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Cabbage Juice Remedy Cured Chronic Heartburn

Drinking cabbage juice three times a day for a month is a home remedy that helped one reader overcome symptoms of heartburn.

How do you manage heartburn? Many people use over-the-counter medicines such as Pepcid or Nexium. Others, presumably with more chronic or more serious reflux, are taking prescription medication such as dexlansoprazole (Dexilant). But lots of folks find that home remedies can be really helpful against heartburn symptoms. Some readers report success with cabbage juice.

Cabbage Juice as a Heartburn Remedy:

Q. I suffered with “dodgy stomach” for a year: cramps, gas, low energy, brain fog. These symptoms would come and go.

My diet is already plant-based, and I am otherwise fit and healthy. My GP tested me for everything, and my labs and ultrasound results were normal. Endoscopy found “mild gastritis” and my doctor prescribed omeprazole. This helped, but my stomach never went back to 100 percent. I didn’t go back to my GP, because my symptoms were manageable.

After a bit of research, I started drinking cabbage juice. From day three, ALL my symptoms were completely gone!

I juice a 1-inch slice of fresh green cabbage together with a carrot and a pear. This makes a medium sized glass of juice, which I drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

I drink it down quickly as it tastes horrible. Instantly my sinuses start to tingle, a strange but pleasant sensation. This lasts for a couple hours. I drink the same again in the evening meal. Cabbage juice is more powerful for me than omeprazole.

Cabbage Juice in Medical History:

A. You are not the first person to tell us that cabbage juice helped against heartburn. There is very little research on this approach, but we did find a reference from long ago: California Medicine, Jan. 1949. This focused on peptic ulcer rather than acid reflux.

The same physician, Dr. Garnett Cheney, was on the faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine. He conducted a placebo-controlled trial at San Quentin Prison demonstrating a 92 percent “success” ratio for healing peptic ulcers with concentrated cabbage juice (California Medicine, Jan. 1956).

For those who might find cabbage juice a challenge, we offer many more remedies for heartburn in our eGuide to Overcoming Digestive Disorders.

Getting Off Acid Suppressing Pills with Old German Remedy:

Q. After my first pregnancy, I had terrible heartburn. I was quite miserable; nothing I tried worked well enough.

I wasn’t sleeping properly because of the reflux, so I decided to visit my doctor as a last resort. I was prescribed a drug that gave me relief, but my doctor said I would probably need to take it regularly from then on. I liked the relief but hated the idea of lifelong dependence on a pill.

I came across an old German remedy for chronic heartburn and decided to give it a try: Juice a fresh cabbage and drink half a cup three times a day for 30 days.

I did this and did not take the prescribed pills while I drank the juiced cabbage. This cured the problem.

A. As far as we can tell, there have been no scientific studies of cabbage juice against heartburn. Although there are lots of success stories on the web (much like yours), there are also reports that cabbage juice made things worse.

What Causes Heartburn?

Heartburn can be caused by many factors. Some people have an infection called Helicobacter pylori that can cause ulcers or gastritis. There is evidence that compounds in the cabbage family of vegetables, especially broccoli sprouts, reduce inflammation and kill the H. pylori bacteria (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, May 24, 2013). Perhaps that is why cabbage juice helped you. Scientists report that red cabbage inhibits some digestive enzymes linked to obesity and diabetes (Podsedek et al, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Aug. 23, 2017).

There are many other suggestions of remedies to combat chronic heartburn in our Guide to Overcoming Digestive Disorders. In it, we also discuss H. pylori and the drug regimens used to eradicate it. Tell about your favorite heartburn remedy below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Cheney G, "Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice." California Medicine, Jan. 1949.
  • Cheney G et al, "Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer; experience at San Quentin Prison." California Medicine, Jan. 1956.
  • Podsędek A et al, "Inhibitory potential of red cabbage against digestive enzymes linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes." Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Aug. 23, 2017. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02499
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