Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic is a member of the onion genus species, Allium. It falls into the broad category of onions, shallots, leak, and chive and is usually of a pungent nature in smell and taste. Originating from Central Asia, garlic is used as a seasoning for food all over the world and is extremely popular for the taste it imparts to food and its medicinal properties. However along with its pros, garlic has its share of cons and though it’s not pleasant to concentrate on negativities, in this case, it’s important we should explore the adverse side effects of garlic to be able to use it responsibly. Read on to know more about the side effects of garlic.
Garlic Side Effects
1. Bad Breath and Body Odour
Everyone is familiar with the term garlic breath which is used to describe bad breath caused by eating raw or too much garlic however along with the menace of bad breath; garlic often causes a pungent body odor. This pungent odor is caused by allyl methyl sulfide or AMS. AMS is a chemical composition absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of sulfur compounds that find their way into the human body through garlic. AMS once absorbed into the blood travels to the lungs and then out of the mouth causing what is popularly known as garlic breath. It is also exuded from the skin pores causing a pungent body odor. Washing the skin with soap has little impact on this stubborn smell so if you can’t avoid eating garlic, you could eat small quantities or stay away from them altogether if you are around people all the time. This is the worst side effect of garlic that one can face in daily life situations.
2. Garlic Allergies and Health Hazards
Many people suffer from allergies to garlic and are also extremely sensitive to other plants in the Allium genus. The common symptoms of garlic allergies are irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcers, breathing difficulties, nausea, and even in a few rare cases, anaphylaxis which is an extreme form of allergy that can even result in death. People allergic to garlic often exhibit allergic reactions to diallyl disulfide, allylpropyldisulfide, allylmercaptan, and allicin, all of which are proponents of garlic. People who are allergic to garlic are often also allergic to many other plants such as onions, leeks, chives, lilies, ginger, and bananas. Many people also consume garlic supplements for health benefits however there have been cases of adverse side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, sweating, dizziness, allergic reactions, bleeding, and menstrual irregularities. No studies can vouch for the safety of garlic supplements for children.
3. Garlic Supplements Unsafe For Pregnant Women
Garlic supplements sell well because of their healing properties however garlic reduces platelet aggregation just like aspirin which is why very high quantities of garlic or garlic supplements are considered detrimental to pregnant women and may cause a risk of bleeding during pregnancy and after childbirth.
4. Skin Burns Due To Garlic Content in Topical Medications
There have been serious reports of skin burns due to the application of garlic on the skin through topical ointments. Garlic is often applied topically for different purposes including naturopathy and acne treatments however this has caused painful skin burns in some cases. Topical use of raw garlic and also inserting raw garlic into body cavities is unsafe. The topical application of raw garlic on little children should be avoided at all costs.
5. Garlic Interacts With Antibiotics and Other Drugs
Garlic may interact with warfarin, antiplatelets, saquinavir, antihypertensive, calcium channel blockers, and quinolone family of antibiotics so it’s best to consult a doctor about your garlic intake.
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