Noted for having anti-infective properties, garlic is used by many people for Candida infections. Research shows that garlic can effectively eradicate many different pathogenic organisms. Many women use garlic to relieve the symptoms of candidiasis and other infections. For thousands of years, before the invention of antibiotics, cultures used garlic in food preparation and as a medicinal treatment.
Allicin is the chemical in garlic that exhibits anti-infective properties. In research studies, the sulfuric compound has been shown to destroy bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Candida, commonly called yeast, belongs to the fungus/mold variety of microbes. Laboratory tests indicate that garlic kills Candida by inhibiting lipid, protein, and nucleic acid synthesis, preventing organism growth, function, and replication. Using garlic for Candida treatment does not eliminate all of the natural yeast in the body, but many propose that the antifungal effects of allicin effectively diminish overgrowth.
Individuals use garlic in many forms, including capsules and tablets, but many suggest using raw garlic for Candida treatment, as this form contains allicin, the chemical that gives garlic its distinctive aroma and flavor. Garlic advocates suggest consuming one to three cloves daily. Individuals generally take the garlic by first chopping or crushing the cloves, which activates the allicin. The pieces are consumed with water, which minimizes the burning effects of the chemical. Taking garlic for Candida infections requires repeating this process two to three times a day.
Consuming garlic on a regular basis is not without side effects. The most common effects associated with it include bad breath and body odor. Some people experience bloating from increased gas, and the irritating effects of garlic may cause nausea. Becoming light-headed or sweating can also occur, and individuals with a sensitivity to sulfur can develop an allergic reaction, ranging in severity from a rash to anaphylaxis.
The chemical constituents of garlic also interfere with the ability of platelet's to stick together, increasing clotting time and sometimes leading to unusual bleeding or bruising. Taking garlic for Candida for prolonged lengths of time might also lead to decreased numbers of red and white blood cells, along with available hemoglobin. Garlic consumption also decreases blood glucose levels, which may alter the need for glycemic agents in diabetic patients.
The medicinal properties of garlic have been known since ancient times. Egyptians used garlic in over 20 different medicinal preparations that treated a myriad of ailments and believed the substance contributed to overall good health. During the 1600s, physicians used garlic for the treatment of plague and, later, smallpox. Albert Schweitzer treated patients suffering from cholera and typhoid fever with garlic. During the WWI, the herb was used to treat everything from dysentery to open wounds.