Skip to main content


Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Allium sativum

Parts of the plant used:

The bulbs (cloves) and garlic oil.

Other Common Name:


Parts of the plant used:

The bulbs (cloves) and garlic oil

How is it used?

Garlic cloves may be eaten raw or added to milk and other liquids. Dehydrated garlic capsules, as well as garlic “pearls” containing the oil are also available. Garlic tinctures are employed as homeopathic remedies.

What is it used for?

As an antiseptic, against fungus infections and antimicrobial; internally as well as externally. Continuous ingestion of garlic may lower circulating fats, including cholesterol. Garlic may also possess a possible preventive effect against stomach cancer, due to antitumor effects of its sulfur containing compounds. Some of garlic’s active principles possess broad-spectrum antibiotic effects. Garlic is also used against gastrointestinal parasites as well as a repellant or treatment against venomous stings from insects, spiders, scorpions and other arthropods. Garlic may modestly lower blood pressure and act as a mild diuretic, promoting urination. Ingestion of garlic cloves or preparations made from this plant may prevent blood clots, since some of garlic’s constituents can thin the blood. Garlic may decrease the level of glucose or sugar in the blood. Garlic consumed in small quantities as a food condiment or flavoring usually poses no hazards to health.



Safety / Precautions


  • Do not ingest in large amounts for at least 2 weeks before surgery. Garlic consumed in large amounts may interfere with normal blood clotting and may increase bleeding time.
  • Do not use in large amounts in persons with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilic patients, patients with bleeding ulcers or gastritis, due to potential gastric irritation.
  • Do not use together with other herbs that may interfere with blood clotting, such as Cat’s claw, Ginger, Ginkgo, Ginseng or Feverfew, for example.
  • Do not apply garlic cloves or garlic preparations (poultices) directly to the skin for periods longer than a few hours, as it may cause a severe burn (especially avoid doing so in small children). Contact dermatitis can occur in hypersensitive people.
  • Use with caution in diabetic patients (garlic may lower blood glucose levels).
  • Do not use in large amounts in patients with thyroid dysfunction, as garlic may interfere with iodine metabolism.
  • Do not ingest in large quantities during pregnancy and lactation. Garlic in large amounts may induce labor.
  • Garlic oil should not be used to treat infections of the inner ear in children, as it may cause serious irritation.
  • Chopped garlic and oil medicinal preparations left to stand at room temperature for many hours can serve as a growth medium for certain dangerous bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum, which produces the deadly botulism toxin.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!