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 conatains 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 g capsule in the morning before breakfast and another 500 g 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.

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