Why Limes Don’t Cure Scurvy, and Everything Else Does

From November 11, 2020 19:00 until November 11, 2020

Presented by Andrew Holding, University of York

Of all the slang names for the British, none is more iconic than 'Limey'. While the term provokes majestic images of the Golden Age of Sail, scurvy cost countless sailors and seamen their lives. It was once not unheard of for nine out of every ten members of a ship's crew to have succumbed to scurvy by the time it returned to port. It is often said that results of James Lind's work on the HMS Salisbury in 1747 led to a cure and saved innumerable lives. Yet, 100 years later, in Cherry-Garrard's account of Robert Falcon Scott's 1911 expedition to the South Pole, he writes: "There was little scurvy in Nelson's days; but the reason is not clear, since, according to modern research, lime-juice only helps to prevent it". So what happened, how is it that scientific research showed limes didn't cure scurvy when once they were a miracle cure.