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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: garlic (Pronunciation: GAR lick)

What is garlic ()?

The use of garlic in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Garlic is also known as rocambole, ajo, allium, stinking rose, rustic treacle, nectar of the gods, camphor of the poor, poor man's treacle, and clove garlic.

Garlic is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Garlic is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of garlic as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of garlic may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Garlic has been used orally as an antioxidant; to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides; to reduce hardening of the arteries and blood clotting; to reduce blood pressure; to prevent cancer; to protect the liver; as an antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal; to increase the effects of the immune system; to reduce blood sugar levels; and to reduce menstrual pain. Garlic has also been used topically (on the skin) to treat corns, warts, calluses, ear infections, muscle pain, nerve pain, arthritis, and sciatica.

Garlic has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of garlic may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Garlic may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What are the possible side effects of garlic ()?

Although uncommon, allergic reactions to garlic have been reported. Stop taking garlic and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Other less serious side effects have also been reported. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience

  • burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach;
  • nausea or vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • sweating;
  • lightheadedness; and
  • eczema or a rash.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about garlic ()?

Garlic is a commonly used flavoring agent and food product. Garlic is also available as an herbal supplement. The information contained in this leaflet refers to the use of garlic as an herbal supplement. When used as a food product, the benefits and potential side effects of garlic may be less pronounced than when it is used as an herbal supplement.

Do not take garlic without first talking to your doctor if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder or diabetes, or if you are taking any medicines to prevent or treat a blood clotting disorder or diabetes. Garlic has been reported to affect blood clotting and blood sugar levels.

Garlic has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of garlic may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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