Ginseng fights ulcer-causing bacteria

The bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori causes gastric inflammation, ulceration and DNA damage and underlies the majority of cases of peptic ulcers. About 20% of people under 40 and half of those over 60 years have the gut bacteria. The World Health Organization has defined H. pylori as a class I carcinogen.

Past studies have reported that Panax ginseng has antimicrobial activity against H. Pylori — a conclusion strengthened by a new study from the Genomic Research Center for Gastroenterology in Korea. There, researchers examined the protective effect of red ginseng extracts against H. pylori-induced cell death and DNA damage and found that the herb significantly reduced both. The researchers concluded that red ginseng extracts showed significant gastroprotective effects against H. pylori-associated cell damage, suggesting that it could be used as nutritional supplement in the prevention and treatment of H. pylori infection and peptic ulcers.

An earlier study found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin found in green tea, has similar protective effects against H. pylori.

Source: Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jul;50(7):1218-27