Putrid gums and 'dead men's cloaths': James Lind aboard the Salisbury

J R Soc Med. 2003 Dec;96(12):605-8. doi: 10.1177/014107680309601213.


18th century sailors often suffered from scurvy. In 1747 James Lind conducted his classic experiments aboard the Salisbury, in which he cured scurvy with oranges and lemons. The Royal Navy did not introduce citrus rations until 1795. The original ship's papers allow the circumstances of the experiment to be reconstructed. The relevant patrol began in March 1747, and Lind's experiment began after 8 weeks at sea. The muster roll records almost no sickness aboard until the ship returned to Plymouth in June. This is at odds with Lind's account and suggests an antisickness official culture, which may have contributed to the neglect of his work.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Citrus / history*
  • History, 18th Century
  • Humans
  • Naval Medicine / history*
  • Scurvy / history*
  • Ships / history*
  • United Kingdom