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Garlic

What is it?

Garlic is an herb used to help the heart. Garlic helps to lower fat (cholesterol) in the blood, lower high blood pressure, and reduce blood clotting. It is also an antioxidant used to protect against cancer. Garlic may be used to treat colds, lung infection (bronchitis), and the flu.

Other names for garlic include: Allium sativum , Ajo, Allicin, and Allium.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about how much garlic you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking garlic. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more garlic or take it more often than what is written on the directions.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take garlic without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Chlorzoxazone (Paraflex(R))
  • Indomethacin (Indocin(R))
  • Medicine for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (examples: saquinavir (Fortovase(R), indinavir (Crixivan(R), ritonavir (Norvir(R)))
  • Blood thinning medicine (examples: aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), ticlopidine (Ticlid(R)), warfarin (Coumadin(R)), enoxaparin (Lovenox(R))))

Warnings:

  • Before taking garlic, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Discontinue garlic 14 days before having surgery or dental work

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects.

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Asthma (difficulty breathing) if exposed to garlic dust
  • Foul body odor or bad breath
  • Headache
  • Nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up)
  • Rash or a burn if garlic is placed on the skin
  • Unexplained bruising or bruises that do not go away within a few days, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, or other bleeding

References:

1. ABDA-Datenbank: Allium sativum monograph. WuV, Eschborn and Micromedex Inc, Englewood, CO; 1997.

2. Agarwal KC: Therapeutic actions of garlic constituents. Med Res Rev 1996; 16:111-124.

3. Apitz-Castro R, Escalante J, Vargas R et al: Ajoene, the antiplatelet principle of garlic, synergistically potentiates the antiaggregatory action of prostacyclin, forskolin, indomethacin, and dypiridamole on human platelets. Thromb Res 1986; 42:303-311.

4. Berthold HK, Sudhop T & von Bergmann K: Effect of a garlic oil preparation on serum lipoproteins and cholesterol metabolism. A randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Assoc 1998; 279:1900-1902.

5. Burnham BE: Garlic as a possible risk for postoperative bleeding (letter). Plast Reconstr Surg 1995; 95(1):213.

6. Canduela V, Mongil I, Carrascosa M et al: Garlic: always good for the health (letter)? Br J Dermatol 1995; 132(1):161-162.

7. Couturier P & Bousquet J: Occupational allergy secondary to inhalation of garlic dust (letter). J Allergy Clin Immunol 1983; 70:145.

8. Fachinformation: Kwai(R) N, garlic. Lichtwer Pharma GmbH; Berlin, Germany; 1997.

9. Farrell AM & Staughton RCD: Garlic burns mimicking herpes zoster (letter). Lancet 1996; 347(9009):1195.

10.German K, Kumar U & Blackford HN: Garlic and the risk of TURP bleeding. Br J Urol 1995; 76(4):518.

11.Gurley BJ, Gardner SF, Hubbard MA et al: Cytochrome P450 phenotypic ratios for predicting herb-drug interactions in humans. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2002; 72(3):276-287.

12.Holzgartner H, Schmidt U & Kuhn U: Comparison of the efficacy and tolerance of a garlic preparation vs bezafibrate. Arzneimittelforschung 1992; 42:1473-1477.

13.Josling P: Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Adv Ther 2001; 18(4):189-193.

14.Jung EM, Jung F, Mrowietz C et al: Influence of garlic powder on cutaneous microcirculation: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind cross-over study in apparently healthy subjects. Arzneimittelforschung 1991; 41(6):626-630.

15.Lee TY & Lam TH: Contact dermatitis due to topical treatment with garlic in Hong Kong. Contact Dermatitis 1991; 24:193-196.

16.Piscitelli SC, Burstein AH, Welden N et al: The effect of garlic supplements on the pharmacokinetics of saquinavir. Clin Infect Dis 2002; 34(2):234-238.

17.Rose KD, Croissant PD, Parliament CF et al: Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma with associated platelet dysfunction from excessive garlic ingestion: a case report. Neurosurgery 1990; 26:880-882.

18.Steiner M & Li W: Aged garlic extract, a modulator of cardiovascular risk factors: a dose-finding study on the effects of AGE on platelet functions. J Nutr 2001; 131(3s):980S-984S.

19.Sunter W: Warfarin and garlic. Pharm J 1991; 246:722.

20.Yellin AS, Davidson BJ, Pinto JT et al: Relationship of glutathione and glutathione-S-transferase to cisplatin sensitivity in human head and neck squamous carcinoma cell lines. Cancer Lett 1994; 85:223-232.

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Last Updated: 1/4/2010

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