Herbal Therapies Used by People Living With HIV: Garlic
Part of A Practical Guide to Herbal Therapies for People Living With HIV
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used worldwide to treat a variety of infections. HIV-positive people may use it to treat conditions associated with HIV, including fungal infections like thrush and parasites like cryptosporidium, which may cause severe diarrhea. It may also be used to prevent these infections from recurring and can be taken in combination with treatments used to treat fungal or parasitic infections. Garlic may be active against HIV and might help stimulate some components of the immune system. Some clinical trials involving humans have shown garlic to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but other studies dispute this effect.
Garlic, in raw and processed forms, interacts with protease inhibitors and may interact with some other prescription drugs. This interaction can significantly impact your health by increasing side effects. It also can weaken the effectiveness of HIV medications, leading to treatment failure, drug resistance, and reduced options for future treatment. If you want to use garlic as a medicinal herb, it is very important that you discuss this with all of your health care providers, including your doctor, pharmacist and natural health practitioner. A few cloves of cooked garlic, used as a flavouring in foods, is not expected to cause interactions.
Fresh garlic is most potent when eaten raw and is also cheap and widely available. Garlic is also available in capsules and as an aged extract . If you don't like its smell, you can use no- or low - odour capsules.
Garlic may irritate the digestive tract and cause stomach upset, particularly when taken in high doses or on an empty stomach. There is reason to believe that it may also be dangerous for those with low platelets, such as hemophiliacs, and for others who experience nose bleeds or heavy menstrual bleeding. The reason is that it can break up blood clots and prevent platelet clumping in people with certain forms of heart disease.
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.