James Lind

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James Lind
EducationHigh School, Edinburgh Edinburgh University (MD 1748) Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (LRCPE)
Known for prevention of maritime diseases and cure for scurvy

Lind, James,

1716–94, English naval surgeon. Considered the founder of naval hygiene in England, Lind observed on a ten-week cruise (1746) that 80 seamen of 350 came down with scurvyscurvy,
deficiency disorder resulting from a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the diet. Scurvy does not occur in most animals because they can synthesize their own vitamin C, but humans, other primates, guinea pigs, and a few other species lack an enzyme necessary for such
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. In his Treatise of the Scurvy (1753) he emphasized the preventive effect of ingesting fresh fruit or lemon juice, thus reviving a practice of Dutch and English seafarers of the 16th cent. However, it was not until 1795, and through the efforts of Sir Gilbert Blane (1749–1834), that lemon juice was officially ordered as part of naval rations by the Admiralty. Lind also improved sanitary conditions aboard ships of the line, advocated the distilling of seawater for drinking purposes on long journeys, and, through his writings on tropical diseases, helped prevent much unnecessary loss of life during British campaigns.

Lind, James


Born 1716; died July 13, 1794, in Gosport. English naval physician; founder of naval hygiene in England.

Lind received his medical education in Edinburgh. From 1758 until the end of his life he was a physician at the Haslar Naval Hospital. In 1753 he gave a detailed description of scurvy and proposed means of treating and preventing it. He described diseases of Europeans in tropical countries, typhus, and many diseases of sailors. Lind introduced a number of hygienic devices on ships (apparatus for obtaining fresh water from seawater, for example) and proposed the use of special hospital ships in tropical ports.


Lind’s Treatise on Scurvy. Edinburgh, 1953.
In Russian translation:
Opyt o deistvitel’neishikh sposobakh k sokhraneniiu zdorov’ia morskikh sluzhitelei. . . . Nikolaev, 1798.


Hudson, A. E., and A. Herbert. “James Lind: His Contributions to Shipboard Sanitation.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 1956, vol. 11, no. 1.
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