Garlic doesn’t just liven up our food. A powerful, natural medicine, garlic is used to treat illness such as infection, inflammation, and hypertension, and is often called the world’s greatest wonder herb. Allicin, a chemical compound sourced from raw garlic, accounts for many of the herbs medicinal benefits. It was discovered 1944 by an Italian chemist named C.J. Cavallito, who conducted studies on its effectiveness.
Allicin has an oily, yellowish liquid appearance responsible for garlic’s strong odor. While the smell may be offensive to some, many people love the ethnicity of the scent, especially tossed on top of their favorite dish. A highly complex compound, it dissolves through heat and is more soluble in alcohol than water.
Researchers have conducted studies regarding allicin’s ability to fight certain pathogens. Researchers unlocked allicin’s secret powers by analyzing the molecular makeup of the compound: allicin protects garlic against pests and certain bacteria by disabling enzymes that trigger damage. This study concludes: garlic is an effective natural antibiotic that kills certain pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
The antibacterial function of allicin was studied further in 1999 when methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus was spreading through hospitals and certain communities. Since then, garlic and its powerful compound allicin has been considered as one of the most effective natural remedies to treat infection and other relative illnesses.
Health benefits of allicin
Besides an effective antibacterial agent, allicin has additional health benefits:
Immunity booster – A natural antibiotic, allicin stimulates the production of white blood cells, enabling the immune system to fend off harmful bacteria and other forms of pathogens. With a faster anti-inflammatory response, infection is stopped in its tracks.
Blood-thinner – Allicin has an aspirin-like activity which keeps the blood thin. This helps your body eliminate or avoid blood clots, a contributing factor in the occurrence of stroke and heart attack. A study published in November 2000 demonstrated allicin’s anti-platelet properties.
Anti-oxidant – Allicin contains high levels of anti-oxidants, removing harmful toxins and free-radicals that cause bodily damage.
Cold and flu prevention – Use garlic extract to fight pathogens, including cold viruses. While it won’t cure the illness, it will alleviate symptoms.
Cancer prevention – In Ancient times, garlic extract was used to treat cancer of the uterus; later, other forms of cancer were also treated with garlic. Today, studies show a lower number of cancer patients in places where garlic eaten regularly. This includes France,Italy, and Netherlands.
Acne – Acne is a simple form of inflammatory disease; therefore, it can be treated using the antimicrobial properties of allicin. Using a powder form, mix allicin with water and apply directly on the acne outbreaks. This helps reduce redness and dries the zits more quickly.
Animal bites – Bites are susceptible to microbes, leading to infection and inflammation. Topical allicin creams treat wounds including animal bites.
Bladder infections – Infections of the urinary tract are often painful and always accompanied by a burning sensation during urination, cramps, or sometimes fever in severe cases. Allicin powder is highly effective in killing e.coli, the most common bacteria responsible for bladder infections.
Candidiasis – Yeast infection more common in women than men. It grows in the vagina and causes skin lesions accompanied by intense itching. Add allicin powder to yogurt and applying to lesions twice a day to soothe and relieve itching; lesions can take several weeks to heal.
Side effects of allicin
Like so many other medical supplements, the benefits of allicin don’t come without possible adverse side effects. Long-term use can have some nasty side effects. These include:
Halitosis – Yes, taking Allicin supplements may cause bad breath. Because it’s a sulfur-based medicinal compound, allicin coats saliva, gums, teeth, and other oral tissues, leading to unpleasant odor and an after-taste that many people dislike.
Body odor –The notorious scent of the garlic can pass through sweat glands, leaving a trail of foul body odor.
Rashes and allergic reaction – People allergic to garlic are likely to have an allergic reaction to allicin supplements. This may include rash, wheezing, nausea and vomiting, hives, and sometimes diarrhea. Avoid taking such supplements if you are allergic to garlic.
Drug interactions – Garlic can negatively interact with several drugs such as saquinavir, a drug for HIV and AIDS. Garlic also has an adverse reaction with warfarin and other blood-thinners. If you are taking anti-coagulant drugs, do not take allicin supplements.
Digestive problems – Consuming garlic, especially raw, may irritate the gastrointestinal tract. If you have an existing digestive problem, take allicin with precaution. Never administer on an empty stomach.
Frequently munching on garlic to increase your intake of allicin isn’t necessarily
a good idea. First of all, raw garlic doesn’t taste very good! It also causes bad breath. Instead, take an allicin supplement, commonly available in pills, capsules, paste, or powder.
Not all supplements are created equally. Take a look at these simple considerations:
- Not all garlic supplements contain allicin. Instead, some contain alliin, another constituent from garlic that is converted into allicin through an enzyme called alliinase. Supplements that contains alliin may not give you the benefit you desire. Read labels!
- Allicin content should be presented in microgram or milligram. For adults (aged 14+), take no more than 12mg/day.
- If you can’t find allicin content on a label, look for enteric coated garlic products as an alternative. Such products do have some trace of allicin, but lesser therapeutic value.
- Allicin powder extract is the best source for stable amounts of allicin, and good for topical treatments such as open wounds and candidiasis. Choose one that contains at least 180mg of allicin.
All ingested substances, supplement or drugs, should be taken with precaution.
Do not take allicin if you suffer from diabetes, blood clotting disorders, or are taking anti-coagulants and HIV medications. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers (to avoid allergic reactions that may lead to severe health conditions).
Please let me know if you have any questions about this topic!