Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cod liver oil in history of medicine

Cod-liver oil has been used since very early times by the Greenlanders, Laplanders and Eskimos.

In the 15th century the English physician Howel, in his formulary, recommended ‘cod oil’ in the preparation of a ‘cere cloth’ a kind of cerate to be used on wounds.

About 1730, Norwegian fishermen and farmers found that cod-liver oil cured rickets. In 1766 it was recorded that the oil was been used for treatment of rickets in Manchester, England.

Cod liver oil seems to have been used in Germany from a remote period as a domestic remedy in various forms of disease. It was first introduced into the Materia Medica by Dr. Thomas Percival, of London, in 1771 as a remedy for chronic rheumatism.

In 1841, Dr J. H Bennet of London published a treatise on Oleum Fecoris Aselli, in which he set forth its great value as a remedy in tubercular disease. From 1820 until 1920, there are numerous reports of clinical improvements in pulmonary and lymphatic tuberculosis with cod-liver oil therapy.

In 1854 the pharmacist Peter Moller introduced the new method of heating up the cod liver with steam resulting in golden tran that ‘tasted fresh’.

During 1860s the oil was largely viewed as a dietetic aid, and it is significant that the oil’s principal reputation in Newfoundland became as a general tonic, strengthener and preventive.

In 1918, Mellanby reported that he could produce rickets in dogs by feeding them oatmeal and could cure the disease by adding cod-liver oil to the diet.
Cod liver oil in history of medicine 

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