For sailors at sea for months at a time, one of the biggest concerns on an extended voyage was malnutrition. Micronutrient deficiencies as a result of not getting enough fruits and vegetables could lead to diseases like scurvy, which can be fatal if left untreated.
In order to ensure adequate nutrition at sea, ancient Roman sailors appear to have been equipped with vegetable pills, based on evidence found in a medical kit in a 2,000-year-old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Tuscany. Based on DNA analysis of the contents of two of the pills, researchers discovered a mix of plants, including carrot, radish, parsley, celery, alfalfa and more. In addition to the vegetable pills, researchers also discovered a bleeding cup, surgical hook and mortar.
READ MORE: Ancient Medical Kit Held Veggie Pills