Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

caufes violent pain, if care is not taken to have it removed. For this purpose, the Indians pafs, with the greatest circumfpection, a fharp pointed and fine needle, through the pores of the fkin, at the place where this enemy lies hid. Then they turn it in every direction round the tumour, in the midft of which he refides, that they may detach it from, the reft of the body, and get it away with the animal himself. When this tumour is examined with a glafs, the infect is feen inclofed in a fort of tranfparent pearl. There are likewife obferved in it, two of three fmall red points, which are the extremities of arteries. Now, if the blood paffed into the veins, by the extremities of the arteries, it would follow, that thefe red points, fo diftin&tly feparated, ought to unite, or at least to have fome communication with them. I do not deny all communication between the veins and arteries, but that fort only, which anatomists fuppofe to be made by anaftomofis. There is another kind, which is made by the ramifications of the arteries and veins, and this I admit.

Infects are likewife ufeful in the cure of difeafes. Experience teftifies, that they may be employed advantageoufly, not only for external wounds, but internal diforders. Phyficians dry thefe little animals in the air, or fome of their parts, reduce them to powder, and give them to their patients in a conyenient vehicle, or made into the form of confection, or conferve. Some digeft them in oil, and make a balfam of them; others kill them in oil of olives, and ufe the oil. Some diftill them while recent, which extracts a water from them, and reduces the reft to afhes, from which laft is drawn, by means of the first water, a fixed falt. Different reafons may be given for the virtues contained in thefe little animals. One, that the falt they yield, is more penetrating, and more volatile than that of others; that


[ocr errors]

they poffefs a natural oil, which produces good effects, and lastly, that they are endowed with a more efficacious fulphur.

I fhall not, I think, wander from my fubject, if I here mention those infects, that have hitherto been used in medicine. I begin with leeches, which, when applied externally, have the fame effect with cupping glaffes. The kind chofen for this operation is a fmall one, having its back marked with ftreaks, (Hirudo medicinalis.) They are not fo hurtful as the others. Before employing them, they must be kept some time in pure water, to purge them. The place they are to be applied to must be previously rubbed with nitre, blood or clay. When they are to be removed, let them be fprinkled with a little falt or afhes. No external ufe is made of them, but for fucking the blood. In fevere head-aches, they are applied to the temples; for gentle evacuations, they are fixed on the arms or feet; they are likewife applied to the hæmorrhoids, to open thofe that are clofe. Sometimes they are made use of for obftructions, in female cafes.

Earth worms are faid to produce excellent effects in medecine. They promote perfpiration, provoke urine, allay pain, foften, refolve, and diffipate conftipations, increase milk, and cure wounds. They are often used in cafes of apoplexy, in contractions of the limbs, and other accidents of the nerves and mufcles; in jaundice, dropfy and cholic, and parti cularly in rheumatifm. They are employed both in ternally and externally. When taken internally, they are bruised while frefh, mixed with wine, and ftrained through a cloth. Others dry them, and reduce them to powder. For external ufe, they are kept either alive, or after they are dead. Applica tions of living worms are good against the

cramp or


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

worms, when laid on the part affected. Dead worms are taken to affuage the pain, occafioned by a carious tooth, or the gout. In the firft cafe, the hollow of the spoilt tooth is filled with their powder; and in the laft, that powder is mixed with a quantity of meal, and applied to the part affected.

Of thofe infects which have feet without wings, fpiders are faid to be of great ufe in medicine. The great fpider, with the crofs. (Aranea diadema.) has been particularly recommended in intermitting fevers. For this purpofe, it is inclofed in a nut fhell, tied round the neck, or applied to the pulfe, which, it is said, carries off the fever. Some perfons have advised as a cure for the ague, a fpider's web, mixed with the white of an egg and foct, which they apply to the pulfe. A fpider's web is advantageously used in hæmorrhages.

