- Term Papers and Free Essays

Lewis And Clark Medicines

Essay by   •  December 8, 2010  •  1,340 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,044 Views

Essay Preview: Lewis And Clark Medicines

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

I. Thomas Jefferson, United States President, Purchases the Louisiana Territory

a. Jefferson appoints Captain Meriwether Lewis to command an exploration of this territory.

b. Lewis asks William Clark to share the duties of command with him.

c. Jefferson sends a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush wanting medical advice on what the explorers might need or encounter medically.

d. Neither Clark nor Lewis wanted anything to do with having a doctor along on the journey.

e. Jefferson believed this was alright because Clark and Lewis had great medical history, and were trained very well for the journey considering the times.

II. Doctor Benjamin Rush sends a letter containing a small amount of information to Jefferson, which was in turn passed on to the explorers.

a. Rush stated that proper rest was the most important part to survive the journey.

b. Staying ahead of sickness would be beneficial.

c. Flannel shirts should be worn in wet conditions.

d. Small amounts of sweating would help.

e. Purging pills (laxative) were used for a large variety of problems.

f. Sparing rations would lessen fatigue

g. Alcohol was discouraged, except after a long cold night.

h. Sugar & water would provide a wholesome drink with breakfast.

i. Washing feet in cold water every morning would prevent frostbite later in the day

j. Sleeping horizontally would be most beneficial.

III. Lewis and Clark Do Not Follow the Doctor's Orders

a. They never washed their feet in cold water.

b. Sparing rations to prevent fatigue seemed to not appeal to the explorers, because they never followed this suggestion.

c. They never drank the sugar water stated in the doctor's letter.

IV. Lewis and Clark's Budget - $2,500

a. $90.69 was spent on strictly medicines only:

i. 1,300 doses of physic

ii. 1,100 doses of emetic

iii. 3,500 doses of diaphoretic(used to cause sweating)

iv. 15 pounds of febrifuge

v. Various other medicines were used for:

1. Blistering

2. Salivation

3. Increased kidney output

b. Lewis and Clark seemed set for their journey medically.

V. The Famous Journey Begins

a. Started from St. Charles, Missouri

b. May 21, 1804

c. Forty men

d. Three small sailing vessels

e. One fifty-pound keelboat

f. Two small water craft called pirogues

VI. First Danger Occurs

a. One of the crew members was bitten by a snake

b. Occurred near Atchison, Kansas

c. Creek where it happened is named Independence Creek to this day, because of the incident.

d. Treated the wound with gunpowder and bark

e. This was a common practice out in the wilderness, mainly because it was one of the few things they had.

f. Other common remedies included:

i. Garlic

ii. Onions

iii. Radishes

iv. Freshly chewed tobacco

v. Wide range of other plants

vi. Chugging whiskey

g. Most of these probably did more damage than help.

h. Physicians actually used most of these methods, but they did not use the gunpowder method.

i. The bark used by Lewis and Clark was most likely cinchona bark.

j. This is believed because they had 15 pounds along.

k. In those days "bark" most definitely meant cinchona.

VII. Heat Strikes

a. July 7, 1804

b. Somewhere along the wide part of the Missouri

c. Another crew member suffered from what is believed to be a sun stroke

d. The crew drained some blood and gave the man "niter"

e. Draining blood was very dangerous

f. It killed more people than it cured, luckily this man survived

g. This was believed for centuries to be beneficial in a wide range of occupations

i. Apothecary

ii. Bath keeper

iii. Barber

1. This is how they get the blood red stripe on their pole

h. "Niter" is potassium nitrate, better known as saltpeter

i. The effects include...

i. Increased urine discharge

ii. Induced sweating

VIII. Tragedy

a. Charles Floyd had stated in his journal that he was not feeling well

b. A couple days later, he was feeling better and thought nothing of it

c. Three weeks later Floyd was started to feel bad again, this time worse than the first time

d. The next day Floyd died

e. He had a ruptured appendix

f. The



Download as:   txt (8.7 Kb)   pdf (112.2 Kb)   docx (13.4 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Lewis And Clark Medicines. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Lewis And Clark Medicines" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"Lewis And Clark Medicines.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"Lewis And Clark Medicines." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.