Does water obtained from soaking unripe plantain cure ulcer?


On November 21, 2023, an X user, @Nig_Farmer, posted a claim that drinking the water obtained from soaking unripe plantain for 3 days can cure ulcers.

The post reads: “Get unripe Plantain (Not banana). You can cut from the tree or market (ensure its not more than 2 days of harvest). Slice it with the skin like that & soak in water for 3 days. Take it first thing in the morning.”

The post has garnered over 1 million views, more than 6,000 likes and over 2,800 reposts since it was posted online.

READ : Can ulcer be cured with honey, milk and citrus mixtures?

So, can the water obtained from soaking unripe plantain for 3 days cure ulcers?


Water obtained from soaking unripe plantain for 3 days cure ulcers.

Screenshot of the virall X post by @Nig_Farmer. INSERT: Misleading verdict.
Screenshot of the viral X post by @Nig_Farmer. INSERT: Misleading verdict.



Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are painful sores in the stomach lining. Stomach ulcers are a type of peptic ulcer disease. Peptic ulcers are any ulcers that affect both the stomach and small intestines.

Stomach ulcers occur when the thick layer of mucus that protects your stomach from digestive juices is reduced. This allows the digestive acids to eat away at the tissues that line the stomach, thus causing an ulcer.

Ulcer. PHOTO CREDITS: American Gastroenterological Association
Peptic Ulcer. PHOTO CREDITS: American Gastroenterological Association

Stomach ulcers are caused by an infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori), long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and in rare cases a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers by increasing the body’s production of acid.

A number of symptoms are associated with stomach ulcers. The most common symptom is a burning sensation or pain in the middle of the abdomen between the chest and belly button. Others are dull pain in the stomach, weight loss, nausea or vomiting, bloating, burping or acid reflux, heartburn, and anemia, among others.

Types of Ulcers
Types of Ulcers

Properties of Unripe plantain

Plantain which is otherwise known as cooking banana, is a common food in West African countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana. Unripe plantain is regarded as green plantain by some and serves as a source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.

In Nigeria, its wide consumption  by various ethnic groups and socio–economic classes is due to the availability of affordable cheap technology in converting the fruit to other value-added products such as “Boli” (roasted plantain) which can be eaten with groundnut, stew or fried egg.

In addition, the unripe plantain can be processed into plantain flour and constituted to Amala which can be eaten with most kind of soups. Furthermore, its slices can be fried into chips which are consumed by everyone irrespective of class.

Besides potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium, plantains contain vitamin K, vitamin A, copper, and iron etc.

What the science says…

The Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Applied Science Research 2021, revealed that plantain peel has high level of minerals, water, and different phytochemicals which could be responsible for the anti-ulcer properties exhibited and as such can be used to manage the treatment of ulcer.

While the study is said to have justified the claim made by traditional medicine healers that peels from plantain can be used for treating ulcer, it added that there is a need for further study on the peel of plantain to isolate and characterise the compounds responsible for the anti-ulcer activity and determine its mechanism of action.

READ ALSO : How true is the claim that eating Beans with ripe Plantains is ‘food poison’?

According to the Journal of Science and Research 2020, plantain contains high quantities of vitamins A, C, and B groups and minerals such as calcium and iron. It is of high medicinal value and can be used in the treatment of bronchitis,  dysentery and ulcer while the cooked flour is recommended for diabetic patients.

It added that blanched starter fermented samples of plantain with Lactobacillus plantarum have the best nutritional qualities.

Various preparations of dried unripe plantain banana were found to be anti‐ulcerogenic against aspirin‐induced ulceration in the rat and were effective both as a prophylactic treatment and in healing ulcers already induced by aspirin.

Other research carried out by the National Library of Medicine, An Indian Journal 2014, British Pharmacological Society Journal, and Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1999 on rats shows that unripe plantain was found to be anti-ulcerogenic against aspirin-induced ulceration in rats and not necessarily humans.

What the experts say…

However, Dr Adenike Enikuomehin, a consultant endocrinologist at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital (UNIMEDTH), Akure in Ondo state, said knowing the cause of the ulcer determines the method of treating it.

She said, “If you know the pathophysiology of ulcer, you won’t say that someone should put plantain in one place and drink. It is just a psychology used by some like when people take water for a troubled stomach to feel relieved.”

She added that research is needed in this regard, as people embrace any solution that seems mystical without finding out its efficacy.

Similarly, a consultant gastroenterologist at UNIMEDTH, Akure, Dr Kenechukwu Okonkwo, said the claim is not true, adding that the claim is not backed by science.

“If anyone has ulcer, they should go to the hospital and see a doctor who will evaluate and give the necessary medications,” he said.

He disclosed that an untreated stomach ulcer can lead to some complications like upper GI bleeding, perforation, peritonitis, and obstruction, etc.



The claim that water obtained from soaking unripe plantain for 3 days can cure ulcers is MISLEADING. While researchers have shown that unripe plantain has anti-ulcer properties and can be used to manage the treatment of ulcer induced by aspirin, especially on rats, experts however opined that patients should instead follow the medical advice given to them by certified medical practitioners, as it has not been tested on humans; hence no scientific evidence to justify the efficacy of the treatment on humans.


* This fact-check was written by Funmilola Afolabi, a fellow of the ICIR’s Countering Misinformation and Promoting Media Literacy project, supported by the German Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.

Funmilola Afolabi
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