Scurvy is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a prolonged deficiency of vitamin C, resulting in bleeding gums, loosening of teeth, joint stiffness and swelling, slow wound healing and bleeding under the skin.
British ships took kraut on voyages to prevent scurvy due to its ability to keep well without refrigeration, and one famous ship captain, James Cook, actually ordered 25,000 pounds of sauerkraut to outfit two ships.
American and Canadian sailors on long voyages knew they could eat cranberries to protect themselves from scurvy -- making them a cranberry counterpart to British 'limeys.'
Tarragon leaves are rich in iodine, mineral salts and vitamins A and C. In the past tarragon was used to prevent scurvy.
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, but loses much of this shortly after being squeezed. Sailors used to travel with lemons to help prevent scurvy.
James Lind (1716-1794) was a Scottish physician who recommended that fresh citrus fruit and lemon juice be included in the seamen's diet to eliminate scurvy. The Dutch had been doing this for almost two hundred years. Lind's recommendation was ignored. Another Scottish physician, Sir Gilbert Blane, as head of the Navy Medical Board in 1795, was able to convince the Navy to require the use of citrus juice to prevent scurvy.
Limes are packed with Vitamin C and were eaten on ships to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by that vitamin deficiency. In the eighteenth century, all British naval ships assigned to long journeys were required to carry limes. The nickname “limeys” for British sailors has continued to this day.
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