6 Reasons to Drink Fermented Cabbage Juice

January 24, 2012 · 54 comments

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Why would I want to drink fermented cabbage juice? Doesn’t it have a “yuck” factor? It might seem to be yucky, but it actually tastes pretty good and it is super protective and rich with easily available nutrients. In the digestion and absorption of cabbage (cruciferous family of vegetables), many compounds are created in the digestive tract that are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and protective of the cells of the colon.

Vitamin U

In naturopathic medicine, it is common knowledge that vitamin U is the compound in cabbage juice that has tremendous healing properties.  Much like Dr. Price’s X Factor (identified as vitamin K2), it has since been identified as S methylmethionine (SMM).

Between 1948 – 1950, Dr. Garnett Cheney, professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School, performed several studies indicating that the most common source of SMM is found in the leaves of green cabbage. He further hypothesized that fresh raw cabbage juice may be able to significantly increase the rate of healing in patients suffering with gastrointestinal ulceration, acid reflux, stomach pain, skin ulcers, and ulcers in the digestive tract. It may also control diabetes, and strengthen the immune system.

Dr. Cheny did quite a few studies (here, here and here are just a few of the studies he published) that indicated the efficacy of using fresh raw cabbage juice to treat ulcers of many kinds. As a result, Vitamin U (unidentified substance) became part of the naturopathic arsenal.

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid found in great abundance in the intestine, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It is a source of indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, which is converted to DIM in the intestine. Indole-3-carbinol is also a powerful antioxidant that supports liver detoxification.

In European folk medicine, cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be place in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

Taking the healing properties of raw cabbage juice one step further, the process of fermenting the cabbage juice adds to it’s tremendous healing powers by adding billions of beneficial bacteria, enzymes and vitamins and minerals produced by the microflora.

Cancer Protection

In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in March 2011 researchers found that cabbage juices, particularly sauerkraut juice, may be responsible for their chemopreventive activity demonstrated by epidemiological studies and in animal models.

Other epidemiological studies show that cruciferous vegetables protect humans against cancer. Results from animal experiments show that crucifers reduce chemically induced tumor formation.

Diindolylmethane (DIM)

DIM is produced in the stomach when you eat cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage.

A study published by the journal BMC Gastroenterology in May 2009, showed that DIM exerted anti-cancer effects in both in vivo and in vitro models. There are many studies that demonstrate the anti-cancer effects of DIM, produced from eating cruciferous vegetables.

DIM has also been found to significantly ameliorate the signs and symptoms of colitis in laboratory mice. In a study published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease in August 2009, researchers found that,

Treatment with DIM significantly attenuated loss of body weight, shortening of the colon, and severe clinical signs in a colitis model. This was associated with a remarkable amelioration of the disruption of the colonic architecture and a significant reduction in colonic myeloperoxidase activity and production of prostaglandin E(2), nitric oxide, and proinflammatory cytokines. Further, DIM administration dramatically decreased the number of colon tumors in AOM/DSS mice.

Clearly, DIM is an important anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory substance. It also seems to work well with other important compounds produced in our intestines, such as butyrate.

Butyrate is a substance produced by the digestion of fiber in the colon and also has many cancer protective qualities. In a study published in the journal, Cancer Prevention Research in June 2009, researchers concluded that,

3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) was able to down-regulate survivin and enhance the effects of butyrate in apoptosis induction and prevention of familial adenomatous polyposis in APC(min/+) mice. Thus, the combination of DIM and butyrate is potentially an effective strategy for the prevention of colon cancer.

Butyrate is made by the body but it is also supplied by food we eat, particularly, butter.

Anti-microbial Effects

In a study published in the Journal of Food Protection in September 2006 investigators found that the juice from brassica oleracea leaf (a form of cabbage) was found to be effective in inhibiting the growth of Salmonella Enteritidis, verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7, E. coli HB producing thermolabile toxin, nontoxigenic E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes.

These are extremely toxic bacteria that cause food poisoning and even death. We have seen many cases of lethal bacteria in our conventional food supply that have caused severe sickness and death in some cases. Why do some people get very sick when exposed to these toxins and others do not? Perhaps it is due to the microbial mileau that a person hosts — the presence of certain bacteria and compounds are protective as shown by these studies.

Anti-fungal Effects

In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry Toxicology in October 2010, researchers found that a “biconverted product of cabbage” — in other words, fermented cabbage juice — displayed potential anti-candida effects against Candida albicans KACC 30062, Candida geochares KACC 30061, Candida albicans KACC 30003, Candida saitoana KACC 41238 and Candida glabrata P00368 (clinical isolate). The researchers concluded that fermented cabbage juice has potential therapeutic value of medicinal significance to control Candida species including clinical isolates.

