pingui solo nec sicco. usus radicis ex vino vel aqua dysintericis, alvo citae, ruptis, convulsis.22
VII. Alypon cauliculus est molli capite, non dissimile betae, acre gustatu ac lentum mordensque vehementer et accendens. alvum solvit in aqua mulsa addito sale modico. minima potio duarum drachmarum, media quattuor, maxima sex, †ea purgationi quibus†1 datur e gallinaceo iure.223
VIII. Alsine, quam quidam myosoton appellant, nascitur in lucis, unde et alsine dicta est. incipit a media hieme, arescit aestate media. cum prorepit, musculorum aures imitatur foliis. sed aliam docebimus esse quae iustius myosotis vocetur. haec eadem erat quae helxine, nisi minor minusque hirsuta esset. nascitur in hortis et maxime in parietibus. cum teritur, odorem cucumeris reddit. usus 24eius ad collectiones inflammationesque et in eadem3 omnia in quae4 helxine,5 sed infirmius. epiphoris .
- 1ea purgationi quibus Jo. Müller: eximia purgatione quibus Mayhoff: ea purgatio quibusdam vet. Dal., Littré. Fortasse purgationi a quibusdam.
- 2iure Hermolaus Barbarus, edd.: fere d E r: ffere R: fferre V: malit datur in iure e gallinaceo vetere Mayhoff.
- 3 et in eadem (ni E) V R E: emendat d T: item eadem Mayhoff
- 4in quae ego: quae codd. et edd.
- 5helxine Hermolaus Barbarus: helxines Mayhoff: varia codd.
which is rich but not dry. The root is used in wine or water for dysentery, diarrhoea, ruptures and sprains.
VII. Alypon is a small sprout with a soft head, andAlypon. not unlike beet, sharp to the taste and viscous, very pungent and burning. In hydromel with a little salt added it loosens the bowels. The smallest dose is two drachmae, a moderate one four, the maximum being six. When given as a purge it is taken in chicken broth.a
VIII. Alsine, which some call myosoton, is foundAlsine. in groves; hence its name.b It begins to grow just after midwinter, and withers at midsummer. When it puts forth its leaves, they are like the ears of little mice. However, I shall describe another plant,c to which more properly would be given the name myosotis. Alsine would be just the same as helxine, were it not that it is smaller and less hairy. It grows in gardens and especially on walls.d When being bruised it smells like cucumber. It is used for gatherings and inflammations, and for all purposes for which helxine is employed, but with less efficacy.
- aIt is difficult to suggest a restoration of this sentence, but the general sense, I think, is that when used as a purge and not as a laxative alypon should be administered in chicken broth. Dioscorides tells us that the bowels might be injured by the use of alypon, and in § 95 we learn that chicken broth was used to mitigate such harmful effects. The various readings show that the text is corrupt. It is very strange that iure, the practically certain emendation of Hermolaus Barbarus, should appear in no extant MS.; the variants give some support to Mayhoff’s suggestion vetere. It may be that ea arose from a misplaced a, that Io. Müller’s purgationi is right, and that quibusdam (datur follows) should replace quibus. I print between daggers, as no emendation is very convincing. Dioscorides’ account of ἄλυπον is different from this chapter, and affords little or no help.
- bFrom the Greek ἄλσος (grove).
- cSee § 105.
- dPliny says in the first sentence that it grows in groves. He has expressed himself carelessly, but the first habitat is displaced in order to explain the name alsine, but the plant commonly grows in all the places named.