Scurvy is a disease that leads to general weakness in the body, gingivitis, anaemia and skin haemorrhages caused by prolonged deficiency of vitamin C. The word itself is derived from the latin word “scorbutus”. This disease was extremely widespread among sailors in the 16th to 18th century, wherein they had to travel long voyages for months without any vitamin C. Many used to perish in these rides until it was discovered that lemon could be used to treat it.
Vitamin C is extremely crucial in the body for the production of collagen, which in turn is a major component for making connective tissue. Vitamin C is also important in the proper functioning of the immune system, iron absorption, cholesterol metabolism and other biological activities. Thus scurvy has widespread effects. Vitamin C deficiency is more dangerous for pregnant women since its observed that women who had deficiency of Vitamin C had babies who had underdeveloped brains.
Scurvy is mostly isolated to human beings since and some other creatures like guinea pigs and bats since most animals can synthesize their own Vitamin C. Those which can’t synthesize it must obtain it from their diet.
Scurvy symptoms develop after 3 months of continuous vitamin C deficiency. The most common symptoms that is seen in patients are weakness, fatigue, aching in limbs which is mostly in the legs.
Prolonged illness due to scurvy can lead to more severe conditions. Some of them are mentioned below:
1) Skin Ailments
This most apparent signs of scurvy is the appearance of perifollicular hyperkeratotic papules. These appear as reddish/bluish bruise-like spots surrounding hair follicles. The central hairs are twisted like corkscrews that may break easily. The papules may join together to form large areas of palpable purpura (Purpura is the name given to the discolouration of the skin or mucous membranes due to haemorrhage from small blood vessels).
2) Oral Diseases
Gums may swell and become red, soft and spongy. Any slight friction may cause the gums to bleed. Often this results in poor oral hygiene and dental diseases.
3) Eye Problems
A person who is suffering from scurvy can have various eye related problems like dryness, visual blurring, light intolerance and bleeding.
This develops in 75% of patients as a result of blood loss into tissue, altered absorptions and metabolism of iron and folate, gastrointestinal bleeding and intravascular haemolysis.
5) Heart And Lung Problems
There can be many heart and lung related problems as well like shortness of breath, low blood pressure and chest pain leading to shock and death.
The only cause of scurvy is the lack of vitamin C. This may be due to ignorance, famine, anorexia, restrictive diets (due to allergies, food fads, etc.), or difficulty orally ingesting foods. Historically, scurvy was the result of long sea voyages where sailors did not bring along enough foods with vitamin C. Scurvy is rarely present in western societies due to high standards of living. All commercial baby foods consist of sufficient quantities of Vitamin C in them.
Physicians initially will conduct a physical exam, looking for symptoms described above. Actual vitamin C levels can be obtained by using laboratory tests that analyze serum ascorbic acid levels (or white blood cell ascorbic acid concentration). Sometimes, radiological procedures are ordered for diagnostic purposes and to see what damage scurvy has already done.
Home Remedies For Scurvy
Use these scurvy remedies in your home with ease and effectiveness. These natural scurvy remedies are simple and very easy on your pockets.
This fruit is not just a delicacy to eat but also is a vital source of vitamin C. This also makes it a natural remedy for vitamin C. Crush some of these berries and add sugar to taste. Eat this three times a day to increase vitamin C content in the body. A great scurvy remedy for you.
Raw Brussels Sprout
In every 100gm serving of Brussel sprout, there is 75mg of vitamin C content. Eating this raw replenishes the body with vitamin C and help is fighting off scurvy. It can eaten raw as is or in the form of a salad.
This is by far the most popular choice of remedy when it comes to vitamin C deficiency. This popular fruit is available in every household and is easily accessible to everyone. It was also one of the earliest known scurvy remedies to cure scurvy. Sucking on a freshly cut lemon half is enough to cure oneself of the ailment.
Amongst herbal remedies for scurvy, thyme provides the most vitamin C (160mg per 100 gram serving) and is effectively used in preparation of medicines for treatment of scurvy.
Leaves of Jaundice berry have anti anti-scorbutic properties. A decoction made by boiling 35grams of dried leaves of this herb in a liter of water till it reduces in volume to half is an effective natural remedy for scurvy.
Parsley comes close next to thyme in terms of Vitamin C content at 133mg per 100 gram. Parsley is also used in several herbal medicines for scurvy.
Wood apple is rich in oxalic, malic-citric acid and concentrated tannic acid. Pulp of ripe fruit when taken orally helps in the treatment of scurvy.
A 100 gram serving of Broccoli provides 89mg of Vitamin C making it a very effective home remedy for scurvy.
Green chilies are the richest source of vitamin C more than any other food. Eating green chilies is perhaps the best home remedy for scurvy. Red chili, though not equally effective is the next best alternative home remedy for scurvy.
96% by weight of Kiwi fruit (Chinese gooseberry) is Vitamin C. Adding kiwi fruits to the diet as fruit salad or as dessert is beneficial home remedy for Scurvy.
So use these natural scurvy remedies for effective treatment and elimination of scurvy, naturally and safely. These scurvy remedies are easy to get in the market, yet extremely effective in controlling your condition.