Natural Alternatives to Zantac, Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium

Some natural compounds mimic the action of OTC heartburn medications

One of the many difficulties posed by this past year has been the number of drug recalls. In this period, many of these recalled drugs tested positive for unsafe levels of cancer-causing material. This includes over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. Manufacturers have removed the contaminated drugs from shelves, but consumers may need alternatives.

One of the most popular recalled drugs this year is Zantac heartburn medication. Zantac is used to treat excess stomach acid and several forms of ulcers. There are several OTC alternatives to Zantac, but they come with their own problems. Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium treat heartburn and gastrointestinal ulcers. But, they have all been associated with potentially serious kidney injuries.

Hundreds of consumers have filed lawsuits over recalled Zantac medication. They claim it caused multiple forms of cancer. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you should speak with an attorney today. Request a free, no-obligation Zantac cancer legal evaluation today.

Therefore, it may be difficult for consumers to find alternatives to these drugs. The good news is that we found several options within the plant world. According to researchers, several plant compounds can improve symptoms of gastric ulcers. We profiled these compounds and the evidence for their use below.

Licorice Extract

Licorice plants have been used to treat gastrointestinal problems for centuries. But, traditional extracts of the plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) can cause unwanted side effects. As a result, researchers developed a processed form of the extract with less of the side effect-inducing compound.

The modified extract, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, is available as a supplement. According to research, this compound can improve symptoms of gastric ulcers by:

  • Encouraging protective mucus production in the stomach
  • Increasing the lifespan of mucus-producing stomach cells

In one clinical trial, the modified extract was tested against cimetidine. Cimetidine is the active ingredient in Tagamet, another heartburn medication.

Patients taking the licorice-based drug experienced slightly slower improvement of symptoms. But, after six weeks, researchers found no difference between the two drugs. Both compounds showed healed ulcers in about 90% of patients.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is a popular sunburn remedy, but it has also been used to treat gastric ulcers. In one animal study, it was able to heal and prevent stress-induced ulcers. Additional animal studies have shown aloe gel effective in treating ulcers caused by other factors.

One clinical study investigated aloe gel as a treatment for gastric ulcers in 12 patients. 11 of these patients achieved complete recovery with no recurrence in the year following treatment. The last patient's ulcer did resolve, but researchers were unable to determine if the ulcer recurred.

Note: Consumers should not ingest any form of aloe vera gel unless it is clearly labeled as safe for consumption.

Marshmallow Plant

Marshmallow plant is also called Althaea officinalis. It is a component of several herbal supplements intended to treat heartburn and gastric ulcers.

Researchers have tested marshmallow plant in multiple stomach ulcer models. Animal subjects were given marshmallow plant supplementation for two weeks. Then, the subjects were exposed to ulcer-inducing materials. Subjects receiving marshmallow plant had significantly fewer ulcers versus untreated subjects.

Researchers concluded that marshmallow plant protects subjects from some forms of stomach ulcers.

Consumers Can Learn More By Consulting a Physician

Anyone struggling with heartburn or gastric ulcers should speak with a physician about these and other options. A doctor can take into account the individual's specific health situation before recommending an alternate treatment. Consumers should never discontinue prescribed medication without first consulting a licensed physician.

Authored by Katy Moncivais, Ph.D.Medical Editor
Photo of Katy Moncivais, Ph.D.
Katy Moncivais holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She’s an experienced Regenerative Medicine Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & healthcare industry. Skilled in adult stem cells, medical devices, biomechanics, bacterial and mammalian cell culture, and regenerative medicine, she provides guidance on an array of topics affecting consumers. In her role at, Dr. Moncivais works alongside the writing and research staff to help deliver fact-based news stories to consumers. Her unique professional history alongside her rigorous educational background allows her to contribute to a variety of consumer-focused topics with a fresh perspective. In addition, Dr. Moncivais reviews portions of medically driven content to ensure scientific accuracy.
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