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SCURVY

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Causes and Symptoms: Scury is a deficiency disease which used to strike sailors and others who had to subsist on tinned foods and could not eat fresh vegetables and fruits. It is characterised by extravasation of blood in the tissues of the body. It is mainly found among the poor. Lack of vitamin C is the main culprit.

The disease comes on gradually and the first symptoms are a failure of strength, breathlessness, exhaustion and mental depression. In the latter stages, there is bleeding of the gums because lack of vitamin C makes the capillaries fragile and their rupture is common, leading to extensive hemorrhage and formation of glandular patches similar to boils all over the body, particularly in the lower limbs.

Remedies: Modern medicine depends on massive doses of Vitamin C to deal with scurvy. The best remedy, however, is the lowly Amla, the richest source of this vitamin. Powder of dried Amla mixed with an equal amount of sugar should be given in one teaspoonful doses thrice daily with milk. Fresh fruits like oranges and guavas should be taken freely. If fresh Amla is available, it should be cooked as vegetable and eaten.

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