Wednesday 8 September 2004 2.10pm
> Cider at sea to reduce risk of scurvy.
I think the fighting abiltiies of your pirate crew might be alarmingly reduced on the quantities needed to make any difference...
"In 1747 James Lind, a young naval surgeon with England's coastal fleet, conducted a controlled experiment aboard the HMS Salisbury. He administered six of the most frequently prescribed scurvy "remedies" to a selected group of suffering sailors: two men drank a quart of cider a day; two gargled elixir of vitriol (a strong acid); two got spoonfuls of vinegar; two downed seawater; two ate oranges and lemons; and two ate a paste made of balsam, garlic, Mustard
seed, myrrh, and radish root, all washed down with barley water. Lind carefully recorded the results. The citrus eaters, of course, made a full recovery; the cider drinkers showed a slight improvement (cider, according to a table at the back of Bown's book, contains a trace of vitamin C). The other sailors showed no improvement at all. Lind's findings were borne out a decade and a half later on the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook, who kept his men virtually scurvy-free by providing a regular diet of fresh fruits and vegetables."
Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail