Our previous article on H. pylori natural treatments focused on taking Active Manuka Honey and Mastic Gum to eradicate the bacteria. Below I will discuss additional alternative, natural remedies don’t have as much hard research as Manuka Honey & Mastic Gum treatments do, but there is supportive evidence for aiding in
H. pylori eradication and preventing future infections. I usually take at least one of these items on a daily basis, but certainly not all.
DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) shows some evidence in healing ulcers, but more study is needed. The reason why the glycyrrhizin has been removed in DGL is because it can cause high blood pressure, edema and have other side effects. So don’t just start eating lots of licorice root (nor licorice candy!) – Make sure you get a supplement that contains DGL licorice only.
When my stomach gets upset, I chew one or two tablets 20 minutes before a meal. For treatment, one suggested dosing is 750-1,500 mg/day for 8-16 weeks which had the best results in reducing ulcers & inflammation. And make sure you take the time to chew the tablet well. Something about the chewing and the production of saliva helps the DGL do it’s job. It’s meant to stimulate secretin which protects and coats your stomach’s lining. It’s best taken on an empty stomach before your meals. Note that these do not taste like licorice candy (they’re not meant to!) and those who do not like black licorice will definitely not enjoy chewing these. I’m not a big fan of the taste, but I take them anyway simply because they work.
Here’s a study from back in 1975 that showed DGL treatment healed 32 patients with chronic duodenal ulcers. There was also a study done in 1985 that showed DGL (in Caved-S tablets) was as effective as cimitidine (name brand i.e., Tagament) in curing ulcers. I use Enzymatic Therapy brand DGL which contains 380 mg of deglycyrrhizinated licorice per tablet; Glycyrrhiza glabra root extract ratio of 3:1. I like this brand because it contains no artificial flavors or colors, no preservative and if you are sensitive, contains no wheat, gluten, soy, corn, yeast or dairy products.
Broccoli Sprouts contain the biochemical sulforaphane which acts as an antibiotic against H. pylori. This study on mice and humans from 2009 demonstrated that a daily intake of broccoli sprouts for 2 months reduced H. pylori colonization and enhanced the mucosa lining for protection against H. pylori infection.
Fresh broccoli sprouts are different than the normal mature broccoli heads you are used to seeing at the grocery store and contain much higher concentrations of sulforaphane. I don’t think I’ve ever seen broccoli sprouts at my grocery store and haven’t sprouted seeds myself, so to make things simple I buy broccoli sprout extract in tablet form.
The aforementioned study had patients eating 2.5 oz (70 g) of broccoli sprouts daily for 2 months which demonstrated a reduction in H. pylori infection growth. As I said, I take Source Naturals Broccoli Sprouts Extract tablets containing 500 mg of a standardized extract (2 tablets) yielding 2,000 mcg of sulforaphane (equivalent to eating more than a pound of fresh broccoli!) as a preventative at least 4 times a week with my meals. If you are infected already with H. pylori, then you may want to consider taking it daily.
Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid, which has antimicrobial activity against Helicobacter pylori and destroys the cell membrane. In one article I read, patients took 3 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil 3x/day for a month and at the end of the treatment period, they tested negative for H. pylori and their symptoms were gone.
Dr. Oz has recommended taking this amount a day as well. On a side note, coconut oil is also good for eliminating fungal infections, including Candida albicans yeast and Chlamydia trachomatis. It is also one of the few healthy saturated fats containing medium chain fatty acids which the body can readily metabolize as opposed to something like animal saturated fats that contain large chain fatty acids and will make you fat.
You don’t have to take a teaspoon of oil just by itself. Be creative. I sometimes add it to my coffee, spread it over a granola bar, add it to rice (like Jamaican peas & rice, mmm!), use as a replacement for butter, etc.. My favorite brand to use is Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil which is unrefined, cold-pressed and non-GMO, but there are other brands (such as the Jarrow coconut oil pictured above) that are just as good too. Just read the label to know you are getting quality coconut oil – at minimum that it is virgin coconut oil – heat or chemicals are not used in the refining process.
Red Wine contains resveratrol which this study has shown to have antibacterial activity against H. pylori, specifically Chilean red wines, Cabernets and Pinot Noir which have high concentrations of resveratrol. Other research has shown that in addition to Cabernets and Pinot Noir, Zinfandels and Merlots also have antimicrobial properties for fighting H. pylori.
And it’s not just the grape factor that is beneficial – so you cannot just drink regular grape juice. It’s the combination of the alcohol, acidity and resveratrol in wine that best fights the bacteria. I wouldn’t use red wine as your main method for curing H. pylori, but a glass a day or every once in awhile wouldn’t hurt and be another good reason for having one.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) contains an active compound called curcumin which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of H. pylori. One recommendation calls for taking 400-800 mg of turmeric powder per day to stop H. pylori growth.
