What is garlic?

Garlic is a herb otherwise known as Ajo, Ail, Allii Sativi Bulbus, Allium, Camphor of the Poor, Poor Man’s Treacle, Stinking Rose, Allium sativum, Lasun etc.

It has the generic name Garlic and brand name of Garlic oil commonly used as  food and flavouring agent.

When garlic is used as  food product, it is neutral i.e. it has neither health benefits nor side effects. However, when used as a medicinal product, it  may produce both desired and unwanted effects on the body of the user.


Amount of the  active ingredient in Garlic, Allicin vary widely in various garlic products sold as health supplements. Since the compound is unstable, one can reduce its amount in garlic product to lessen its odour.


In essence little to no Allicin makes an odourless garlic, the lesser the amount of Allicin in a product, the less effective such garlic product is.


Side effect of Garlic:

When using garlic as medicine, one needs to look out for side effects as discussed earlier on, before taking the medicine, make sure you aren’t allergic to it.

Ensure you consult a physician, pharmacist or other health provider around you if you:

  • Stomach ulcer
  • Digestive problem
  • Haemophilia


What to take note when using Garlic

You should watch out for the following if you decided to use garlic as medicine

1. Use of garlic as flavouring agent is seen not to pose any risk to pregnant women and hence considered safe for use during pregnancy.

On  the other hand, using it as medicine has not been confirmed to endanger the foetus according to research so to be on the safe side, Do not use garlic as medicine during pregnancy

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2. Also birth control pills can be less effective when used with garlic, you can confirm the type of non-hormonal birth control you can use while taking garlic.

Birth conttol pills
Birth control pills

3. Since Garlic may flow into breast milk through nodes and may harm a baby, do not use without medical consultation if you are a nursing mother.


4. When taken in large doses, garlic may pose a risk to children. Hence, consult a medical personnel before giving a child any form of herbs or supplements.


5. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice. Garlic taken by mouth in large doses may be harmful to children.


6. Don’t combine different forms of garlic such as cloves, tablets, oil etc at the same time without consent from a doctor. Using a different combination is an overdose which should be avoided.


7. The pill has a unique coating to safeguard your stomach, hence do not crush or chew. Swallow whole to avoid damaging the coat of a garlic pill


8. See a doctor if the reason you are using the product does not improve or get worst after a particular time of using a garlic product


9. Since Garlic affect blood-clotting and may trigger increase in bleeding.

Stay away from garlic at least 2 weeks if you need surgery, dental check-up or a medical attention that will require drawing blood.


10.keep in a room temperature free from heat, light and moisture as directed in the package


What  drugs will attack garlic?

Do not take garlic without medical consult  if you are on any of the following drugs:

  • Paracetamol
  • Tyrol
  • birth control pills
  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • cyclosporine;
  • chlorzoxazone;
  • theophylline;
  • HIV or AIDS drugs–delavirdine, efavirenz, nevirapine, saquinavir;
  • Anti-coagulants drugs e.g. alteplase, ticlopidine, urokinase etc.
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Stay away from garlic except otherwise encouraged by your physician if you have to treat any of the following diseases or disorder

1. Infections such as HIV, Malaria etc.

2. Depression;

3. Allergic diseases e.g. Asthma

4. Cancer;

6. Erectile dysfunction;

7. Seizures

8. High blood pressure

Check BP with sphygmomanometer
Check BP with sphygmomanometer

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Updated:18th of February 2021

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