Using garlic as a health supplement or ingesting fresh preparations of the cloves reaps healing benefits from the different chemical components of this remarkable plant. In particular, allicin--the most effective medicinal compound derived from garlic--has been recognized for its healing properties for centuries. Allicin is produced in the garlic plant when it is threatened and acts as a natural insecticide and antifungal. With the same defensive actions in humans, healing provided by allicin addresses different issues in different parts of the body. As with any form of traditional and alternative medications, discuss the reactions and risks with a medical practitioner before use.
Allicin Produced Chemically
Chopping or finely crushing cloves of garlic is the only way to produce allicin. These actions join two different compounds found in garlic--allicin and allinase (an enzyme)--generating the allicin and activating its curative effects for many human ailments.
When all avenues to treat female fungal yeast infection with standard medical applications fail, women may choose garlic for allicin's healing effect on the bacteria. Allicin offers relief for some users with stomach ulcers, as it also does for patients with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Used for centuries as an anticlotting agent, garlic allicin may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Freshness Means Everything
Fresh garlic gives the most powerful allicin healing action. however, immediate destabilization and loss of potency occurs once allicin is released from the garlic clove. Cooking garlic or preserving it in oils reduces the allicin benefits as well.
Pressing quality garlic powder into tablets enables the supplement to move to the small intestine for body absorption, bypassing the stomach acids before the medicine releases. However, even when the tablets are coated to protect against stomach acids, most of the allicin supplements available do not provide the same benefits that freshly prepared garlic does due to the destabilization of the substance as discussed above.
Ingesting any substance for medicinal purposes requires precautions. Garlic has strong components that affect users differently. Allergic reaction to garlic includes headaches, fever and skin rash. Discontinue use when garlic or an allicin supplement causes nausea or indigestion.
To avoid a potentially bad reaction to medicines such as anticoagulants, patients should discuss garlic in the diet or supplemental use with medical practitioners before surgery. A research report published in 2001 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality summarized garlic supplements as causing "potentially harmful side effects when combined with a type of medication to treat HIV/AIDS."