Several other studies (here, here and here) also suggest that Candida albicans may be controlled by fermented cabbage juice! This is HUGE for all those people suffering from the effects of Candida albicans overgrowth.

Appropriate for GAPS Stage 1

In the first introductory stage of the GAPS diet, foods are limited to basic stocks, braised meats and some vegetables. However, probiotic foods are started immediately and the juice from homemade sauerkraut is the very first probiotic food offered. Why is this? It is because fermented cabbage juice is loaded with beneficial bacteria and nutrients that are pre-digested. These nutrients are so easy to digest, people with very serious intestinal disorders can tolerate it.

One Caveat

Cruciferous vegetables (known as goitrogens) should never be eaten raw, because of the displacement of iodine and the potential effect on the thyroid. Cooking decreases  the negative effects, but it is not clear how fermenting the juice affects it — some articles reference that fermenting soy actually increases the goitrogenic effects of that particular food.

However, when eaten in small quantities for any of the medicinal reasons above, the benefits may outweigh any risk.Traditionally, many sauerkraut recipes include seaweed as a source of iodine which would balance the effects. Additionally, fermented cabbage (or the juice) should be used as a condiment with meals, not as side dish sized portions. In some cultures, sauerkraut or kimchee is eaten every day with no apparent negative effects on the normal populations.

If you suffer from any thyroid condition you would want to consult your health care provider before proceeding with regular use of fermented cabbage juice.

After researching the benefits of fermented cabbage juice I’m ready to try some! How you ever used cabbage juice for a medicinal reason? Leave a comment and let me know!

Where to buy sauerkraut juice

Check back tomorrow for more information about fermented vegetables juices and later in the week for a giveaway!

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn January 25, 2012 at 1:37 am

Great post, wish more people knew about the medicinal effect cabbage can have on the body. I had really bad IBS, food sensitivities, and acne. I read some great things about cabbage and started juicing it everyday and ate sauerkraut before every meal. Within weeks my IBS quit bothering me and my acne cleared right up! I haven’t tried fermented juice but I’ll have to look into it!


2 Vida January 25, 2012 at 9:23 am

I have IBS, celiac and have been developing multiple food sensitivities. A year ago I discovered fermented veggies which have done wonders for me. I keep kraut in the fridge and sip a little here and there – it’s especially helpful before meals, even the allergic symptoms just don’t happen. Amazing.


3 melvin January 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm

My family has always used cabbage juice and carrot juice for ulcers before they ever discovered that ulcers were caused by a bacteria……..kraut and kraut juice was taken for any kind of stomach problems.


4 Diane January 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I’ve always hated sauerkraut but have, over the past year, tried to make myself like it. I’ve tried making my own three or four times but, each time, it gets… funky. It smells like vomit and it’s way too salty, even with the low-salt versions. Is there a way to ferment cabbage juice without the sauerkraut drama?


5 Jill January 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Hi Diane,
The only way to make fermented cabbage juice is to ferment cabbages but if you use a vegetable starter culture it may work better.


6 Sybil June 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

This is a variation of the fermented cabbage JUICE recipe from Nourishing Traditions



7 steve December 3, 2014 at 12:55 am

HI Mark
First of all the temperature to ferment cabbage should be 74F to 76 F the fermentation take place in 40days .Colder temperature take lot longer to ferment . In the Balkan ,Srbia, Croatia , Bosnia ,Macedonia The weather in September is never 32 F or 40F . 32F is Frizzing Point so the Cabbage cannot ferment on frizzing point . Have a nice day!!


8 mark December 9, 2012 at 4:31 am

If Your language is Srpsko-Hrvatski I would like to explain why You can’t make the saur cabbage like in the storys here. Basicly, temperature must be between 0 and +6 C (32-40F) until is enough saur. Second, balance whith salt is exactly, and can’t be over 4 kg in barel of 200 L and no less than 3,5 kg. When cabbage is enough sauer (aproximetly 2 mounts) everything will be just fine. Do not expect to make saure cabbage in two days….that’s proces, and as I said, need at list two or three mounts to be ready for usage, and that’s reason why people usualy prepering cabbage around novembar 1-st or before if weather condition are bether (mean cool weather).. and of course, cabage must be very clean, from Amish farms whitout herbicids, pesticids, etc….or best You can find in today market, “Fortuna” cabbage usualy from NY State (Catskill mounts)…good luck, and good health!!!


9 Carolyn January 2, 2013 at 6:30 am

For a never fail way to make sauerkraut you could watch our youtube. Google dieteasily.com sauerkraut.


