Q. My favorite home remedy is sauerkraut for canker sores. If I feel one coming on, I put a wad of chopped sauerkraut on the area, hold it there for a minute, then chew it and swallow. I do this three or four times a day for two to three days.
At least 95 percent of the time, the sore disappears. For me, that is a miracle, since I have been plagued for many years.
A. Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are mysterious. Trauma to the mouth from sharp food can trigger a sore. So can immune suppression (chemotherapy) or a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron.
More than 20 years ago we heard about a canker sore remedy from the 1930s. A dentist recommended swishing sauerkraut juice in the mouth several times a day, swallowing about a tablespoon.
Perhaps the bacteria that ferment cabbage into sauerkraut provide helpful nutrients. One study demonstrated significant improvement in canker sores among people who took 1000 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily (Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Jan/Feb. 2009). People who don’t like sauerkraut might try vitamin B12 supplementation.