This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
This disease was known to the ancients. The first distinct account of scurvy is contained in the history of the Crusades of Louis IX. against the Saracens of Egypt, during which the French army suffered greatly from it. Lord Anson's voyage, in which more than eighty of every hundred of the original crews perished from the disease, is familiar to every reader of history. This disease illustrated the importance of vegetable food to the human being, as it is a direct result of a diet free from vegetable substances. It used to be very prevalent in the English and American navies, but is now obviated by the ration of lime-juice in the former, and fresh or desiccated vegetables in the latter. It commences with a feeling of languor, or general debility and mental despondence; a sense of fatigue is experienced on the slightest exertion; the face is either pale or sallow, and presents an appearance of puffiness; the gums are swollen, soft, and of a purplish color, and bleed easily; the breath becomes offensive and an eruption appears on the body. The mucous surfaces frequently bleed, the feet become swollen and hard and painful, and a disposition is evinced to inflammation of a low grade of the viscrera, and also to hemorrhagic effusions. The tongue and appetite remain unaffected, and death is produced either by debility or hemorrhage--the intellect remaining sound to the last.
TREATMENT. -- Nothing will avail in the absence of fresh vegetable foods, and hence the chief treatment consists in giving vegetable food, or the vegetable acid, as citric acid or lemon-juice. Cabbage and potatoes are excellent, and milk is a good article of diet. If fresh vegetables cannot be obtained, dried fruits should be substituted. If the disease has advanced, and there is sponginess of the gums, myricin, rhusin, and hydrastin may be given in combination with capsicum and cream. If active hemorrhage occurs, the oils of turpentine, solidago, and mecca oil may be used to advantage. If chronic blood derangement follows, as is often the case, the alteratives should be given, of which my "Blood Purifier" (see page 469) is the best.