The Onifci are not less useful. These insects affist digestion, are a good attenuant and aperient; with thefe qualities, it is not furprifing that they fhould ferve to diffolve vifcidities, to open the vital organs in jaundice, gravel, retention of urine, and cholic; and to restore loft appetite, arifing from foulnefs of the ftomach. External applications are alfo made of them for difeafes of the eyes, pain of the ears, and inflammation of the throat. The powder of them is mixed with honey, and rubbed on the diseased part. They are applied living, for the cure of that fpecies of ulcer, called Phadagæna, which eats like a


The filk-worm alfo deferves a place here. After being dried, and reduced to powder, they are sprinkled on the crown of the head, to defend it against vertigos and convulfions. Their web or filk produces the fame effect; for, if velvet is reduced to powder, and

and given to those troubled with the falling fickness, they are relieved. The fmoke of filk ftuffs burnt, is likewife of fervice to women fubject to diseases of the matrix. The powder of burnt caterpillars, taken like tobacco, ftops bleeding at the nofe. Earwigs fortify the nerves, and are good againft convulfions. They may be infused in oil, and after being left there for fome time, they must be boiled, and laid upon the diseased parts. The powder of this infect, mixed with the urine of a hare, and put into the ears, is good for deafness.

Those who have no repugnance at fwallowing lice, will find them a fpecific against the jaundice. But this remedy proved fatal in one instance, to a youth, in whofe ftomach, when he was opened,a great quantity of this loathfome infect was found. Some ule them in agues; fwallowing four or five of them during the fit. It is certain, that these insects fuck the bad humours from the bodies of children. Scorpions,reduced to afhes by fire, and taken in powder, promote the difcharge of urine, retained by the gravel or ftone. They furnish likewife a remedy against their own bite. It is only neceffary to crush them upon the wound, or to anoint the place with oil of almonds, in which these animals have been infufed. The tick burnt to powder, and spread on the head, makes the hair fall off. It cures the Erysipelas and itch. Bugs burnt and taken in powder, expell the after-birth. If the head is anointed with oil, in which the fea polypus is boiled, the hair falls off.

Winged infects, with membranous wings, are alfo of various ufes in medecine. The powder of dried bees makes the hair grow, if the place they have fallen from is rubbed with it. Honey, on account of its balfamic quality, is agreeable to the breast, to the lungs and reins. Wax, applied to wounds, cleanfes


them, affuages the pain and cures them; and this is the reafon, why it is an ingredient in plaifters. It foftens corns on the feet, fo that they are easily taken out. For this end, it is mixed with turpentine, in which has been put a portion of bruifed verdigrease; of this is made a plaifler to be applied to the corn.

Crickets are used to fortify weak fight, the liquid fubftance being expreffed and put into the eyes. They likewise soften the glands, when the fame fubftance is rubbed on them. Common flies are emollient, abftergent, and make the hair grow, when, after being bruifed, they are applied to the bald part. The water diftilled from them, is good againft difeafes of the eyes. When used, it must be made into a plaifter with the yolk of an egg. Galen approves this remedy. It likewife makes the hair to grow, removes freckles, and reftores hearing. One perfon, fure that no purgative could have produced the effect, fwallowed four or five gnats, and was effectually purged. It is likewife faid, that the red gnats, taken in infufion, are an excellent remedy against the falling fickness. Oil from the aphides was much efteemed formerly. Wafps have the fame qualities as millepieds; that is, they provoke urine, and bring away gravel. The fpongy excrefcences, which are feen on wild rofes, are good against the gravel, but have that property, merely because they ferve as a neft to a fpecies of ichneumon. If, like tobacco, one fmokes the neft of wafps, it will appease the pain of the tooth-ach.

The other kind of infects with hard wing-cafes, are not lefs useful in medicine. The cochineal infects provoke urine, like the millepieds, because like them, they contain a deal of volatile falt. The powder of this infect, mixed with fugar, is also useful against the cholic, the ftone, and the meafles. Flying



« ZurückWeiter »