H. pylori Natural Treatment: Active Manuka Honey and Mastic Gum

active manuka honey natural remedy for h. pyloriTwo alternative H. pylori natural treatments for the bacterial infection include taking active manuka honey and/or mastic gum.  I’ve taken both and shared below some product background information as well as what has worked for me. I have not taken them on blind faith or based on manufacturer claims, but have researched them as thoroughly as I can via other doctor’s opinions and scientific journal articles. I am not one to blindly start taking alternative medicines just because so & so says so, “It works!” I thoroughly research products before I even consider taking them.

I have a science background and so I look for statistically significant proof, typically through peer-reviewed journal articles, behind any product claims or statements of “cures” or the like. In my previous post about how H. pylori causes ulcers, I discussed a little about what the bacteria is and how the infection it causes is conventionally treated with prescription drugs if you want some additional background information.

Active Manuka Honey

manuka honey flowers

Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium) flowers of New Zealand.

Manuka honey was the first item I came across and started taking to eradicate H. pylori. Manuka honey is made from the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium) flowers of New Zealand. . But you can’t just take any ol’ manuka honey.

umf active manuka honey for h. pylori

Buy Active Manuka Honey with an UMF rating of at least 10+ or contains at least 100mg/kg of MGO (methylglyoxal).

It has to be Active Manuka Honey with a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating of at least 10.  The UMF rating means that the honey contains the non-peroxide antibacterial activity from methylglyoxal (MGO) needed to kill H. pylori. If you do not see a UMF rating, look for a MGO rating, which apparently is now more accurate is measuring the methylglyoxal activity.

The MGO rating is on a different scale than UMF. So a MGO rating of 100 is equivalent to a UMF rating of 10+. And note that some companies may state a rating, like 16+, but if you cannot find any statement saying that it is tested, graded and certified by a lab to have that rating, don’t buy it. Just cause they stick it on the label, doesn’t mean it’s true.

When I took this everyday consistently for several weeks, I did see improvement. Consistently meant taking a teaspoonful 20 minutes before every meal. But then I would get lazy when I started feeling better. And I could go for a month or two without any symptoms – for the first time in a long time which I never could when I was on the prescription acid-reducer (Aciphex), but then I would need to go back on it.

I’m not a real big honey fan, especially not taking a big spoonful of it and sometimes it was inconvenient to always have the honey with me before eating a meal, especially when traveling. The honey is a little expensive as well since it is made only in New Zealand from Manuka bush flowers which only flower 2-6 weeks annually. So I started to look for other alternatives. Here is a study from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine with results of manuka honey killing H. pylori bacteria. There have been numerous others since then.

Mastic Gum

mastic gum bush Pistacia lentiscus

Mastic shrub, Pistacia lentiscus from which the mastic gum resin is extracted.

Mastic Gum is a resinous exudate obtained from the stem and the main leaves of the mastic shrub (Pistacia lentiscus) found in Greece. Research shows that it inhibits growth of H. pylori and acts as antibiotic.  This became my best choice for treatment, based on supporting scientific research and for ease of use.

I took a total of 1,000mg (1g) Mastic Gum daily, divided into 2 doses: one 500 mg capsule in the morning before breakfast and another 500 mg capsule in the evening before bed for 2 months. You can mastic gum in chewing gum form, but it is also available in capsules which I prefer since there are not a lot of additives and I know I am just getting pure mastic gum.

mastic gum to treat helicobacter pylori

I prefer to take mastic gum in a 500 mg capsule.

Studies have shown negative stool tests from patients on a treatment for as little as two weeks, but recommended dosage is usually a minimum of 30 days. For prevention, I take mastic gum every six months for 30 days. For the prevention 30-day dosage period, I will take one 500 g capsule in the morning before breakfast.  I haved used Jarrow Formulas Matic Gum and  NutriCology Mastic Gum which both contain 500 mg of Pistacia lentiscus resin per capsule.

