Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 286-287


Pliny: Natural History

tussi daucum, item Scythica herba; eadem1 omnibus pectoris vitiis. tussi et purulenta excreantibus obolis tribus in passi totidem, verbascum cuius est 29flos aureus. huic tanta vis ut iumentis etiam non tussientibus modo sed ilia quoque trahentibus auxilietur potu, quod et de gentiana reperio. radix caccaliae commanducata et in vino madefacta non tussi tantum sed et faucibus prodest. hysopi quinque rami cum duobus rutae et ficis tribus decocti thoracem purgant, tussim sedant.


XVI. Bechion tussilago dicitur. duo eius genera: silvestris ubi nascitur subesse aquas credunt, et hoc habent signum aquileges. folia sunt maiuscula quam hederae quinque aut septem, subalbida a terra, superne pallida, sine caule, sine flore, sine semine, radice tenui. quidam eandem esse arcion et alio nomine chamaeleucen putant. huius aridae cum radice fumus per harundinem haustus et devoratus veterem sanare dicitur tussim, sed in singulos haustus passum gustandum est.


XVII. Altera a quibusdam salvia appellatur, similis verbasco. conteritur et colata calfit atque ita ad tussim laterisque dolores bibitur, contra scorpiones



cough are daucum and the Scythian herb. The last is helpful for all chest complaints. For cough and spitting of pus, the dose being three oboli in the same amount of raisin wine, the golden-flowered verbascum is a good remedy. The potency of this plant is so great that beasts of burden that are not only suffering from cough but also broken-winded, are relieved by a draught, and the same I find is true of gentian. The root of caccalia, soaked in wine and chewed,a is good not only for cough but also for the throat. A decoction of five sprays of hyssop, two of rue, and three figs, clears the chestb and soothes the cough.c

XVI. Bechion is also called tussilago. There areBechion. two kinds of it. Wherever the wild kind grows it is believed that springs run under the surface, and the plant is considered a sign by the water-finders. The leaves are rather larger than those of ivy, numbering five or seven, whitish underneath and pale on the upper side. There is no stem, or flower, or seed, and the root is slender. Some think it is the same as arcion, and chamaeleuce under another name. The smoke of this plant, dried with the root and burnt, is said to cure, if inhaled deeply through a reed, an inveterate cough, but the patient must take a sip of raisin wine at each inhalation.

XVII. The second kind is called by some salvia, being like verbascum. Finely ground, strained and warmed, it is taken in drink for a cough and pains in the side; this prescription is also a remedy for

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938