Handbill for scurvy cure, 17th century

Handbill for scurvy cure, 17th century

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Credit: BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Handbill for scurvy cure. 17th-century handbill advertising a book of treatments ('Book of Directions and Cures') using a medicine known as the German Golden Elixir, or the Herculeon Antidote. It claims to cure a disease referred to here as scurvy, acting by cleaning the blood and purging the body through urine and excretion (stools). Symptoms are fatigue, spots on the skin, and bleeding gums. Scurvy is now known to be caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, and can be treated by fresh food and medicines containing this vitamin (ascorbic acid). This handbill is from a collection of adverts, mostly relating to quack medicines, dating from the period 1660 to 1716.

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