Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Scurvy

  • A foul “sailor’s mouth” of a different kind

    Richard de GrijsSydney, Australia Johnny Depp seems to have taken his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean quite literally. His appearance at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival unleashed a minor scandal as fans’ complaints about his supposedly “rotting teeth” went viral.1 While Depp should be able to afford…

  • Liver, lime, and vitamins

    The history of vitamins traces back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, who observed that certain foods were important in maintaining health. These observations were later supplemented by clinical studies. Among these studies were those of the Russian physician Nikolai Lunin. As a student in Basel in 1881, he fed groups of mice with…

  • David Macbride: On scurvy and the art of tanning

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel David Macbride (1726–1778) of the county of Antrim, Northern Ireland, was an Irish physician who contributed to the treatment of scurvy1 and to the art of tanning.2 In his youth, he was apprenticed to a local surgeon and served for a short time as a surgeon’s mate on a Navy hospital…

  • John Woodall, author of The Surgeon’s Mate

    John Woodall was a seventeenth century English physician and Paracelsian chemist known for his writings on medicine and health. Born around 1570 in Warwickshire, he was apprenticed at the age of sixteen to a London barber surgeon but did not finish his apprenticeship. From the age of nineteen in 1589, he gained experience as a…

  • “Plague of the Sea, and the Spoyle of Mariners”—A brief history of fermented cabbage as antiscorbutic

    Richard de Grijs Sydney, Australia   Germans eating sauerkraut. Hand-colored etching by James Gillray (1756–1815), published 7 May 1803. (© National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG D12809; CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) “. . . those affected have skin as black as ink, ulcers, difficult respiration, rictus of the limbs, teeth falling out and, perhaps most revolting of…

  • Darling of Panama

    Enrique Chaves-Carballo Kansas City, Kansas, United States Samuel Taylor Darling, widely considered as the foremost American tropical parasitologist and pathologist of his time, was born in Harrison, New Jersey on April 6, 1872. He studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, graduating in 1903 at the top of his class and…

  • Scurvy before James Lind

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Nathaniel Dance. BHC2628 Cures of disease are still relatively uncommon. Scurvy is an example of a disease well recognized but whose cause eluded doctors for centuries until an empirical curative remedy and later a specific cause were discovered. In more recent times Koch’s discovery…