I do not regularly take turmeric, but I have it out on our kitchen counter to remind me to use it when cooking. I sometimes add it to my green juice drinks or smoothies or add it to my food, especially Indian dishes, as a seasoning. I’m not sure if heated that the curcumin is as effective as when used unheated, but I have not found any evidence to say otherwise.
Turmeric is from the ginger family so it has a similar taste to regular ginger. If you are not a big fan of the taste, you can buy it in capsule form, or to save some money, buy turmeric powder in bulk and fill empty gelatin capsules.
Oregano Oil made from Origanum vulgare L. has antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, antiparasitic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Phew, pretty impressive! Oregano oil contains the phenols thymol and carvacol which inhibit H. pylori growth. High concentrations of thymol can be toxic, so make sure you do not take more than the recommended dosage. One doctor recommended for this H. pylori herbal remedy is taking 2 capsules twice a day for two weeks.
Make sure you get oregano oil that is from the Origanum vulgare L. plant, because not all oregano species contain the phenol compounds that kill the H. pylori bacteria. On a side note, oregano oil has properties that help with arthritis, acne, hay fever, athletes foot, Candida yeast infections, toenail fungus, dandruff and more.
Cranberry (Vaccinium spp.) contains polyphenols which can suppress Helicobacter pylori. This study with juice surpressed the bacteria and this one with cranberry extract inhibited growth. We all have heard that drinking 100% pure cranberry juice is good for treating and preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney infections as well.
In one of the studies, patients drank 500 ml (about 17 ounces or just over 2 cups) of cranberry juice daily for 90 days to eradicate H. pylori. If you don’t want to drink juice everyday, you can also take a cranberry powder capsule. I take a Spring Valley Super Strength Cranberry capsule which contains 500 mg of cranberry powder (Vaccinium macrocarpon) starndarized to 1.5% proanthocyanidins. The ingredients are simply cranberry powder and gelatin with no additives or preservatives :-). Taking one tablet is like drinking a 10 oz. glass of cranberry juice, but with even more antioxidant protection and without all the extra calories.
That’s another thing – there is a big difference between drinking cranberry juice cocktail which is diluted with water or other juices and has added sugars as opposed to 100% cranberry juice. That’s why I just keep it simple and take it in concentrated capsule form.
Probiotics are microorganisms that are beneficial to our digestive system. A study from February 2011 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that the probiotic, bifidobacterium, helped heal and inhibit H. pylori infections. This study also found probiotics to be helpful in reducing associated H. pylori gastric inflammation.
My philosophy is since H. pylori is bad bacteria for your gut and probiotics are good bacteria, it can’t hurt to add them to your diet. Sometimes I eat yogurt with live active cultures, sometimes I just take probiotic supplements. There isn’t enough evidence to definitively say that taken alone, probiotics can completely eradicate Helicobacter pylori, but it can be used as a supplementary aid to other more proven alternative treatments like mastic gum or manuka honey.
Other Natural Remedies for H. pylori
There are certainly other supplements and natural items, like aloe vera juice and Vitamin C, that have some linkage to inhibitory effects on H. pylori, but I have shared with you what I have personally research and taken myself. Since I’ve started treatment with these alternative remedies, I rarely have any more Helicobacter pylori infection symptoms – at least nothing like I use to. And if my stomach does get upset, I start taking the mastic gum, DGL licorice, probiotics and perhaps a few other items listed above and I’m usually better by the second day, as opposed to suffering with really bad symptoms for weeks or even longer.
Prevention of Helicobacter pylori Infections
It’s very possible to be re-infected by H. pylori since at least 50% of the world’s population carries the bacteria, although not everyone presents symptoms. It can be transmitted from person to person through saliva, gastric juice, vomit and feces, possibly through contact with cats, sheep, non-human primates (chimpanzees, monkeys, etc.) and house flies, although more study is needed (Brown, L.M. 2000. Helicobacter pylori: epidemiology and routes of transmission. Epidemiol Rev. 22(2):283-97). As a prevention treatment, I take one mastic gum capsule (500 mg) at night before bed or in the morning before breakfast for a month once every six months.
Of course, being healthy overall is always a good way to help prevent any kind of illness and boost your immune system. I regularly eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, limit saturated fats (sans coconut oil, see above), exercise often, get enough sleep, reduce stress and smile often.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Always consult a physician before starting any treatments and before taking any medications or supplements. You can read more about H. pylori and peptic ulcers from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).
Question: Have you tried any natural remedies for H. pylori or for any stomach ailments that has worked? Let us know below.