Now you may want to read our next article which includes a list and description of other natural treatments and products I take for maintaining healthy digestion and prevention of future H. pylori infections: More H. Pylori Natural Remedies

Note: This article is not written to advise people to treat themselves. It is for informative interest only. This post is not for people who do not  know for sure if they have a Helicobacter pylori infection. If you suspect you may be infected with H. pylori, you need to confirm it with either a urea breath, blood antibody or stool antigen test through your doctor for a positive diagnosis. Always consult a doctor before starting any treatment regime.

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Comments

  1. hi, thanks for sharing this information.
    i have mastic in lumps. should i take 1 gm/day in 2 doses, just as with the pills. also, how should i take it? just swallow the lump? pound it and mix the powder with water? or some other way?
    thanks for your time.

    • Joy – I don’t know exactly what product you have, so first I would say follow the directions on the package, if any. If not, then I would divide it into 2 daily does of 500 mg each as the research suggests. Some will grind the mastic pieces up and fill empty gelatin capsules. I personally would have a hard time swallowing a lump just as is, so I don’t know about that. And whether it would dissolve in water so you could drink it as a solution, I’m not sure. It is very resinous. Although I know a traditional Greek drink, soumatha, is made with mastic, almond milk and water so maybe dissolving ground mastic gum in water would not a problem.

  2. Hi :-)
    Thanks for sharing your findings. I’m interested in trying the manuka honey to treat h. pylori. I’ll be getting the UMF 18+, how long should i take it for? And what dose do you suggest?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Hamada – One study had patients take four teaspoons of honey four times a day with food, one hour before a meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and just before going to bed. How long to take it for? Some suggest taking it for 2-4 months for complete eradication. You may feel better before then, but as with conventional prescription antibiotics, if you don’t consistently take the honey for the entire time, some bacteria may remain and your symptoms can return.

  3. Hi,

    Do I take honey and gum at the same time since both need to be taken on empty stomach before meals? Thanks :)

    • Anna – If you wanted to take both manuka honey and mastic gum, I assume it would be fine to take them at the same time. The suggested mastic gum dosage is twice a day, once before breakfast and once before bedtime. So the before breakfast dosage would overlap with the honey dosage. But I have never taken both at the same time and have not found any information regarding the pros or cons of doing so. I wouldn’t expect it to be a problem combining them, but I cannot say for sure.

  4. You should have taken higher MGO/UMF grade, as 100+/10+ is the lowest active grade and it’s recommended mostly for minor colds.
    H. pylori is sometimes extremely resistant to antibiotics and there are cases in which no combination of antibiotics works.
    For those people, it is recommended the MGO 550+ or UMF 25+ which is the highest grade and the most potent Manuka honey (also the most expensive, unfortunately).
    That’s what I’ve read online, according to multiple studies and first hand accounts from people who tried. I hope it helps someone to heal.

    • Lexus – Yes, I agree if you have a particularly stubborn case of an H. pylori infection, especially one that didn’t respond to a triple or quad therapy (antibiotics combined with other drugs), then you should try a stronger MGO/UMF Manuka Honey. I did in fact use UMF 25+ Manuka Honey for my own treatment. The MGO 100+ and UMF 10+ are the minimum ratings that have been shown to eradicate H. pylori. If one is not concerned with price, then they should purchase a stronger honey from the start.

  5. Hi, after taking mastic gum did you test negative for H.pylori or did you assume you don’t have the bacteria because your symptoms disappeared. I am nursing my 3 month old and have recently found that I have H. Pylori. I would prefer to not take antibiotics. Would it be safe to do the 30 day mastic gum therapy while nursing? Are there any side affects from eating mastic gum. Thank you.

    • Saroj – I did not get a test for H. pylori after my symptoms went away. Unfortunately, I cannot find any study that says whether it is safe or not to take mastic gum while nursing. Web MD states this about using mastic gum while breastfeeding:

      Special Precautions & Warnings:
      Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Not enough is known about the use of mastic during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

      Of course you can ask your doctor if it would be safe, but my guess he/she would say no because very few herbs and their effects have been studied on breastfeeding infants. If you have a trained herbalist in your area, they may be able to give you more information about its safety. Just FYI, here is a list of herbs to avoid while nursing.

