Arginine, scurvy and Cartier’s “Tree of Life”

Several conifers were considered candidates for “annedda,” which was the source of a miraculous cure for scurvy in the seriously ill crew of Jacques Cartier in 1536 (see also here). Vitamin C was responsible for the cure of scurvy and was obtained as a brew by the Iroquois from the bark and leaves of this “tree of life,” now commonly referred to as arborvitae.

Based on seasonal and diurnal amino acid analyses of candidate “trees of life,” high concentrations of arginine, proline, and guanidino compounds were also likely present in the decoctions prepared during the severe winter.

The semi-essential arginine, proline, and all essential amino acids would have provided additional nutritional benefit for rapid recovery from scurvy from vitamin C when food supply was limited.

Arginine, scurvy and Cartier’s “tree of life”.

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