This bulbous plant (Urginea maritima) is broadly distributed in the islands of the Mediterranean and the countries neighboring, in the south of Spain and Portugal, and in many instances is found far inland, even to an elevation as high as three thousand feet above sea level. It is one of the most anciently recorded remedies, being mentioned by Epimenides (294), a Greek writer of the seventh century B. C., who made such use of it that it became known as epimenidea. Theophrastus (633) mentions it, Pliny (514) notes its two varieties, Dioscorides (194) describes the making of vinegar of squills, whilst preparations of squill with honey were familiar remedies in Arabian medication. The forms employed by the empiricists of those remote times seem not to have been improved upon by the pharmacy even of the present day; indeed, attempts to improve the aqueous or acetous squill simples of ancient home medication by alcoholic extracts and tinctures, have resulted in failure.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.