  6. I’m experiencing symptoms of H. Pylori, but a recent blood test came back negative for the infection. I’m so stumped about the cause of my horrific halitosis and acid reflux. I literally have the worst case of bad breath which can full up an entire room, smells like ammonia. It’s has me so depressed I asked my doctor to put me out of work until next week. I have no clue what to do, so completely lost. Please help me, tell me what do you recommend? Also what brand of the Manuka Honey did you use and how much does it cost?

    • Leigh – What did your doctor recommend as a method to reduce your acid reflux since your H. pylori test was negative?

      • Hello,
        Just to echo Leigh here, I’m having similar issues:
        -Abdominal pain
        -Heart burn or pain
        -Constipation
        -Lot of Gas production in intestines
        -Horrid bad breath
        -Weight Loss
        Which all indicates person should be having HP. In fact I have had HP a year and half ago, I also went through lots of treatments but above mentioned symptoms never gone. Recently I did stool antigen test for HP which came negative so wondering how these symptoms are sticking with me still. Can u please research further and tell me how I can get rid of it. As I am feeling hopeless and helpless now.
        Thanks, KP

        • KushP – What kind of treatments did you go through? It is possible to have a false-negative result from a stool antigen test for H. pylori if you were taking any medications (antibiotics, proton-pump inhibtors such as Prilosec, Prevacid, etc., and bismuth such as Pepto-Bismul) within the 2 weeks prior to stool collection.

  7. I have H.Pylori Infection and I am currently taking antibiotics . Whether I can take honey and antibiotics at same time?

  8. I have h.pylori and i have took the quad treatment twice and still have h.pylori…
    I would love to try the honey which one would you recommend? Also what dosage and for how long?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Meka – Buy Active Manuka Honey with an UMF rating of at least 10+ or contains at least 100mg/kg of MGO (methylglyoxal). This Manuka Honey fits that criteria. Take a teaspoon 20 minutes before every meal on a small piece of bread, cracker or something similar for 2-4 months. You may feel better much sooner than that but to completely eradicate the bacteria, you will need to take it for several months.

  9. THANK YOU..!!!!!…

  10. I’m allergic to wheat…Is there another way I can take it?

    • Your welcome, Meka. And you can take it with any wheat-free/gluten-free food you like.

      • You recommended 10+ Honey I got it today…..
        Just a quick question is it going to be strong enough??.. Being that I took the quad treatment twice and this nasty bacteria is still here…!!…

        • Meka – The 10+ should be fine. Studies have shown that it is strong enough to kill the bacteria, but there are no guarantees since everyone is different. Just like the quad treatment works for some people, but in your case it did not. The same goes for the honey. Just remember to take it consistently for at least 2 months, some recommend four months.

  11. Hello, can I take synthroid along with manuka honey 16+ and mastic gum at the same time in the morning? Also what is the dosage for the honey? This is to eradicate H. Pylori.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Sally – There is no data I know of regarding the interaction of taking Synthroid with manuka honey and/or mastic gum. I would recommend you ask your doctor first. If you are able to take the honey, one common dosage recommendation is to take one teaspoonful 20 minutes before every meal on a small piece (1-2 inches) of food like bread, cracker, banana, apple or any food you prefer for 2-4 months. You may feel better much sooner than that but to completely eradicate the bacteria, you will need to take it for several months.

  12. Hello, I am having problems of stomach pain (upper abdomen) and burping especially after meals, that leads to so much discomfort and sometime a lump-like feeling in my throat. I am having this problem since last year, October. Recently in August I had an endoscopy and was found positive for h.pylori and antral gastritis. I have completed my first triple therapy dose but no signs of relief is there. I lost my job because of this continuous problem. Currently I am on sompraz and normaxin medicine but I do not have any relief yet. Should I go for mastic and manuka honey? I ask my doctor for this but he didn’t allow me to take it. What should I do and should I also go for another test for h. pylori…. pls help.

