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No, pineapple leaf tea won’t relieve lower back pain or heal ulcers

“Take this homemade drink for 5 days and say goodbye to waist pain, also very good for treating ulcers,” begins a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria.

It claims that drinking water in which pineapple leaves have been boiled will cure low back pain and heal ulcers.

“It nourishes the body and it is better than poisoning your system with ibuprofen capsules, tramadol pain relievers that do endanger life and cause ulcers.”

The message describes the preparation process and dosage.

Lower back pain can be acute or severe. It can be caused by an injury such as muscle strain, or by conditions such as sciatica, arthritis, kidney infection, a herniated disc or spinal cord problems.

Ulcers can result from an infection, long-term use of certain drugs and other factors. It can affect the stomach lining, small intestine, oesophagus and other parts of the body. 

But can pineapple leaf tea cure lower back pain and heal ulcers? We checked.


Rather use established treatments

People with lower back pain and are overweight should lose weight, exercise and go for physical therapy as part of their low back pain management regimen. That’s according to John Onuminya, a professor of orthopaedics and traumatology at the Ambrose Alli University in southern Nigeria.

Casmir Omuemu, a gastroenterologist and a professor of medicine at Nigeria’s University of Benin, urged people to ignore the claim and first check what kind of ulcer they have.  

Omuemu said many people mistake stomach pain for an ulcer, but not all stomach pains are ulcers. “It is important to get proper diagnosis, through a blood test, a special radiological investigation called barium meal, and endoscopy, for proper treatment to be given.”

He added: “For pineapple leaves, I have never heard of it being used to treat ulcers. When some people take an excess amount of pineapple itself, it could worsen their symptoms.”

He added that the best way to prevent ulcers is to avoid their triggers. These include alcohol abuse, excessive use of medication, and smoking.

Africa Check has debunked a handful of similar messages claiming certain mixtures can cure ulcers, including claims that maize and garlic mix or combination of carrot juice and black salt are ulcer treatments.

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