xxxxxA Treatise on Scurvy, written by the Scottish physician James Lind in 1754, provided the long-
JAMES LIND 1716 -
xxxxxIt was in 1754 that the former Scottish naval surgeon James Lind published his major work A Treatise on Scurvy. He followed this up three years later with his On the Most Effectual Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen. To the seafaring community these works proved monumental in their importance and effect, and rightly earned for him the title "founder of naval hygiene in England". The value he placed on the juices of oranges, lemons and limes in the diet of long-
xxxxxIt did not come a moment too soon. The disease known as scurvy had been the scourge of seamen for centuries past, growing ever more serious as voyages became longer -
xxxxxIt was as a long-
xxxxxLate though it was in coming, by the end of the century scurvy had been eliminated in the British navy, disappearing, as one sailor put it, "as if by magic". The English seaman Captain James Cook paved the way for this development by proving the worth of citrus fruit on his voyages to the South Seas in the 1770s. Limes were the fruit routinely supplied, and it is for this reason that the English sailor is sometimes referred to as a "Limey".
xxxxxIncidentally, the disease scurvy -
Lind: by the Scottish artist Sir George Chalmers (c1720-
xxxxxThe eminent Scottish physician John Pringle (1707-
xxxxxAround this same time, a fellow Scotsman and physician called John Pringle (1707-
xxxxxFrom this experience he wrote his Observations on the Diseases of the Army, published in 1752. In this work he emphasized the importance of hygiene and good sanitation, defined the symptoms of typhus, and identified the various forms of dysentery. He also put forward the advanced idea that military hospitals should be immune from attack during a conflict, a suggestion that played a part in the establishment of the Red Cross in 1864 -
xxxxxIncidentally, we are told that it was Pringle who coined the term "influenza". It is possible that the illness was so named because it was thought that it was caused by a peculiar "influence" in the atmosphere.