Benefits of Garlic: Good Medicine from Dr. Earth?

The benefits of garlic have been known for thousands of years. Garlic has many potential medicinal uses in modern times as well. Garlic has antibacterial properties so it can help combat infections. It can be useful when you are losing your voice, and it can help clear a cough. Some in vitro studies even suggest anti-tumor effects may be present. Allicin, which gives garlic it’s characteristic burning sensation when the bulbs are crushed and exposed to air, is purported to kill strep throat germs, hastening recovery.

However, because garlic is real medicine with real antibiotic properties, just as when you go to the doctor for a prescription, you may not want to stop taking your garlic too soon. 7-10 days of continuous use may be required depending on your condition, status, and doctor’s advice. Be aware, however, that if your condition is serious, according to Wright State University, garlic is a much less potent antibiotic than penicillin. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the severity of your condition. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 2-4 cloves of garlic per day for antibiotic purposes or 600-1200 mg of aged garlic extract as a garlic supplement.

Do I have to eat the cloves raw to get the benefits of garlic?

benefits of garlic
When I first ate a clove of garlic raw, the intense burning sensation, which is a defense mechanism to protect the plant from predators when cell walls are broken, irritated my throat so severely I went into an uncontrollable coughing fit. However, because cooking destroys the allicin, I’d say raw garlic is still best. You can dilute the stinging/burning sensation by juicing or crushing a few cloves of garlic and adding it to a mixture of tomatoes, lemon and whatever else sounds good. I added some cream cheese and spread this mixture onto my bagel. Avocado would also be good, as well as a little sea salt and cayenne pepper (which can help soothe a sore throat and has many many health benefits).

Garlic mixed with honey also serves as an antibacterial cough and sore throat syrup. People crush a few cloves (3 or 4) into a paste mixed with about a tablespoon of honey and take a little at a time throughout the day. Throw in some cayenne pepper and you have one powerful (albeit strong tasting) natural remedy.

Taking Garlic Capsules on an Empty Stomach?

Garlic has a very strong odor and taste so if you don't particularly want to smell like garlic all day you can get the benefits of garlic in pill form. However garlic, particularly garlic capsules, should not be taken on an empty stomach. The allicin may cause painful symptoms of burning similar to an ulcer.

Sure the Benefits of Garlic Sound Good But How Do I Get Rid of Garlic Odor?

benefits of garlic in Herbal Antibiotics
The best way to reduce the odor of garlic may come from the simple mixture of fat and water found in milk. When taken at the same time-mixing mouthfuls of milk with mouthfuls of garlic, this may be your most effective weapon against odor. The release of allyl methyl sulfide, or AMS, takes hours to be released into the bloodstream and the smell can be sweated out through skin pores. You may also want to try speeding along the odor removing process by sweating it out using a sauna. Basil is also worth a try.

To learn more about natural antibiotics, I highly recommend: Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Buhner. And if you want to take advantage of the benefits of garlic in an easy to take garlic supplement check out the marketplace for our recommended no odor garlic supplements for sale.

How to Use Garlic as an Antibiotic |
This post on the benefits of garlic shared on Fight Back Friday and Real Food Wednesday.


  1. Another powerful way to reap the benefits of garlic is to finely mince several cloves and apply to the soles of the feet as a poultice. You can keep it in place with a piece of cheesecloth tied around the foot or hold a piece of paper towel against it and slip on a footie type sock. I did this for my 16yo daughter recently, along with chicken broth (made from bones) in which I briefly simmered a LOT of garlic, and then she ate some of the garlic straight! I have seen a 5yo take garlic in honey right off the spoon without a grimace, but WITH a water chaser! Good to train them young, eh?

    • Interesting natural remedy Bebe – what were you treating with the garlic poultice? My daughter asked me one day what I was cutting up so I gave her a slice of raw garlic and she loved it – she was 3… now raw garlic isn’t quite as appealing to her a year later. Maybe honey is the trick. 🙂

  2. I have known about uses of garlic for long but I hate the strong taste and odor! I hope your tips help!

  3. Garlic is one of the natural ingredients that I like. This herb useful as food flavoring and can cure many disease. Unfortunately the side effects is make the bad breath. But I can overcome it by cucumber.

    • That’s interesting Julidarma, I hadn’t heard about getting rid of the garlic smell by using cucumber – I’ll have to give it a try, thanks. 🙂 I just found out about oil pulling, I wonder if that would help prevent garlic breath?

  4. Garlic chopped in honey– that’s a very good idea for a way to get the raw stuff down. I’ve tried a remedy for chest congestion of a raw onion chopped and left to steep in honey overnight. It went down easily, I imagine the same would be true of the garlic.

    • Hmm that sounds interesting Mary, I’ll have to try that next time. Although fortunately I don’t recall the last time I had a good chest cold – mostly just allergies for me. The garlic and honey steeping trick would be interesting to try as well.

  5. A friend of mine has a very clever and simple way to eat raw garlic without tasting it. He slices the garlic into pills-like shape. He swallows the garlic-pills like a usual chemical pills. And because I dont like its taste I do his method.

    • It seems to me that would be pretty “garlicy” still, but if it works for you it sounds like a good method. I’ve just been chomping it raw with a cracker – mmm mmm it’s pretty potent though. 🙂

  6. Hi Chris,My fried told me that garlic is also good as a pain reliever for toothache and high bloods.I tried that once its quite effective 🙂 I don’t need to buy expensive medicine just to cure those pains.

  7. Im not too keen on raw Garlic, but I absolutely love it roasted. Just peel the outer skin off of a bulb and cut across the top to remove the tips where the bulb would shoot if you kept it too long. Roast the bulb whole in a bit of olive oil until it goes soft at about 200 degrees celcius. Yummy!

  8. Hi
    I am a garlic lover but am always conscious about the bad breath side of things . So will give the milk at the same time a go and see if that helps.

    For great heads up thanks lee

  9. Eating some parsley will help with the bad breath from garlic. I have chopped up a clove and put it on spoonful of honey for my kids. We also just cut a clove up into pill sized pieces and swallow them that way. My 6 year old prefers to take hers like that. We love pickled garlic also. Peel a bunch of cloves and put them into a glass jar cover them with raw honey and apple cider vinegar. Swirl them around a bit and let them sit in a cool dark place for about 6 weeks. You can add a little red pepper flakes too. We just munch on the garlic cloves, they stay crunchy and are sweet 🙂 Garlic is AWESOME!!!!

    • I haven’t tried parsley with garlic – I do know parsley is a great natural kidney detox tho. Your pickled garlic recipe sounds great too, I’ve been meaning to try pickling garlic for a long time, but I haven’t heard about that variation, thanks Jo.

  10. I really don’t no we have a lot of benefits with Garlic.Thanks for share this post with us.

  11. I keep Kyolic Garlic (aged garlic extract in a capsule) available at all times. The most dramatic healing I had was regarding the onset of a ferocious bladder infection at 2 a.m. Within 2 hours of taking 4 capsules, the symptoms were totally gone. Don’t leave home without it!

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