22 Natural treatments for H. pylori: Do they really work?


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that can infect the stomach, leading to ulcers and, in some cases, stomach cancer. While antibiotic treatment is the standard approach to eradicating H. pylori, there are natural remedies that can support the treatment process.

Research has indicated that certain natural remedies possess antibacterial properties that could be beneficial against H. pylori. These include substances like mastic gum, cranberry, probiotics, green tea, and others mentioned previously. They may work by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria, reducing its ability to adhere to the stomach lining, or enhancing the body’s immune response.

However, the majority of these studies are conducted in vitro (in a laboratory setting) or in animal models. While these studies provide valuable insights into the potential mechanisms by which these natural remedies could combat H. pylori, they do not always translate directly to effective treatments in humans.

List of natural treatments for H. pylori:

1. Probiotics

Probiotics, particularly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, have shown promise in inhibiting H. pylori growth. Consuming fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements can enhance gut health and potentially reduce the adverse effects of antibiotics.

2. Chios Mastic Gum

Chios mastic gum, derived from the sap of the Pistacia lentiscus tree, has been utilized in traditional medicine in Greece for its gastrointestinal benefits. Research indicates that mastic gum may have antibacterial properties against H. pylori, potentially reducing bacterial levels and alleviating symptoms related to infections.

3. Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, which have antibacterial effects. Regular consumption of green tea might reduce the colonization of H. pylori in the digestive tract.

4. Honey

Due to its antimicrobial properties, honey, especially Manuka honey, can inhibit the growth of H. pylori. Integrating honey into one’s diet may aid in managing H. pylori infection.

5. Garlic

Garlic has been shown to possess antimicrobial effects against a broad range of pathogens, including H. pylori. Consuming garlic regularly can support the body’s defense against H. pylori infection.

6. Licorice Root

Licorice root has demonstrated potential in inhibiting the growth of H. pylori. It may also help in healing stomach ulcers, offering a dual benefit.

7. Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil contains compounds with antibacterial activity against H. pylori. Using olive oil in cooking may provide a natural remedy for reducing H. pylori infection.

8. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is well-known for its ability to prevent urinary tract infections, but it also has potential benefits against H. pylori. The high content of phenolic compounds in cranberries can inhibit the adhesion of H. pylori to the stomach lining, thereby reducing its ability to cause infection.

9. Turmeric

Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Studies suggest that turmeric may help reduce the inflammation caused by H. pylori infection and inhibit the growth of the bacteria.

10. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is another natural remedy with antibacterial and healing properties. It can be particularly useful in soothing the stomach lining and promoting the healing of ulcers associated with H. pylori infection.

11. Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil, derived from the seeds of Nigella sativa, has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may help in the fight against H. pylori.

12. Ginger

Ginger contains gingerol, a compound with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Consuming ginger may help reduce the bacterial load of H. pylori and alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms.

13. Broccoli Sprouts

Sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, possesses strong antibacterial properties against H. pylori. Including broccoli sprouts in the diet may offer a natural way to combat this bacterium.

14. Pomegranate Extract

Pomegranate extract is rich in antioxidants and possesses strong antimicrobial properties. Its consumption may inhibit the growth of H. pylori bacteria, contributing to a healthier gastric environment.

15. Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It has been suggested that quercetin can inhibit H. pylori bacteria, offering a natural approach to managing infection.

16. Propolis

Propolis, a resinous mixture produced by honeybees, has a broad spectrum of antimicrobial properties. Its use might be effective against H. pylori bacteria, helping to reduce infection and soothe stomach ulcers.

17. Zinc-Carnosine

Zinc-carnosine is a compound that combines zinc and the dipeptide carnosine, which has been shown to have a protective effect on the gastric mucosa. It can help heal stomach ulcers and may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.

18. Slippery Elm

Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. This gel can coat and soothe the stomach lining, potentially alleviating irritation and ulcer pain associated with H. pylori infections. Slippery elm may also promote the healing process in the digestive tract.

19. Berberine

Found in several plants like goldenseal, barberry, and Oregon grape, berberine boasts notable antimicrobial activity. Its ability to fight various bacteria, including H. pylori, makes it a candidate for adjunctive therapy. Berberine may also support digestive health by promoting beneficial gut flora balance.

20. Cabbage Juice

Cabbage juice is traditionally known for its ulcer-healing properties, primarily due to its high vitamin U (S-methylmethionine) content. This compound can help strengthen the stomach lining and may aid in the healing of ulcers caused by H. pylori infection.

21. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is renowned for its antioxidant properties and its role in supporting the immune system. There is evidence to suggest that high doses of vitamin C may inhibit the growth of H. pylori, thanks to its bacteriostatic effect. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods or taking supplements could be beneficial in managing H. pylori infection.

22. DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice)

DGL is a form of licorice that has had glycyrrhizin removed to avoid potential side effects like hypertension. DGL may protect the stomach and duodenal lining, helping to heal ulcers and possibly inhibiting H. pylori growth through its anti-inflammatory properties.

Problems with the Studies

Several issues can limit the applicability and reliability of studies on natural remedies for H. pylori treatment:

1. Lack of Human Clinical Trials

Many studies are conducted in vitro and do not involve human participants. Without clinical trials, it’s difficult to ascertain the efficacy, appropriate dosage, and safety of these remedies in treating H. pylori infection in humans.

2. Variability in Study Quality

The quality of research varies significantly. Some studies may have small sample sizes, lack control groups, or have issues with study design that can affect the validity of their conclusions.

3. Standardization of Natural Products

Natural remedies often suffer from a lack of standardization. The concentration of active compounds can vary widely depending on the source, preparation, and storage of the product, leading to inconsistencies in study results and difficulties in replicating findings.

4. Potential Side Effects and Interactions

Natural does not always mean safe. Some natural remedies can have side effects or interact with conventional medications. Without thorough testing, these risks might not be fully understood.

5. Overreliance on Natural Remedies

There’s a risk that individuals might rely solely on natural remedies, delaying seeking conventional medical treatment. H. pylori is a serious infection that can lead to complications like ulcers and gastric cancer if not properly treated.


While natural remedies may offer some benefits against H. pylori, they should be used judiciously and in conjunction with conventional treatments. Dr. Zavos advocates for a balanced approach, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based medicine. Patients interested in exploring natural remedies as part of their treatment plan should do so under the guidance of a gastroenterologist to ensure safety and efficacy.

Expert Care and Consultation

Dr. Zavos remains dedicated to providing expert care and advice for those suffering from gastrointestinal issues, including H. pylori infection. His approach integrates cutting-edge medical treatment with supportive natural remedies, tailored to the unique needs of each patient. For consultations, advice, or to discuss treatment options further, individuals are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Zavos. Contact details include the contact form on peptiko.gr, telephone numbers (+30)-6976596988 and (+30)-2311283833, or email czavos@ymail.com. Dr. Zavos’s commitment to his patients extends to providing the highest standard of care, aiming to achieve the best possible outcomes for those under his supervision.

Last update: 15 April 2024, 20:07


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group