Helicobacter pylori is a nasty stomach bacteria that is now becoming antibiotic resistant. The conventional approach is to treat it with a triple antibiotic therapy. However, not all people can tolerate this therapy, sometimes experiencing colitis and other side effects. Surprisingly one of the most effective treatments is humble kitchen garlic.
Garlic has a wonderful defense system built in. Remember that plants don't like being attacked by bacteria, viruses, animals or fungi any more than we do? Garlic contains an inert compound called alliin. When it is attacked, an enzyme called alliinase converts alliin into the powerful bug fighter, allicin. You can tell when allicin has been realised because that's when you can smell the sulphurous compounds that it emits!
The active garlic compound allicin has been found to be effective against Helicobacter pylori. Over a 14 days clinical trial (1), different groups were given different combinations of conventional antibiotics with and without allicin.(Group 6 took triple-antibiotics plus allicin 4200 mcg per day. Group 7 received only allicin 1200 mcg per day for 14 days.) Allicin was responsible for a 23% improvement rate in the antibiotics alone group and on its own, was successful in 23% of cases. The conclusion was that allicin is a very useful adjunct to therapies to fight Helicobacter pylori.
A trial also confirmed that freshly pressed garlic juice is effective against Helicobacter pylori but cooked garlic loses most of its antibiotic properties (2). Further research has confirmed the action of garlic extracts such as allicin as a way of controlling H. pylori (3). Garlic extracts and garlic oil have also been found to be powerfully anti-microbial against other GI bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Shigella sp, Salmonella sp, and Proteus mirabilis (4).
So a regular intake of fresh crushed garlic, added to food, salad dressings, etc. is very good for helping you to maintain good bowel health. If you do get an infection, an allicin extract may well be beneficial. Please contact our herbalists for help.
Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis is a member of the berberine family. This group of plants product phytochemicals which have been proven in clinical studies to be effective against Helicobacter pylori.
1: Koçkar C, Oztürk M, Bavbek N. Helicobacter pylori eradication with beta carotene, ascorbic acid and allicin. Acta Medica (Hradec Kralove). 2001;44(3):97-100. PubMed PMID: 11811084. Link to the study
2: Fozieh Jahani Moghadam, Tahereh Navidifar, Mansour Amin. Antibacterial Activity of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) on Multi-Drug Resistant Helicobacter pylori Isolated From Gastric Biopsies. International Journal of Enteric Pathogens. 2014 May; 2(2): e16749 Link to the study
3. O'Gara EA, Hill DJ, Maslin DJ. Activities of garlic oil, garlic powder, and their diallyl constituents against Helicobacter pylori. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 May;66(5):2269-73. PubMed PMID: 10788416; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC101489.
4: Eja ME, Asikong BE, Abriba C, Arikpo GE, Anwan EE, Enyi-Idoh KH. A comparative assessment of the antimicrobial effects of garlic (Allium sativum) and antibiotics on diarrheagenic organisms. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2007 Mar;38(2):343-8. PubMed PMID: 17539285. Link to the study