Tips for Using Garlic
Because garlic supplements vary wildly, it's a good idea to do some research before deciding on one, and you should be prepared to shell out a little extra money for a supplement that's likely to actually work. The complicating factor is that scientists disagree on exactly what makes for a quality garlic supplement. Allicin, which is produced when garlic cells are damaged, is a good start, but because it's easily destroyed, it rarely makes it into supplements and never makes it past our stomach acid. It's more likely that what we need are other garlic compounds, including those formed when allicin breaks down. Some evidence shows that aged garlic extract, which is made from fermented garlic and contains S-allyl cysteine, may be more effective than other supplements.
Honestly, though, because of the variations in garlic supplements, the most reliable way to get the benefits of garlic is probably straight from the clove. Unfortunately, heating garlic deactivates some of its healthy compounds. According to experts, you can make the most of garlic's good stuff by letting the garlic sit for about ten minutes at room temperature between chopping or crushing and cooking. Or, if you can stand it, just eat the garlic raw.
A Few Small Warnings
Most studies on garlic's medical applications have been limited and yielded a variety of results, including the conclusion that it simply doesn't work. So, if you decide to use garlic medicinally, do so with the knowledge that you may not be cured of or rendered immune to whatever illness you're trying to heal or prevent. On the other hand, garlic is unlikely to do you much, if any, harm. The most common side effects of garlic use are bad breath and body odor, and it can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset. Less common but more serious side effects include excessive bleeding when taken orally, or burns if the garlic is applied directly to the skin or allowed to sit inside a body cavity.
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is made from fermented garlic and contains no allicin. Instead, it has high levels of a compound called S-allyl cysteine, which, unlike allicin, is very easily absorbed by the body. Some research has shown that aged garlic extract may be the most effective form of garlic supplement.
The makers of Allimax have discovered a way to stabilize the allicin that is fleetingly formed when garlic is damaged. This makes it quite possibly the only garlic supplement on the market that actually contains allicin. Allimax is conveniently available in capsule, cream, and liquid forms.
Dr. Christopher's Oil of Garlic Extract is advertised primarily as a treatment for ear infections, but it can also be applied externally for fungal infections or taken orally to treat symptoms such as a sore throat. The formula also contains olive oil and tea tree oil.
Mosquito Barrier is an extremely potent liquid garlic extract that can be mixed with water and sprayed over grassy areas. The smell quickly drops below levels detectable by humans but should keep mosquitoes out of the treated area for up to a month. Its counterpart, Garlic Barrier, is specially formulated to repel garden pests.