What is it?
Other uses include treatment of fever, coughs, headache, stomach ache, sinus congestion, gout, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, and snakebites. It is also used for fighting stress and fatigue, and maintaining healthy liver function.
It is a common flavoring in food, some scientists have suggested that it might have a role as a food additive to prevent food poisoning. There is some evidence that fresh garlic, can kill certain bacteria such as E. coli, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella enteritis in the laboratory.
How effective is it?
Possibly effective for…
- High blood pressure. Some research shows that it can reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure by as much as 7% or 8%. It also seems to lower blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure. Most studies have used a specific powder product (Kwai, from Lichtwer Pharma).
- “Hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). As people age, their arteries tend to lose their ability to stretch and flex with age.
- Colon cancer, rectal cancer, and stomach cancer. Seems to reduce the risk of developing these cancers.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). There is some preliminary evidence that taking by mouth might be helpful for improving urinary flow, decreasing urinary frequency, and other symptoms associated with BPH.
- Common cold. Preliminary research suggests it might reduce the frequency and number of colds when taken for prevention.
- High blood pressure in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia). Some preliminary clinical evidence suggests that taking a specific garlic extract (Garlet) 800 mg/day during the third trimester of pregnancy does not reduce the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in high-risk women.
- Prostate cancer. Men in China who eat about a clove daily seem to have a 50% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Whether this benefit applies to men in Western countries is not known.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY SAFE in pregnancy when taken in the amounts normally found in food. POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in medicinal amounts in pregnancy and breast-feeding. There isn’t enough reliable information about the safety of using this on the skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side, and avoid use.
Children: POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and appropriately for a short-term in children. POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large doses. Some sources suggest that high doses could be dangerous or even fatal to children; however, the reason for this warning is not known. There are no case reports available of significant adverse events or mortality in children associated with taking by mouth.
Stomach or digestion problems: It can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Use with caution if you have stomach or digestion problems.
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- Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP, et al. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2008;8:13.
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- Dhamija P, Malhotra S, Pandhi P. Effect of oral administration of crude aqueous extract of garlic on pharmacokinetic parameters of isoniazid and rifampicin in rabbits. Pharmacology 2006;77:100-4.