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Garlic Usage

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Effect of Garlic on Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)

Garlic may have a number of properties that help with colds and flu. For instance, we know that garlic contains compounds that help the plant defend itself from microbes, and these anti-microbial...

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Effect of Garlic on Heart Attack

Garlic may have a number of benefits for the heart, though specific effects are not clear. It may help prevent heart attacks by acting as a blood thinner.15-18,112 Garlic may also help reduce high...

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Effect of Garlic on Hypertension

Garlic may help treat high blood pressure by, among other things, acting as a blood thinner.

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What Is Garlic Used for Today?

Garlic is widely used as an all-around treatment for preventing or slowing the progression of atherosclerosis (the cause of most heart attacks and strokes ). 1 2 However, there is actually relatively little in the way of meaningful evidence that it works for this purpose. The balance of the evidence suggests that garlic is not effective for treating high cholesterol , 3 ; there is only minimal evidence that it offers any benefits for people with high blood pressure . 4 According to some, but not all, studies, garlic might have blood-thinning effects, 5 but whether this translates into any medical benefit remains unclear.

One study found preliminary evidence that use of garlic could enhance blood sugar control in diabetes . 6 Garlic has a long folkloric history as a treatment for colds and is commonly stated to strengthen the immune system. However, up until 2001, there was no supporting evidence for this use. Since then, however, evidence including a well-designed double-blind study does suggest that regular use of garlic extract can help prevent colds. 7 In addition, folklore suggesting that garlic ingestion can ward off insect bites may have some truth to it, at least when garlic is taken regularly for several weeks. 8 When applied topically, garlic can kill fungi, 9 10 11 and there is preliminary evidence suggesting that ajoene, a compound derived from garlic, might help treat athlete's foot . 12 Topical garlic can also kill bacteria on contact; however, if you take garlic by mouth, it will not work like an antibiotic throughout your system. Furthermore, oral garlic has failed to prove effective for killing Helicobacter pylori, the stomach bacteria implicated as a major cause of ulcers . 13 Traditionally, garlic was often combined with the herb mullein in oil products designed to reduce the pain of middle ear infections ( otitis media , not external ear infections known commonly as swimmer’s ear), and two double-blind studies support this use. 14 Note: While these products may reduce pain, it is very unlikely that they have any actual effect on the infection because the eardrum prevents them from reaching the site of infection.

Preliminary evidence, including one small double-blind trial suggests that regular intake of garlic as food or as aged garlic supplements may reduce risk of various forms of cancer . 15 Based on extremely weak evidence, garlic has been proposed as a treatment for problems related to the yeast Candida albicans, such as vaginal yeast infections , 16 oral yeast infections (thrush), 17 and the purported condition discussed in some alternative medicine circles as yeast hypersensitivity syndrome .


  1. Efendy JL, Simmons DL, Campbell GR, Campbell JH. The effect of the aged garlic extract, 'Kyolic', on the development of experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis. 132(1):37-42.
  2. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physicians' Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed. Berlin, Germay: Springer-Verlag; 1998:112.
  3. Silagy CA, Neil HA. A meta-analysis of the effect of garlic on blood pressure. J Hypertens. 12(4):463-8.
  4. Silagy CA, Neil HA. A meta-analysis of the effect of garlic on blood pressure. J Hypertens. 12(4):463-8.
  5. Legnani C, Frascaro M, Guazzaloca G, Ludovici S, Cesarano G, Coccheri S. Effects of a dried garlic preparation on fibrinolysis and platelet aggregation in healthy subjects. Arzneimittelforschung. 43(2):119-22.
  6. Sobenin IA, Nedosugova LV, Filatova LV, Balabolkin MI, Gorchakova TV, Orekhov AN. Metabolic effects of time-released garlic powder tablets in type 2 diabetes mellitus: the results of double-blinded placebo-controlled study. Acta Diabetol. 45(1):1-6.
  7. Josling P. Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther. 18(4):189-93.
  8. Stjernberg L, Berglund J. Garlic as an insect repellent [letter]. JAMA. 2000;284:831.
  9. Caporaso N, Smith SM, Eng RH. Antifungal activity in human urine and serum after ingestion of garlic ( Alliumsativum ). Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1983;23:700-702.
  10. Sandhu DK, Warraich MK, Singh S. Sensitivity of yeasts isolated from cases of vaginitis to aqueous extracts of garlic. Mykosen. 23(12):691-8.
  11. Ghannoum MA. Studies on the anticandidal mode of action of Allium sativum (garlic). J Gen Microbiol. 1988;134:2917-2924.
  12. Ledezma E, DeSousa L, Jorquera A, Sanchez J, Lander A, Rodriguez E, Jain MK, Apitz-Castro R. Efficacy of ajoene, an organosulphur derived from garlic, in the short-term therapy of tinea pedis. Mycoses. 39(9-10):393-5.
  13. Graham DY, Anderson SY, Lang T. Garlic or jalapeno peppers for treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am J Gastroenterol. 1999;94:1200-1202.
  14. Sarrell EM, Mandelberg A, Cohen HA. Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 155(7):796-9.
  15. Fleischauer AT, Poole C, Arab L. Garlic consumption and cancer prevention: meta-analyses of colorectal and stomach cancers. Am J Clin Nutr. 72(4):1047-52.
  16. Sandhu DK, Warraich MK, Singh S. Sensitivity of yeasts isolated from cases of vaginitis to aqueous extracts of garlic. Mykosen. 23(12):691-8.
  17. Sabitha P, Adhikari PM, Shenoy SM, Kamath A, John R, Prabhu MV, Mohammed S, Baliga S, Padmaja U. Efficacy of garlic paste in oral candidiasis. Trop Doct. 35(2):99-100.


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