Stress, fatty foods, and smoking certainly aren’t good for your health, but scientists are now finding they may not always be to blame when it comes to ulcers. Instead, research shows the culprit is bacterial infection. Since antibiotics are typically prescribed for relief—and resistance to them can mean several rounds of drugs to completely destroy the ulcer-causing bacteria—new research shows a sweeter solution may be a simple spoonful of manuka honey.
“Manuka honey is the only kind that retains its bacteria-fighting power when ingested,” says Peter Molan, PhD, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato on New Zealand’s North Island. It also soothes the pain from ulcers and stimulates the growth of cells to repair damaged tissue.
Even better, manuka honey works for nonbacterial ulcers—those that are caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alcohol, and stress—and may alleviate mild to severe stomach pain due to inflammation following meals. For existing ulcers, take one heaping spoonful of the sweet stuff on an empty stomach while symptoms persist. For prevention, take the spoonful 30 minutes prior to taking any NSAID and before meals. However, because of manuka honey’s 80 percent sugar content, diabetics and those with insulin sensitivities should talk to their healthcare providers before trying this treatment.