Imagine if a drink could cure everything that ails you. Have cancer? Drink this and you'll be cured. Lose a limb? Again, chug and it'll grow back. Gay, but don't want to be? Drink up, because this'll switch your sexual preferences. This sounds impossible, but the creator of Jilly Juice says her concoction of cabbage and Himalayan sea salt can do all of that — and much, much more.
Jillian "Mai Tai" Epperly appeared on Dr. Phil earlier this week to both promote and defend Jilly Juice. Though she has no medical training, the Ohio woman claims that a gut parasite known as candida is what causes all disease, including genetic conditions like Down syndrome.
The 'magic' in the Jilly Juice recipe
Epperly's Jilly Juice recipe is simple: Cabbage, water and a lot of salt. Blend it and then allow it to "ferment" at room temperature for a few days, then drink a gallon a day to expel the parasites via "waterfalls."
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Also known as violent, explosive diarrhea.
"I'm proud of being a leader of a poop cult," Epperly said in her now-defunct Facebook group, Exposing the Lies Candida: Weaponized Fungus Mainstreaming Mutancy. Followers proudly posted photos of their excrement to show off the parasites they think they're getting out of their bodies.
And, as BuzzFeed pointed out, some people gave the concoction to their infants, then posted photos of diapers full of bloody stool.
Why experts say drinking Jilly Juice is dangerous
Dr. Phil echoed the thoughts of many when he called Epperly's claims "outrageous."
"Of course it is!" she chirped in response.
The ingredients in the Jilly Juice recipe aren't inherently bad, but the claims she makes about them are. She told Dr. Phil that, though she has no data or proof, she knows that the juice can do amazing things, like cure cancer and autism, and even help people live to 400 years old.
But one man who put his faith in Jilly Juice after a cancer diagnosis found that it didn't actually do anything.
"My dad was really desperate," Taylor Wilmot told BuzzFeed News of her father, Bruce Wilmot. "He was very sad, and he didn't want to die."
He followed the Jilly Juice protocol to the letter, proudly showing his collection of jars in both the Facebook group and in messages to his daughter.
"Look at my cancer cure," he wrote to her. "That stuff should work, hope your [sic] doing good today."
He later lost his battle with cancer. Epperly blamed his death on not following her protocol closely enough — and said he was already in hospice and, basically, beyond saving, even with her "miracle" Jilly Juice.
A growing number of detractors, government agencies and medical experts are trying to stop her from making such wild claims.
"[Jilly Juice is] absolutely dangerous nonsense," David Seres, director of medical nutrition at Columbia University's Irving Medical Center, told BuzzFeed. "I am almost speechless."
The fight against Jilly Juice
A countermovement of anti-Jilly Juice activists are popping up on Facebook and on the web to take her down. Facebook wouldn't take down her group because it didn't violate their standards, but she did eventually archive her group — and created a membership site where, for $5 a month or $30 annually, you can get access to her Jilly Juice recipe and guidance. She also offers private consultations for $70 an hour.
Her supporters are still out there, though. Two appeared with her on Dr. Phil, with one claiming that Jilly Juice cured psoriasis. Two former followers said drinking the juice caused serious health problems, including strokes and what sounds like the symptoms of sodium poisoning.
"I had nothing but trouble," one woman, Mikki, told Dr. Phil. "My kidneys hurt, my pancreas hurt, I had a headache that I could not get rid of."
Her blood pressure skyrocketed and she experienced stroke symptoms. The other woman, Karin, said she had pain, cramps and felt "like there was a spike in my head."
Her doctors ordered an MRI and "they were able to definitively see the fact that there were two strokes."
Jillian reportedly told Karin that those were symptoms of detoxing the parasites and that because she "didn't die" it was fine.
"No, I didn't die. Am I supposed to die to prove your theory?" Karin replied.
Her appearance on Dr. Phil undoubtedly exposed her to a much larger audience, including the Ohio Attorney General's office. Her opponents have petitioned the office — and similar agencies — for months. The AG's office told Dr. Phil that they've sent Epperly a letter asking her to prove her claims about Jilly Juice.
Detractors also BuzzFeed that they've pleaded with her over email to amend her claims. Her response was short and terse.