Lind J (1753)

A treatise of the scurvy. In three parts. Containing an inquiry into the nature, causes and cure, of that disease. Together with a critical and chronological view of what has been published on the subject. Edinburgh: Printed by Sands, Murray and Cochran for A Kincaid and A Donaldson.
In 1747, James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon faced with uncertainty about which of many proposed treatments for scurvy to use, compared six of them in a prospective controlled trial.

Title page(s)

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English Edition gifted by author provenance


French Edition

Key passage(s)

lind-1953-preface1 lind-1953-preface2 lind-1953-preface3 lind-1953-preface4 lind-1953-preface5 lind-1953-preface6 lind-1953-preface7 lind-1953-preface8

The following are the experiment pages 191-196.

lind-1953-kp2-2 lind-1953-kp2-3 lind-1953-kp2-4+5 lind-1953-kp2-6


 James Lind (1716-1794) 


Painted by Sir George Chalmers, c 1720-1791. © John Hepner


Painted by Sir George Chalmers, c 1720-1791.

Other material(s)

Stamp commemorating James Lind


Capodimonte figurine of James Lind


Presented to the Institute of Naval Medicine by Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir James Watt.

National Capodimonte Museum in Italy


An example of how Lind’s trial would have been registered in Clinicaltrials.govclick here

Royal Naval Hospital Haslar’s transformation 2023

Video / Audio

Cautionary Tales – South Pole Race: When Limeys get scurvy

Podcast by Tim Harford, August 2022

Polar exploration is dangerous… but trudging hundreds of miles in subzero temperatures isn’t made any easier if you’re suffering from scurvy. The deadly vitamin deficiency destroys the body and will of even the strongest and most determined adventurer – and it seems that scurvy stuck down the ill-fated expedition of Captain Scott.

But scurvy… in 1912? Hadn’t the Royal Navy to which Scott belonged famously cracked the problem of scurvy a century before, with a daily dose of lime juice? How did the ‘Limeys’ seemingly unlearn that lesson?

‘What the Industrial Revolution Did for Us: Modern Medicine’ (BBC 2003)

Recreation of Lind’s controlled trial for a BBC programme entitled ‘What the Industrial Revolution Did for Us: Modern Medicine’, presented by Dan Cruickshank and produced by Jonathan Hassid, and first broadcast on BBC 2 at 20.00 h, 28 October 2003.


The editors are grateful to:

The Worshipful Company of Barbers (, which licensed James Lind as a naval surgeon in 1739.

The Institute of Naval Medicine, the emblem of which is a lemon tree to mark James Lind’s contribution to the health of seamen, for helping to meet some of the costs associated with adding material about James Lind to The James Lind Library.

David Harvie, author of Limeys: The Story of One Man’s War Against the Establishment, Ignorance and the Deadly Scurvy, for the illustrations of Royal Hospital Haslar.

Keith Williams for supplying the Pfizer advertisment.

David Kindley, for supplying an image of James Lind in a Transkei postage stamp.

John Hepner for giving his permission to use the painted portrait of James Lind. (for contact details see Peters and Hepner)

Key articles

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