Herbs, Probiotics and H. pylori

Phytoceuticals: mighty but ignored weapons against Helicobacter pylori infection.
J Dig Dis. 2008 Aug;9(3):129-39. Lee SY, Shin YW, Hahm KB.


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection causes peptic ulcer disease, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas and gastric adenocarcinomas, for which the pathogenesis of chronic gastric inflammation prevails and provides the pathogenic basis. Since the role of H. pylori infection is promoting carcinogenesis rather than acting as a direct carcinogen, as several publications show, eradication alone cannot be the right answer for preventing H. pylori-associated gastric cancer. Therefore, a non-antimicrobial approach has been suggested to attain microbe-associated cancer prevention through controlling H. pylori-related chronic inflammatory processes and mediators responsible for carcinogenesis. Phytoceutical is a term for plant products that are active on biological systems. Phytoceuticals such as Korean red ginseng, green tea, red wine, flavonoids, broccoli sprouts, garlic, probiotics and flavonoids are known to inhibit H. pylori colonization, decrease gastric inflammation by inhibiting cytokine and chemokine release, and repress precancerous changes by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B DNA binding, inducing profuse levels of apoptosis and inhibiting mutagenesis. Even though further unsolved issues are awaited before phytoceuticals are accepted as a standard treatment for H. pylori infection, phytoceuticals can be a mighty weapon for either suppressing or modulating the disease-associated footprints of H. pylori infection.

1. Antibacterial activity of 20 kinds of Chinese medicinal materials for Helicobacter pylori in vitro.
Du P, Zhu S, Lü P. Zhongyaocai 2001; 24: 188-189
2. Bactericidal action of 5 kinds of traditional herbal drugs for Helicobacter pylori.
Liu B, Li XT, Xu HL, Wang HY, Zhao JM, Sun Y, Yang XM, Gu YP, Yang YL. Zhongguo Xinyao Zazhi 2002; 11: 457-459


In vitro studies showed that some herbs such as Radix scutellariae, Lonicera, Radix Isatidis Seu Baphicacanthi, Coptis chinensis Franch and Fructus Aurantii
Immaturus have obvious inhibitory effects on H pylori[1,2]

Bactericidal activity of medicinal plants, employed for the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments, against Helicobacter pylori.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan 21;121(2):286-91. Epub 2008 Nov 8. Zaidi SF, Yamada K, Kadowaki M, Usmanghani K, Sugiyama T.


Medicinal plants have always been a source of lead compounds for drug discovery. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of 50 commonly used Unani (traditional) medicine plants from Pakistan that are extensively utilized for the cure of gastrointestinal disorders to explore the natural source for pilot compounds against Helicobacter pylori. Of the 50, 25 inhibited the growth of all eight strains of H. Pylori that were tested.

Systematic review: are probiotics useful in controlling gastric colonization by Helicobacter pylori?
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Apr 15;23(8):1077-86. Gotteland M, Brunser O, Cruchet S.


Helicobacter pylori is a highly prevalent pathogen considered as an aetiological factor for gastroduodenal ulcers, and a risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma and lymphoma in humans. Most subjects colonized by this micro-organism are asymptomatic and remain untreated. In symptomatic patients, the antibiotic treatment has a high cost and is not 100% effective because of resistance to antibiotics and to moderate patient compliance. This review discusses the role of probiotics as alternative solutions to assist in the control of H. pylori colonization in at-risk populations. The evidence that some strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are able to inhibit H. pylori growth through the release of bacteriocins or organic acids, and may also decrease its adhesion to epithelial cells, is reviewed. In addition, probiotics have a possible role in the stabilization of the gastric barrier function and the decrease of mucosal inflammation. Other aspects that are considered are the contribution of probiotics to the healing of the gastric mucosa linked to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical trials in colonized adults and children are reviewed, and suggest that probiotics do not eradicate H. pylori but maintain lower levels of this pathogen in the stomach; in combination with antibiotics, probiotics may increase eradication rate and/or decrease adverse effects. Papers suggesting similar effects on H. pylori by foodstuffs such as berry juice and some milk proteins are quoted. Regular intake of these and other dietary products might constitute a low-cost, large-scale alternative solution applicable for populations at-risk for H. pylori colonization.