Among edible molluscs (having soft skeletons) which possess certain curative properties, the Cuttle (Sepia officinalis) deserves notice. It is found in some of our European seas, being known to Cornish fishermen as Squid, or Cuddles. It lives in shallow water, owning a broad internal bone-plate, and under its throat a bladder, or bag, containing a humour which is blacker than ink; such juice (Sepice succus) being discharged defensively into the surrounding water when the creature is pursued, so as to intercept the sight of the fishermen; it is dried, and used commercially in this country as a pigment for artists, and as a medicine of considerable efficacy. The Cuttle finds a place in fishermen's baskets all along the sea-coasts of France, and Italy, being sold for cooking in oil, and offered in the streets to passers-by, with the commendatory words "It is good, very good".


Broths made from this mollusc were esteemed of old for remedying urinary troubles, and several diseases of the skin. Atheneeus taught how to concoct a Cuttle sausage; and in the present day about the Neapolitan markets may be seen the arms, or tentacles of this fish cut up into portions, ready for cooking. In Greece a black broth is prepared by the poor, and is found to be excellent when composed of small Cuttlefish (including their ink-bags) boiled up with rice, and other vegetables. Modern Greeks, and Romans deem Cuttle eggs (which are to be found in clusters on the beach) a great delicacy. The shell, or bone-plate, is known technically as the "sepiostaire," or "pounce." A sauce of reduced Espagnole, coloured deeply by ink from the bag of this mollusc, is sent to table, together with the cartilaginous plate at the back of the creature, trimmed, and stewed. It is attractive, refined, and digestible. The black humour which the Cuttlefish discharges into the sea when pursued, possesses distinct medicinal properties. Its primary, and essential toxic action when given in considerable doses is to cause congestion of the veins, first about the liver, and biliary organs, and then throughout the body.

If administered in reduced quantities, Cuttle-juice lessens venous turgidity, particularly for women about the child-bearing organs. Likewise for persons of each sex, sluggish piles become materially relieved by taking the Sepia juice sufficiently diluted. In token, as it were, of the frequent juxtaposition of certain maladies in some particular quarter, and their appropriate remedies, the Cuttlefish is found on the sea-board where torpidity of the liver, piles, and congested states of the veins specially prevail. The Romans invariably took out the eyes of the Cuttlefish before cooking it.

"Age, nunc jam Jube oculos elidere, itidem ut sepiis faciunt, coqui".

Futhermore, the Cuttle-juice has proved specific for curing recent ringworm.