    • Kam – What does your doctor suggest since the first triple therapy didn’t work? He does not want you to take mastic gum or manuka honey (not surprising), but does he offer you any alternatives? Or is he/she telling you to take the Sompraz and Normaxin for awhile and see if it helps? How long have you been taking those medications? It is possible to get false negatives for the h. pylori test, so yes, you could take another test, but you need to be off any medications before taking another.

      • I am taking these acids suppressing pills since last year and currently taking sompraz and normaxin since last two or three months after my triple therapy doses are finished but I want a permanent relief from this problem, one doctor also said that ur problem has nothing to do with hpylori. I dont know should I go with these mastic gum or not, as I have read so many positive reviews for it, plz help
        And I dont understand y d doctr is not going for quad therapy, rather than these acid suppressing pills

        • Kam – The doctor that says your problem has nothing to do with H. pylori – what does he think is the source of your stomach pain? If your stomach problem is not caused by the bacteria (which perhaps is why your test is negative), then Manuka honey and/or mastic gum may not be the best choice for you. In general, they are both good for maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system and for specifically eradicating the H. pylori bacterium, but if you have other stomach problems, they may need to be treated by other methods.

  13. Cristian Figueroa says:

    Hey there, just a question regarding the mastic gum and Manuka honey regimen. I am a young man (19 years old) and for the past 3-4 years I’ve had several GI issues including bloating, acid reflux, burping/belching, loose stools etc. I went to the doctor and tested negative for H.pylori, he said it was just IBS.. Didn’t really help me much, so I am kind of at a loss here and sick of feeling this way, just wondering if it’s okay to take these two natural remedies for a couple of months as recommended as a way to help with these symptoms even if I don’t have h.pylori and if it would be safe to take if you do not have h.pylori, Thanks for your time.

    • Cristian – Like other herbal supplements, taking Manuka honey and/or mastic gum may cause adverse interactions with prescription and OTC medications or may inhibit or increase the effects of some drugs. So if you are taking any medications, consult with your physician first before taking either. With that said, both Manuka honey and mastic gum are used for general digestive health (not just for H. pylori treatment) so I would assume it could help with your IBS, but there are no absolutes. There has been a study (pdf), however, that demonstrated regular use of Manuka honey can help alleviate IBS and ulcerative colitis symptoms.

  14. Hello , regarding your reply….. “Kam – The doctor that says your problem has nothing to do with H. pylori – what does he think is the source of your stomach pain? If your stomach problem is not caused by the bacteria (which perhaps is why your test is negative),”…Here i just want to mention that my test for h.pylori was positive at the time of my endoscopy is done and also antral gastritis was found . Anyway right now i’m taking one tab of sompraz in morning and one tab normaxin in night before meal since last 15 or 20 days (one month course) as suggested by doctor….So here i just wanna know that should i go for another stool antigen test for h.pylori . whether this bug is eradicated or not?

    • Kam – So it has been a few months since you completed the triple dose therapy, correct? Since you have not had any relief from your symptoms, I’m guessing it wouldn’t hurt to take another stool antigen test. This way if you test negative after originally testing positive, then you would know that it is not H. pylori causing your gastritis. In regards to the antigen test, it is important to note that:

      False-negative results may be obtained on specimens from patients who have ingested selected medications (antimicrobials, proton pump inhibitors, bismuth preparations) within the 2 weeks prior to specimen collection. If clinically indicated, the test may be repeated on a new specimen obtained 2 weeks after stopping treatment with these medications. Positive results are not affected by medication.

      A positive result 7 days or more after starting therapy is indicative of ineffective treatment or recurrence. Testing for eradication should be performed at 4 or weeks post therapy; a negative result at this time indicates eradication of the infection.

      • So should I wait for 2 or 4 weeks (after the medication course) before this antigen stool test?

        • Kam- If it has been more than 4 weeks since your initial triple therapy, then you would only need to wait 2 weeks after stopping any other medications before taking the stool antigen test. You will need to ask your doctor, however, since these are general guidelines and your case may be different.

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