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James Lind: A Treatise of the Scurvy, 1753.

James Lind: A Treatise of the Scurvy, 1753.

Of the Prevention of the Scurvy

A few quick excerpts …. ………….

“On the 20th May, 1747, I took twelve patients in the scurvy on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them. They all in general had putrid gums, the spots and lassitude, with weakness of their knees. “

“The consequence was that the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of the oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them being at the end of six days fit for duty.”

“As I shall have occasion elsewhere to take notice of the effects of other medicines in this disease, I shall here only observe that the result of all my experiments was that oranges and lemons were the most effectual remedies for this distemper at sea. I am apt to think oranges preferable to lemons, though it was principally oranges which so speedily and surprisingly recovered Lord Anson’s people at the Island of Tinian, of which that noble, brave and experienced commander was so sensible that before he left the island one man was ordered on shore from each mess to lay in a stock of them for their future security. … Perhaps one history more may suffice to put this out of doubt.” ………………

The derogatory term “limey” was given to British Navy sailors because they were required to carry limes or lemons to prevent scurvy, starting in 1795.

From 1795-1865 there was not a single case of scurvy in the British Navy, however merchant ships continued to have many victims dying of scurvy.

It wasn’t until 1932 when the chemical structure of Vitamin C was discovered that “mainstream medicine” had a single chemical to explain the citrus/scurvy connection and began to acknowledge that Scurvy was a nutritional problem.

It sounds a bit silly looking back.

How could people ignore such evidence?

We call it common sense but we don’t always use it.

What health problems of today will have a similar ring in a 100 years or so?


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