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Strawberry Cure for Gout

Abstract

THE season of strawberries is at hand, but doctors are full of fads, and for the most part forbid them to the gouty. Let me put heart into those unfortunate persons to withstand a cruel medical tyranny by quoting the experience of the great Linnæus. It will be found in the biographical notes, written by himself in excellent dog-latin, and published in the Life of him by Dr. H. Stoever, translated from German into English by Joseph Trapp, 1794. Linnæus describes the goutiness of his constitution in p. 416 (cf. p. 415), and says that in 1750 he was attacked so severely by sciatica that he could hardly make his way home. The pain kept him awake during a whole week. He asked for opium, but a friend dissuaded it. Then his wife suggested, “Won't you eat strawberries?” It was the season for them. Linnæus, in the spirit of an experimental philosopher, replied, “tentabo—I will make the trial.” He did so, and quickly fell into a sweet sleep that lasted two hours, and when he awoke the pain had sensibly diminished. He asked whether any strawberries were left: there were some, and he eat them all. Then he slept right away till morning. On the next day he devoured as many strawberries as he could, and on the subsequent morning the pain was wholly gone, and he was able to leave his bed. Gouty pains returned at the same date in the next year, but were again wholly driven off by the delicious fruit; similarly in the third year. Linnæus died soon after, so the experiment ceased.

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G., F. Strawberry Cure for Gout. Nature 60, 125 (1899). https://doi.org/10.1038/060125a0

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