Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 393: 64-65

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Pliny: Natural History


L. Harundinis genera xxviii demonstravimus, non aliter evidentiore illa naturae vi quam continuis his voluminibus tractamus, siquidem harundinis radix contrita inposita filicis stirpem corpore extrahit, item harundinem filicis radix. et quo plura genera faciamus,1 illa quae in Iudaea2 Syriaque nascitur odorum unguentorumque causa. urinam movet cum gramine aut apii semine decocta, ciet et menstrua 86admota. medetur convulsis duobus obolis pota, iocineri, renibus, hydropi, tussi etiam suffitu magisque cum resina, furfuribus ulcerumque manantibus cum murra decocta. excipitur et sucus eius fitque elaterio similis. efficacissima in omni harundine quae proxima radici,3 efficaciora genicula. harundo Cypria, quae donax vocatur, corticis cinere alopecias emendat, 87item putrescentia ulcera. foliis eius ad extrahendos aculeos utuntur, efficacibus et contra ignes sacros collectionesque omnes. vulgaris harundo extractoriam vim habet4 recens tusa, non in radice tantum, multi5 enim et ipsam harundinem tradunt. medetur et luxatis et spinae doloribus radix in aceto inlita, eadem recens trita et in vino pota venerem concitat. harundinum lanugo inlata auribus obtundit auditum.



L. I have pointed outa twenty-eight kinds of reed,Reeds. and nowhere is more obvious that force of Nature which I describe in these books one after another, if indeed the root of the reed, crushed and applied, draws a fern stem out of the flesh, while the root of the fern does the same to a splinter of reed. To increase the number of the various reeds there is that which grows in Judaea and Syria and is used for scents and unguents; boiled down with grass or celery seed this is diuretic, and when made into a pessary acts as an emmenagogue. A cure for sprains, for troubles of the liver and of the kidneys, and for dropsy, is two oboli taken in drink; for a cough also inhalation is used, the addition of resin being an improvement; for scurf and running sores is used a decoction with myrrh. Its juice also is collected and made into a drug like elaterium. Of all reeds the parts nearest the root are the most efficacious, and the joints are more efficaciousb than other parts. The Cyprian reed, called donax, has a bark which, reduced to ash, is a remedy for mange and also for festering sores. Its leaves are used for extracting splinters, and are also good for erysipelas and for all gatherings. The common reed has the power to extract if freshly pounded, and not the root only, for many hold that the reed itself too has this property. The root applied in vinegar cures dislocations and pains of the spine; the same ground fresh and taken in wine is aphrodisiac. The down on reeds placed in the ears deadens the hearing.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938