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Will Raspberry Leaves Prevent Painful Canker Sores?

Doctors don't know how to prevent painful canker sores. A reader reports that taking red raspberry leaf as a supplement can eliminate them.

Have you experienced painful canker sores? Most people have struggled with such sores in their mouths or on their lips or tongues at least occasionally. Some suffer with them frequently. Doctors call these tender spots “aphthous ulcers.” Unfortunately, they don’t know how to prevent them (Biomedical Reports, Aug. 2019). Health care providers need to rule out serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and HIV infection when they see patients with recurrent canker sores.

Can You Prevent Painful Canker Sores with Supplements?

Q. I used to have very painful canker sores until I started taking red raspberry leaves in a once-a-day supplement. After about six months I realized that I was not getting canker sores any more.

It has been 20 years, and I still do not get them. I am still taking a red raspberry supplement. It was also helpful for a dear friend of mine suffering mouth sores from chemo.

A. Physicians have not identified an obvious cause for these mouth sores, though there are a number of possible contributing factors. Biting your cheek or eating rough foods like pretzels or chips can trigger an attack. Toothpaste with SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) may also bring on canker cores.

Red Raspberry Leaves for Relief:

Red raspberry leaves (Rubus idaeus) have been used by herbalists and natural healers for centuries. Although there are no scientific studies to support its use for canker sores, some naturopaths recommend a tea or mouthwash swished in the mouth for canker sore relief. The leaves are rich in antioxidant compounds such as ellagic acid and ellagitannins (Antioxidants, June 1, 2016). 

Chamomile Mouthwash:

Researchers have found that mouthwash containing chamomile tincture is effective for treating painful canker sores (Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, Dec. 1, 2014). It helps them heal more quickly. 

Hyaluronic Acid Mouth Rinse:

In addition, investigators report that a mouth rinse containing hyaluronic acid speeds canker sore healing (BMC Oral Health, July 16, 2019). Other options include sauerkraut juice or buttermilk (swished and swallowed several times daily).

Kiwi Fruit for Painful Canker Sores:

Many readers sing the praises of kiwi fruit for painful mouth sores. They put a slice of kiwi against the aphthous ulcer for a minute or two before chewing and swallowing. Here’s a link to an article about that:

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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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