Bitumen. Its characteristic and physical properties; Medicinal and formal uses.

April 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

“The ancients stained their statues with bitumen, which makes it the more remarkable that they were afterwards fond of covering them with gold.” (B 34, c 9)

“In the lake Asphaltites, in Judæa, which produces bitumen, no substance will sink, nor in the lake Arethusa.” (B 2, c 106)

“Bitumen, to be of good quality, should be extremely brilliant, heavy, and massive; it should also be moderately smooth, it being very much the practice to adulterate it with pitch. Its medi- cinal properties are similar to those of sulphur, it being naturally astringent, dispersive, contractive, and agglutinating: ignited, it drives away serpents by the smell.” (B 35, c 51)

“Taken internally, with wine, it alleviates chronic coughs and difficulty of respiration.” (ibid)

“Taken internally with vinegar, it dissolves and brings away coagulated blood.” (ibid)

“It staunches blood also, heals wounds, and unites the sinews when severed.” (ibid)

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