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No evidence combo of sea moss, honey or date fruit cures stomach ulcers

IN SHORT: A packaged sea moss seller claims it cures stomach ulcers when combined with honey. However, the claim is not supported by any scientific evidence. 

In a video posted by the Instagram account everything_seamos, a woman advises her customers to take plain sea moss for stomach ulcers. 

She says: “Get plain moss and honey. Mix them together. Take two tablespoons daily into the system so that it gets to heal that wound on it. And if you are allergic to honey, you can take dates or just take the plain sea moss. If you are dealing with ulcers, on your next patronage get plain sea moss, mix with honey.”  

Sea moss is a seaweed that is also known as Irish moss or red seaweed. It grows in the Atlantic Ocean and is used to thicken food and cosmetic products. 

It has been called a “superfood” and has become popular in recent years after a few celebrities claimed they had eaten it, including media personality Kim Kardashian.

Dates are sweet fruits that come from trees of the palm family, grown mainly in tropical regions of the world.

The video was also posted here on Facebook. Similar claims about the  benefits of sea moss have been made here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But can sea moss cure stomach ulcers? 

SeamossUlcer_False

Sea moss not treatment for stomach ulcers

Ulcers are sores on the lining of the stomach or small intestine. Symptoms include discomfort, stomach pain, bloating, and burning. If left untreated, ulcers can lead to vomiting blood, unexpected weight loss and bloody stools. 

A review of studies on seaweeds has associated carrageenan, an extract from seaweeds, with some health benefits, including reducing headaches, tumours and ulcers.

However, we found no evidence that supports the claim of treating stomach ulcers by ingesting sea moss and honey.

We reached out to Abraham Malu, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Jos, north-central Nigeria, whose recent research interests include stomach ulcer disease and gastrointestinal cancers. We asked if sea moss could be used to treat stomach ulcers. 

“I am not aware of its usefulness,” he replied in a text message. 

Casimir Omuemu, a professor of medicine at the University of Benin, southern Nigeria, whose research focus is gastroenterology, told Africa Check that the claim was false. 

However, he said an extract from seaweeds called alginate may sometimes be combined with antacids in the treatment of stomach ulcers. 

“But eating seaweed to get the alginate is like eating mould on bread to get penicillin. It doesn’t make sense. 

“Sea moss or any other seaweed combined with honey or date is not a treatment for stomach ulcers. Anyone who has ulcers should see a doctor. Ulcer pains come and go. Sometimes when they take some of these things they might feel a bit relieved but the ulcer is still there and the pain will come back after some time,” Omuemu said.

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