It’s tough to imagine anyone getting overly excited about cabbage. As far as leafy greens go, there’s nothing to mark it apart as especially exciting or noteworthy - beyond being a hefty projectile, should you find yourself under threat in a vegetable patch. It therefore takes an extremely unusual set of circumstances for cabbages to feature on the front page. Step forward brassica-enthusiast and cabbage cultist Jillian Epperly.
The creator of the unappetisingly named “Jilly Juice”, Epperly has built an international following around the belief that cabbages contain a number of surprising, and hitherto hidden, health benefits. Namely, she has accrued more than 6,000 followers on Facebook by claiming that a diet consisting almost exclusively of cabbage juice can help cure cancer.
The drink, which Epperly refers to euphemistically as a “protocol”, is made from a mixture of “fermented cabbage leaves, healing salts and other pungent ingredients”, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Epperly and her followers believe that the noxious juice causes the body to “expel cancer-causing candida”, in the form of explosive bouts of liquid diarrhea. This has helped earn Epperly and her followers the endearing moniker, “Poop-Cult”. One can’t help but wonder to what extent Epperly is literally as well as metaphorically full of shit.
It’s not just cancer that can apparently be cured by a full-blown cabbage detox. On her website and book, titled “Exposing the Lies Candida: Weaponized Fungus Mainstreaming Mutancy”, Epperly has claimed that Jilly Juice can help to regrow amputated limbs, reverse autism and make gay people straight. She has also alluded to government conspiracies around the causes of diseases such as cancer. Fortunately, cabbages are on hand to save the day.
It’s easy to laugh at the idea that the answer to eternal life has been lurking in the back garden all this time, but there are some very real consequences to Epperly’s claims of a cabbage cure-all. In 2017, pancreatic cancer patient decided to give the treatment a try, after being contacted by Epperly over Facebook. A little over a month after starting to take “Jilly Juice”, Wilmot tragically passed away.
This case, and many more of Epperly’s claims, have landed the Ohio resident in hot water with the Federal Trade Commision. According to the Daily Mail, the FTC have issued Epperly with a warning, declaring that the organisation “prohibits false or misleading advertising claims and requires that health-related claims - such as claims that a product will treat or cure a disease or other health condition - be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence at the time the claims were made.”
Epperly has subsequently responded in a series of convoluted Facebook posts, claiming that she did not fully understand the difference between claiming “correlation” and “causation” for a health product. Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, Epperly added that, “I thought I could at least say possibility, not cure, because I'm not allowed to say that because it's stage four biotech. But I thought I could play the word game [saying] ‘possibility,’ but I can't say that.”
Unsurprisingly, there is little to no scientific evidence to substantiate Epperly’s claims about cabbage. While getting more greens in your diet might not necessarily be a bad thing, it pays to be aware that there is a limit to what they can accomplish. It’s always worth double checking where a health claim that sounds unbelievable may have come from. If you don’t diarrhea could be the least of your worries.