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Persimmon Punch Can Help with PPI Withdrawal

Stopping acid-suppressing drugs can trigger symptoms of heartburn; 2 ounces of persimmon punch before each meal can ease the pain.

An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from heartburn every day (JAMA Internal Medicine, July 26, 1999). In fact, because that statistic is 25 years old, probably the number is higher. Consequently, we’re not surprised at the popularity of acid-suppressing drugs such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole or omeprazole. These medications (known as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs) can ease the pain of repeated reflux in many instances. However, they may cause side effects with prolonged use. What’s more, stopping such medicines suddenly can trigger horrific heartburn that often drives people back to their heartburn medication. Could sipping persimmon punch help people withdraw from these medications?

Persimmon Punch for Quitting Omeprazole:

Q. I am weaning myself off the generic form of Prilosec (omeprazole) for heartburn. I read about persimmon punch to help ease symptoms of rebound. What ingredients are in this beverage? Where can I find persimmons?

A. We first heard about persimmon punch from a woman who had eaten at a Korean restaurant. Someone in her party had ordered the punch for dessert. A few sips helped control her heartburn.

She continued adding three tablespoons of this concoction to her tea in the morning and evening, after which she reported that her “heartburn was in control.” Her cholesterol and blood glucose levels were also lower.

We tracked down the ingredients (ginger root, cinnamon, honey and persimmon). Either fresh or dried persimmon is reported to be helpful. Persimmons are in season in late fall. You can find them in health food stores with large produce departments. Asian markets are also a good source where they may sell frozen persimmons all year.

Using Persimmon Punch to Make Stopping a PPI Less Painful:

Q. I have been taking acid-suppressing drugs like omeprazole for more than 20 years.

After reading about the side effects of such drugs, I am ready to quit. I understand that this can be painful.

I read about persimmon punch on your website and would like to try it to avoid heartburn. How often should I take it?

A. People who take proton pump inhibitors (PPI) such as esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec) may experience rebound hyperacidity if they stop their drug abruptly (Gastroenterology, July, 2009).  Symptoms of reflux can last for weeks.

One reader phased off Prilosec over seven months by reducing the dose gradually. According to people who have used persimmon punch in this effort, it helps to drink two ounces before each meal.

Natural Approach to Control Heartburn:

Q. Several months ago I heard about a remedy for heartburn that involved a tea made with persimmons. That’s the only ingredient I can remember.

I suffer from acid reflux and I am looking for a natural remedy rather than continuing on heartburn medicine. Could you please send me the recipe for the persimmon tea? I am desperate.

A. We first heard about this remedy from another person struggling to get off acid-suppressing drugs. She took some colleagues out to a Korean restaurant, and they had a cinnamon-ginger-persimmon drink after dinner.

We suspect that the ginger is the most relevant ingredient, although the persimmon (fresh or dried) gives it a unique flavor. The tea contains fresh ginger root, cinnamon sticks and persimmon and is sweetened to taste.

Learn More:

You’ll find more details in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies, available in libraries, bookstores and online. You’ll also find many other suggestions for easing heartburn, including almonds, baking soda, broccoli, fennel, ginger pickle, papaya and a low-carb diet. In addition, you may wish to consult our book, Recipes & Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy.  Our Guide to Digestive Disorders also discusses the pros and cons of proton pump inhibitors and tips for getting off PPIs. It includes a recipe for persimmon tea and details on using natural approaches for heartburn.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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  • Oliveria SA et al, "Heartburn risk factors, knowledge, and prevention strategies: A population-based survey of individuals with heartburn." JAMA Internal Medicine, July 26, 1999. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.14.1592
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