10 Tami June 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Are you fermenting anaerobically!! Without oxygen? I put mine in a jar with a tight lid and it works great.


11 April January 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

Wow! This is great info! Thank you!


12 Marina @ Dynamic Health Family Nutrition January 30, 2012 at 10:46 am

In Russia fermented cabbage was/is a staple in the winter, especially in cold areas like Siberia where fresh vegetables are not readily available. I remember my parents shredding lots of heads of cabbage on a huge shredder into big barrels.
Now we are in Canada and my mom still makes a little portions in the winter or orders from her church.
Recently I have also made kimchi and it turned out so good, but the most important part it was easy to make!


13 MoreLiberty May 28, 2012 at 12:20 am

Hi Marina,

Do you have a recipe for how your family made the fermented cabbage? Did they use wine barrels? What were the ingredients, quantity, what did you cover the barrel with, ferment time?



14 mark December 9, 2012 at 4:41 am

Aproximetly 120 kg 240 pnds fresh cabbage, 3,5 – 4 kg salt, 2 head of red beet cuted in the half, two avarage horsradish roots, and clear water….and of course, must be patient. After day or two days, you must ad some water because if there is any air over heads of cabbage, easy you can drow all in dumpster…cabbage must be allways in the salted water…


15 mark December 9, 2012 at 4:49 am

P.S. When You make the cabbage, “hart” of the head must bee removed (core) and on that hole put the salt beefore you ad water in barel


16 Carol J. Alexander January 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Thanks for sharing. This is great information. I’d like to know how to make my own…


17 Jill January 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hi Carol,
There is a way to make your own and I will be posting about it sometime soon. However I also tasted some the Wise Choice Market sauerkraut juice and it is really good — better than what I can make at home. Join the giveaway — maybe you will win!



18 Liberty January 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

can’t you just ferment it the way you would sauerkraut and add salt and whey to the juice to get it going?


19 April @ The 21st Century Housewife February 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I’ve never had fermented cabbage juice, but I do love cabbage and use it in loads of things. My Mom used to tell me it was a treat to eat the cabbage heart (actually the core, but it really was delicious!). I was so interested to read that cabbage is even better for me than I thought it was! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.


20 Molly T. February 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Since I started eating traditional foods, my taste buds have changed dramatically and I just love sauerkraut now. One day I took a sip of the juice left over in my “Bubbies” brand of kraut and it was wonderful. Now I drink the juice out of the jar and my husband thinks I am nuts. I add sauerkraut juice to my soup bowls before I eat them for the tang in the soup. YUM. But make sure to let your soup cool down a bit first!


21 Jill February 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Hi Molly,
That is exactly what Dr. Campbell-McBride says to do — put a little sauerkraut juice in the broth — it helps the gut lining heal.


22 letitiapepper March 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm

There are recipes for soups that use sauerkraut as an ingredient. This soup became a favorite staple for my roommates and me when I was in college. Just make some meat balls, brown well, and set aside. To the pan drippings, add chopped, onions and cook until soft. Add chopped canned tomatoes and their juice, sliced carrot “pennies,” chopped celery and celery leaves, salt and pepper, some herbs (anything like basil or oregano that goes well with tomatoes) and chopped or minced garlic if you like it. Add canned or jarred sauerkraut. Simmer to blend flavors. If you aren’t comfortable cooking without exact measurements, just do a Google search for sauerkraut and meatball soup. The sauerkraut really “makes” the soup.


23 Rebecca February 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Great post. I was wondering, since you mentioned the problem with eating cabbage raw…what about juicing cabbage? Should that be a no-no? I think I remember Dr. NCM saying it was therapeutic, but now I’m questioning…


24 Jill February 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hi Rebecca,
The cruciferous vegetables are not a “no-no”. It’s just that people with thyroid problems would not want to eat them raw and would want to limit them even when cooked. I think fermented cabbage juice would be better than raw cabbage juice.

However, juicing is cleansing and done in moderation is good.


25 Nancy Webster February 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Looking forward to a recipe for making fermented cabbage juice! Our problem with the fermented veggies and early GAPS is that we have a huge family and therefore there’s never enough fermented juice to go around.


26 Lydia March 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Do you have a recipe? I’d like to link to it in a post if you do!


27 Lee April 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Pickl-it has great jars for fermenting. Very easy to do.


28 Susan August 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

I just bought some. Looking forward to trying them.


29 Mira May 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Can newborns (pre-solid introduction) be given sauerkraut juice for constipation?


30 Mary Helen May 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I love drinking my ferments. Especially my fermented cabbage which to me is also sauerkraut. It’s so refreshing, tasty, and loaded with phytonutrients. I like to add additional veggies, and spices as well to my ferments. I used to drink coffee in the morning to wake up. Now…a shot of ferments work just fine.
great article, thank you.


