capite2 extrahit aut quicquid in corpore suppurat, vel si calcata sint ossa 139serpentis; eadem contra venena efficax. caput in


Book XXV

this the head is rubbed in the contrary way to the hair.

LXXXVI. From callithrix also is made a snuff. This plant has the leaves of the lentil; the stems are very slender rushes and the root is very small. It grows in shady, moist places, and has a hot taste.

LXXXVII. Hyssop crushed in oil is good for phthiriasis and itch on the scalp. The best comes from Mount Taurus in Cilicia, the next best from Pamphylia and Smyrna. Upsetting the stomach, it purges by stool if taken with figs, by vomitings if taken with honey. Pounded with honey, salt, and cummin it is also supposed to counteract the poison of snake bites.

LXXXVIII. Lonchitis is not, as most people have thought, the same plant as xiphion or phasganion, although the seed is like a spear point; for it has leaves like those of the leek, reddish near the root and more numerous than on the stem, little heads like the masks of comedy, which put out a small tongue, and very long roots. It grows in thirsty soils.

(LXXXIX.) Xiphion or phasganion on the other hand grows in moist soils. When it first leaves the ground it presents the appearance of a sword, has a stem two cubits high, and a fringed root like a filbert, which must be dug up before harvest and dried in the shade. The upper part of it, beaten up with frankincense and mixed with an equal quantity by weight of wine, extracts bone splinters from the head and all suppurating matter in the body, or any snake bones that have been trodden on; the plant also counteracts poisons.a Headache is relieved by

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938