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Sauerkraut Juice Heals Canker Sores

Several readers have found sauerkraut juice helpful in easing the pain from mouth ulcers. It doesn't take much.

If you have ever been troubled with canker sores, you know how miserable they can make you. Doctors rarely have much to offer, although some may prescribe “magic mouthwash.” What if sauerkraut juice were the perfect remedy? Some people think it is.

Sauerkraut Juice for Recurring Mouth Ulcers:

Q. From the time he was a teenager, my husband has suffered from cold sores, along with excruciating ulcers in his mouth. Doctors did not help.
Finally, someone mentioned taking L-lysine. It has worked very well. However, he still had mouth ulcers occasionally.

Then I read about eating sauerkraut for cold sores. We wondered if it would help the mouth ulcers, and it has. He eats a small amount, a couple of tablespoons, a few times a week. I buy it from a natural grocer to avoid additives. No more mouth ulcers!

A. Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, can be tough to treat. Back in December 1998, we heard from DW in Garland, TX. He said his mother had been a dental assistant in the 1930s, and the dentist recommended swishing sauerkraut juice in the mouth several times a day to get rid of canker sores.

We wrote about sauerkraut, L-lysine and other nondrug approaches in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You may find it in your local library, or you can purchase a copy at the books section of the store at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Easing Canker Sore Pain:

Q. I have had a painful canker sore for a week. I had been using saltwater rinses to no avail. Yesterday, when I heard The People’s Pharmacy radio program I was prompted to search your website for a home remedy for canker sores. I found sauerkraut mentioned and I purchased a bag last night. (I was desperate!)

This morning, I awoke to find the sore has not yet healed but the pain is much, much better. I’m a believer! Now I just have to buy some hot dogs to eat with the sauerkraut.

A. Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are mysterious mouth lesions that can come and go for no apparent reason. Accidentally biting the cheek, tongue or lip can trigger an outbreak.

The sauerkraut juice remedy dates back at least to the 1930s. More than a decade ago, a caller to our radio show told us about this remedy his mother learned as a dental assistant. Swish sauerkraut juice around in the mouth several times a day, swallowing about a tablespoon each time. The sores usually start improving within a day or so.

Here’s another testimonial:

“My physician prescribed triamcinolone to treat a few canker sores in my mouth. It worked, but three weeks later another swarm got started, some of which could only be reached with difficulty. I tried the sauerkraut juice and it started working within a few hours on all the sores.”

We have been unable to find any scientific studies of sauerkraut against canker sores. One study suggests that a diet high in fruit and water may be protective (Journal of International Medical Research, May 2021). Perhaps someday we will see a study of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi.

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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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  • Xu K et al, "Relationship between dietary factors and recurrent aphthous stomatitis in China: a cross-sectional study." Journal of International Medical Research, May 2021. DOI: 10.1177/03000605211017724
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