31 Marcia August 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hi I have started drinking veg juices and fruith smoothies.
I found that cabage juice majes my head feel as if i have had a strong shot of alcohol. I am perservering. do you have any suggestions and what veg to combine? at this may be cost effective to have one or two veg and alternate each week.


32 Jill August 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Hi Marcia,
Sounds like die off of yeast. Most people need to cut back on the amounts and go very slowly.


33 val September 4, 2012 at 8:35 am

I just put up a post


34 Harriet Sugar Miller July 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

Could you tell us where to buy fermented sauerkraut juice? Is it available online?

Is all sauerkraut juice fermented? How do you know if it is?



35 Jill July 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I’ve used Wise Choice Market and been happy with their sauerkraut juice.


36 Louise August 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I just discovered SONOMA BRINERY, that makes all natural fresh RAW SAUERKRAUT! (For a list of where they sell products http://sonomabrinery.com/retailers.html).

As a child, our German immigrant family made real, delicious sauerkraut in the basement of our home. Now, finally I have found another source of REAL raw traditional sauerkraut as good as what we made 60 years ago. Also, I love drinking the juice.


37 Lina July 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Hi Jill,
I read ur post and started making my fermented cabbage juice, but I’m not sure if I’m doing it right. I just blend the cabbage adding some water, leave for 3 days and start drinking 4 0z b4 meal, 4x a day. Pls is dis ok? I hv stomach ulcer! Tnx.


38 KevinC September 9, 2014 at 10:30 pm

LIna, It’s been quite a while since you posted here, but maybe you will get an email notification for replies to your post.

You should try to wait far longer than 3 days for the cabbage to ferment. Essentially the longer you wait the more powerful the bacteria becomes. When using sauerkraut to fight a disease like ulcers this is important. I have read waiting up to 30 days is most ideal.


39 Sherry March 27, 2014 at 7:20 am

Great article – Very thorough – I heard good things about cabbage juice and I just started drinking it today. I chose Biotta Sauerkraut Juice (fermented). Looking forward to good results with my disgestion, inflammation and more. I chose Biotta because I have had a lot of success with Biotta Beet Juice to help with iron, hemoglobin levels, and energy.


40 Kristin May 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Oh man, I am such a believer in sauerkraut Juice (Sauerkraut Saft). I used to live in Germany and my roommate and I started drinking 8-oz of sauerkraut juice every morning for the health benefits and to lose weight. I just bought the little cartons from Toom Markt (I haven’t been able to find it in the grocery stores here in the States). We just followed instructions to drink it first thing every morning (before eating or drinking anything else) to help break down anything else we ate for the rest of the day.
PROS: this stuff totally cleaned out my colon. I felt like it was clearing out so much junk that was sitting in my digestive tract. Also, I definitely lost weight! Over those two months (and combined with diet and exercise), I lost about 30 lbs.!
CONS: the taste was really awful. I love sauerkraut, but the juice was something else. I just had to plug my nose and down it. Also, the first couple of days–while my stomach/intestines were getting used to it–were a disaster. You definitely feel a little bloated for the first few days. But then your body gets used to it and you feel great!
Part of the reason we tried this was because my roommate’s grandpa had totally cured his stomach cancer with sauerkraut juice. Neither of us had cancer, but it got us interested in the health benefits of cabbage/sauerkraut juice, and it’s amazing what it can do!


41 Jill May 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Hi Kristin,
Thanks so much for sharing! Ir is inspiring to hear such a success!


42 home colon cleansing kit September 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

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43 KevinC September 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I have stomach ulcers and Candida. I have tried so many things to rid myself of this nightmare. One of the other problems I have had is constipation.
I started eating Saurkraut with nearly every meal about a week and half ago. I have been having regular movements every day and have an overall improved sense of well being. I really pray this can cure my stomach ulcers over time. I just wish I would have started this sooner.


44 Miss Meow October 25, 2014 at 1:52 am

I’ve been making my own sauerkraut for a while now and it is so easy to make and delicious. I thought I’d just share this simple recipe in the hope it may help others to start making incredible sauerkraut.
I use 1/2 to 1 Organic red cabbage
3-4 tsp of Himalayan Salt
I large cabbage leaf kept aside

I just chop all the cabbage and put it in a food processor and grind it fine.
Then I massage the salt into the cabbage. Stick it into a dark ceramic pot, add 1-1 1/2 cups water, put the cabbage leaf on top, making sure its pressed down, then put a dinner plate or lid on and leave it for about 3 days. I have the most incredible tasting sauerkraut and find excuses to use it in everything. I hope this helps.


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