Healthy Living

5 Natural Remedies for Stomach Ulcers

Aside from antibiotics, there are effective and natural home remedies that can be used to help manage stomach ulcers.

5 Natural Remedies for Stomach Ulcers

Overview

Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are sores within the stomach lining. An infection caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the most common cause of stomach ulcers. Another cause of stomach ulcers is the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen (Naprosyn) and ibuprofen (Advil), including the use of other pain relievers, such as aspirin.

Treatment for stomach ulcers usually involves the use of antibiotics and other types of medications that can block or help reduce the production of stomach acid. However, according to studies, there are also effective and natural home remedies that can be used to help manage the condition. 

Natural Remedies for Stomach Ulcers

1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria, which are regarded as good microorganisms since they offer an array of health benefits, especially in the digestive system. The probiotics that naturally exist in the gut are similar to the probiotics found in certain foods and dietary supplements. Some of their health benefits include fighting or preventing the occurrence of stomach ulcers by stimulating the production of mucus, which protects and coats the stomach lining. Probiotics may also enhance the effectiveness of anti-ulcer drugs as well as lessen their side effects.

They can also help speed up the healing process by promoting new blood vessel formation, which enhances the transport of healing agents to the affected sites. They may also play a key role when it comes to preventing infections caused by H. pylori.

Excellent sources of probiotics include kimchi, kefir, pickled vegetables, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and sauerkraut. 

2. Honey

Honey is one of the antioxidant-rich foods that offer a number of health benefits, such as lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease, boosts eye health, and prevents certain types of cancer.

Honey also helps prevent ulcer formation and promote wound healing due to its antibacterial properties. For this reason, its regular consumption may help prevent stomach ulcers, particularly those that are caused by H. pylori infections. 

3. Licorice

Licorice comes from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, particularly from its root. It is a popular spice native to the Mediterranean and Asian regions. It is also used in traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of many different health conditions, including stomach ulcers.  

According to studies, licorice may help fight and prevent stomach ulcers in some individuals by boosting the production of mucus in the digestive system. The production of more mucus can help protect the lining of the stomach and speed up the healing of wounds, including easing the pain caused by stomach ulcers.

Certain compounds in licorice may also prevent H. pylori growth according to researchers. However, their studies are mainly based on the compounds used in the form of licorice supplements. For this reason, the amount of dried licorice root to consume to achieve the similar beneficial effects of licorice supplements remains unclear.

It is also important to note that licorice-flavored candies or sweets do not produce the same beneficial effects of dried licorice root. However, licorice may not always be effective in treating all stomach ulcer cases. Licorice candies also tend to have very high sugar content.

Consult your healthcare provider before adding licorice in your diet since it may also cause interactions with certain medications and cause some side effects, such as numbness of limbs or muscle pain. 

4. Cabbage Juice

Before the use of antibiotics, cabbage was reportedly used by doctors as a natural remedy for stomach ulcers. Cabbage contains high amounts of vitamin C, which helps treat and prevent H. pylori infections, including other types of digestive ulcers.

Moreover, the regular and daily consumption of cabbage juice was a more effective treatment of stomach ulcers than conventional treatment according to early studies. 

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular spice that has a rich yellow color. This South Asian spice is mostly used in Indian cooking. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which possesses medicinal properties. It helps lower the risk of heart disease, improves the function of blood vessels, and reduces inflammation.

Aside from these health benefits, curcumin also has an anti-ulcer potential according to animal studies. It has therapeutic potential, particularly when it comes to H. pylori infections. It also helps to increase the secretion of mucus to protect the lining of the stomach from irritants. However, more studies in humans are still needed. 

Foods to Avoid or Limit

There are also people with stomach ulcer who also have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease. Certain types of foods tend to affect the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), letting stomach acid and other stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus. This backflow causes symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn, and other discomforts. 

To help reduce pain caused by acid reflux, avoid consuming the following foods or beverages:

  • Citrus, tomatoes, and other acidic foods
  • Chilies or hot pepper
  • High-sodium and processed foods
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine

The symptoms of acid reflux disease also worsen if you overeat or eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. 

People who are recovering from stomach ulcers should avoid consuming any of the following foods:

  • Milk: Even though milk was once considered helpful in reducing stomach acidity and pain, new research studies show that milk should be avoided by people with stomach ulcers since it boosts the secretion of stomach acid and worsens the symptoms.
  • Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol can cause damage to the digestive tract and stomach, enhancing ulcer development.
  • Fatty or spicy foods: Fatty or spicy foods can generate irritation in certain people with stomach ulcers. However, chili peppers can be an exception since their intake is usually based on a person’s tolerance level.
  • Soft drinks and coffee: These beverages can increase stomach acid production even if they are decaffeinated versions. 

References

Peptic Ulcer. (2018). Medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/pepticulcer.html

Peptic ulcer - Symptoms and causes. (2018). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peptic-ulcer/symptoms-causes/syc-20354223

Probiotics. (2018). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/14598-probiotics

Eteraf-Oskouei, T., & Najafi, M. (2013). Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a reviewIranian journal of basic medical sciences16(6), 731-42.

Cheney, G. (1949). Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. California medicine, 70(1), 10-5.

Cheney, G. (1952). Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer. California medicine, 77(4), 248-52.

Key Takeaways

  • Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are sores within the stomach lining.
  • An infection caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the most common cause of stomach ulcers.
  • Aside from antibiotics, there are effective and natural home remedies that can be used to help manage stomach ulcers.