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To the Editor:
—In a "Historical Note on the Use of Beans in Beriberi," (July 20, p. 201) you quote Dr. William H. Jefferys to the effect that beans have been used ten years or more in China to cure beriberi, and that the U. S. Army Tropical Board has no claim of priority in teaching their value in this disease. Dr. Jefferys is undoubtedly correct in stating that legumens (mongos) have been used as a curative agent in beriberi for many years. This is true not only of China, out of Java, the Philippine Islands and, I believe the entire orient.At the time (Sept. 30, 1000) when the Tropical Board recommended a change in the Philippine scout ration, reducing the rice and adding beans, the belief in the efficacy of beans was rather hazy and indefinite; many, if not the majority, of investigators were divided between infection theories
Kilbourne ED. The Use of Beans in Beriberi. JAMA. 1912;LIX(8):667-668. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270080349023