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Garlic Risks and Dangers

Garlic is a very powerful herb that is generally lauded as a beneficial and health giving. However - partly because it is so powerful - there are risks associated with it. remember that what helps one person may harm another.

Botulism

This is probably the most serious risk associated with garlic. Its sulphurous nature makes it a prime breeding ground for botulism (clostridium botulinum). Botulism is a nasty toxin that can result in major stomach illness sometimes leading to death.

The worst danger from botulism comes if raw garlic is stored in oil at room temperature - or even for too long in the refrigerator. Never store raw garlic in oil at room temperature.

Prescription Medicines

Garlic can interfere with certain prescription medicines, especially some anti-coagulants used in surgery. In addition, research published in 2001 concluded that garlic supplements
"can cause a potentially harmful side effect when combined with a type of medication used to treat HIV/AIDS"
More details on the NIAID website at:
http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec2001/niaid-05.htm

Raw garlic is also known to have antiplatelet properties which may present a risk of bleeding to patients taking blood thinning medication such as warfarin.

As always, consult your doctor and take advice before using any supplements.

Allergy

As with almost anything, there are a few people who are allergic to or otherwise intolerant of garlic. Low level allergies can result in heartburn, flatulence, etc. Any serious allergy can be potentially life-threatening. If you suspect you might have an allergy to garlic consult your doctor or a qualified allergy specialist.

Skin Burns

Allicin - the chemical resulting from raw, crushed garlic - is extremely powerful. If someone has sensitive skin or is exposed too much garlic it can lead to skin reddening, irritation and soreness, possibly even burns.

Digestive Irritation

Because allicin is so strong, there is some suggestion that too much raw garlic could irritate or even damage the digestive tract. As always, use common sense, don't overdo it and if in doubt consult your doctor.