A number of natural products have been shown to have activity against H pylori bacteria. One such product is bee propolis. Researchers have demonstrated that bee propolis has some antibacterial effects and a small handful of scientific papers have examined whether bee propolis can be used to treat H pylori either alongside or in place of conventional triple therapy.
In one study, Platsko and colleagues demonstrated that when 30-40mg of bee propolis was taken three times daily alongside standard triple therapy, H pylori eradication rates and ulcer healing improved compared to patients who used standard triple therapy alone. This particular study can be found in the 2002 edition of the medical journal Helicobacter).
In another scientific paper, Boyanova et al investigated the effect of 30% ethanolic extract of bee propolis against ninety-four different strains of Helicobacter pylori. The scientists found that propolis showed strong antibacterial activity against H pylori in a dose-dependent fashion. In other words, the more propolis used, the stronger the effect). This study can be found in the 2003 edition of the medical journal Helicobacter.
The problem with the second study from 2003 is that the research was conducted in vitro, which basically means “outside the body”. So what’s the problem?
Well, a test tube or petri dish containing a growth medium for H pylori in the lab is completely different from the environment in your stomach and intestine where H pylori lives. As such it is impossible to conclude that propolis can kill H pylori in the body in the same way as it does in the lab.
Nevertheless, propolis clearly does offer some promise in the treatment of H pylori.
The many practitioners around the world to whom we have spoken tend to choose other products to combat H pylori infection. These include concentrated garlic capsules, potent forms of mastic gum, berberine, oil of oregano, DGL and zinc-l-carnosine, lactoferrin and probiotics.
In addition to the use of these nutritional and herbal products, we recommend several key diet changes that can really help reduce stomach and intestinal symptoms even before H pylori is eradicated. Time and time again, our clients’ symptoms improve dramatically with these diet changes alone.
The reason these improvements occur is rather counter-intuitive. Some people have H pylori, but the H pylori itself is not causing any of their symptoms. Instead, common foods that cause immune responses in the gut are responsible for their symptoms. These include cow’s milk, soy, gluten and sugar.
Of course, the problem is that once H pylori has been diagnosed, it is assumed that the bacteria must be causing the symptoms, when in fact all that is needed for resolution of symptoms is plain old dietary changes. These diet changes also improve the eradication success of treatment regimens, whether those regimens are pharmaceutical antibiotics or herbs.