Natural and Home Remedies for Stomach Ulcers

A stomach ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach or small intestine (duodenum). This sore usually causes pain and burning in the abdomen. This pain can come and go and may last for hours at a time. 

Stomach ulcers occur when the acids that your body uses to digest food lead to damage to the stomach or duodenum walls. This can be caused by the infection H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) or the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Certain foods and stress can exacerbate the development of ulcers and associated pain.

This article will describe natural and home remedies used to treat ulcers and foods to limit or avoid if you have an ulcer. 

An illustration with natural remedies for stomach ulcers

Verywell / Danie Drankwalter

Home Remedies for Stomach Ulcers

There are several options for natural remedies that may help to prevent or improve stomach ulcers. 

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant products with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They may improve the inflammation associated with ulcers and protect the lining of the stomach wall from NSAID damage. 

Flavonoid-rich foods include:

  • Berries
  • Green tea
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Soy
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots 

Aloe Vera 

Stomach ulcers can cause inflammation in the wall of the stomach or small intestine, which leads to pain and difficulty eating. Aloe vera helps to coat the lining of the stomach and has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers also found that aloe vera improved inflammation symptoms in individuals with ulcerative colitis. 

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms made up of bacteria and yeast. They are known as good bacteria that can keep your gut healthy. A study found that when combined with traditional triple therapy, probiotics improved the treatment of peptic ulcers and reduced the risk of treatment side effects. Triple therapy for ulcers includes amoxicillin, a proton pump inhibitor medication, and Biaxin (clarithromycin). 

Ginger

Ginger is a spice that has been used to improve stomach upset for years. A study examined the effects of ginger on inflammatory bowel disease and found that it was able to target inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and block damage. It also promoted healing factors in the gut.

Ginger has also been shown to be effective in preventing gastric ulcers caused by H. pylori, stress, alcohol, and NSAIDs.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and is a popular health supplement. Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, has been found to protect against inflammation. It may have a preventive effect on gastric ulcer disease. While more research is needed, the initial findings are promising. 

Chamomile

Chamomile is a daisy-like herb that is used for a variety of ailments. Chamomile has been found to ease inflammation in the digestive tract and can help treat mild ulcerative colitis. 

Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice

Licorice has been found to inhibit H. pylori activity in the gut. This may help to prevent the formation of ulcers due to this type of bacteria. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice has the glycyrrhizic acid removed and tends to cause fewer side effects.

Honey

You may have tried honey to relieve cold symptoms in the past, but it can do so much more. Studies have found that honey has both antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which means it can fight bacteria and fungus in the body. It also has antiviral and antioxidant properties. Honey has been used to treat inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases. 

Garlic

Garlic has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. A study found that taking a garlic supplement can inhibit H. pylori colonization in the digestive tract, which helps prevent stomach ulcers. Garlic also reduces inflammation in the body.

Mastic

Mastic gum is a natural resin produced by trees that grow on the Greek island of Chios. Mastic has antioxidant properties and aids in immune system regulation. It is used in alternative medicine to treat inflammatory bowel disease and ulcers.

Other Treatments for Stomach Ulcers

Ulcers need to be treated, or they will continue to worsen. Medications are considered the first-line therapy to treat stomach ulcers because they can heal them while lowering the risk of complications like bleeding. Traditional triple therapy for ulcer management includes a proton pump inhibitor, amoxicillin, and Biaxin (clarithromycin) for seven to 10 days. 

Medications for stomach ulcers include:

  • Antibiotics are needed to treat H. pylori because it is a type of bacteria. The antibiotic prescription needs to be taken exactly as prescribed, even if you begin to feel better before it is finished. 
  • Antacids reduce the acid in the stomach, and while they can make you feel better, antacids will not cure an ulcer. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking antacids as they may interact with certain antibiotics.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) work to reduce stomach acid and protect the lining of the stomach and duodenum. However, they do not treat or cure H. pylori. Common PPIs include Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), and Prilosec (omeprazole).
  • H-2 blockers (histamine receptor blockers) block histamine, the chemical that tells your stomach to produce acid. This relieves ulcer pain while protecting it during the healing phase. Examples include Pepcid (famotidine) and Zantac (ranitidine).
  • Stomach lining medications coat ulcers and protect them from stomach acid, which allows them to heal. These medications can kill H. pylori but must be used with antibiotics. Examples include Carafate (sucralfate) and Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate).

Stomach Ulcer Therapeutic Endoscopy

When a stomach ulcer goes untreated, it can start to bleed, and this can quickly become a medical emergency. When this happens, you may require surgery to repair the stomach damage. Fortunately, surgery for ulcers is not common because the other treatments are so effective. 

Ulcer Diet

Your diet can greatly affect your risk of stomach ulcers. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and late-night snacking have all been associated with an increased risk of ulcers. Milk used to be a treatment for ulcers but is no longer recommended. 

Foods to Avoid With an Ulcer

When you have an ulcer, it is important to avoid foods that can worsen it or cause increased pain. Common examples include:

  • Alcohol
  • Acidic foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Milk or cream
  • Fried foods
  • High-fat foods 
  • Highly processed foods 
  • Chocolate 

Ulcer-Friendly Foods

To help your ulcer heal, include fresh, healthy foods in your diet. In addition to taking your prescription medications from your healthcare provider, incorporate the following foods into your day:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Green tea
  • Legumes
  • Soy, tofu
  • Eggs
  • Lean meats
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats 
  • Herbs and spices 
  • Probiotic-rich foods 

Coffee has long been believed to make ulcers worse. Because coffee is acidic, it may exacerbate the pain caused by an ulcer. Talk with your healthcare provider about coffee and ask if there is a safe amount to enjoy while the ulcer heals. 

Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Stomach Ulcers

Certain lifestyle factors can affect your risk of stomach ulcers. To prevent ulcers in the future, start making these lifestyle changes today:

  • Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of H. pylori infection.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking raises your risk of stomach ulcers.
  • Exercise daily: Regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of stomach ulcers. 

Living With Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are painful and can significantly affect your quality of life. Coping strategies to help you manage chronic ulcers include:

  • Avoid NSAIDs as they can increase your risk of ulcers. Talk with your healthcare provider about which pain medications are safe for you.
  • Manage stress, which has been linked with an increased risk of ulcers. Incorporate stress-relieving activities such as mindfulness or yoga into your routine. 
  • Change your diet and try avoiding foods that can worsen them. A bland diet is safest when you have an ulcer. 
  • Eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones to reduce the pain.

Summary

Ulcers are painful sores in the lining of the stomach caused by stomach acid. Typical treatments for ulcers include medications but talk with your healthcare provider about incorporating home remedies (honey, ginger, chamomile, probiotics, and more) into your plan.

A Word From Verywell 

If you have ever experienced a stomach ulcer, you know how painful it is. If you suspect that you have an ulcer, talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The longer an ulcer goes untreated, the worse it becomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can stress cause ulcers?

    While stress has not been found to directly cause stomach ulcers, it can exacerbate them. It also raises the risk of experiencing an ulcer. This may be because of unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking or drinking alcohol. 

  • What painkillers can I take with a stomach ulcer?

    When you have a stomach ulcer, it is important to stop all use of NSAIDs. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for the pain. 

  • What is the fastest way to cure stomach ulcer symptoms?

    The fastest way to cure a stomach ulcer is to see your healthcare provider right away. Starting the appropriate treatment regimen will help heal the ulcer and alleviate the pain as soon as possible. 

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.