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Herbs at a Glance

March 2007


This fact sheet provides basic information about garlic -- uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Garlic is the edible bulb from a plant in the lily family. It has been used as both a medicine and a spice for thousands of years.

Common Names -- garlic

Latin Names -- Allium sativum

What It Is Used For

How It Is Used

Garlic cloves can be eaten raw or cooked. They may also be dried or powdered and used in tablets and capsules. Raw garlic cloves can be used to make oils and liquid extracts.

What the Science Says

Side Effects and Cautions


Gardner CD, Lawson LD, Block E, et al. Effect of raw garlic vs. commercial garlic supplements on plasma lipid concentrations in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2007;167(4):346-353.

National Cancer Institute. Garlic and Cancer Prevention: Questions and Answers. National Cancer Institute Web site. Accessed at on April 28, 2006.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Garlic: Effects on Cardiovascular Risks and Disease, Protective Effects Against Cancer, and Clinical Adverse Effects. Accessed at on April 28, 2006.

Garlic. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed April 28, 2006.

Garlic (Allium sativum L.). Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed April 28, 2006.

Garlic. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:139-148.

Milner JA. Garlic (Allium sativum). In: Coates P, Blackman M, Cragg G, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. New York: NY: Marcel Dekker; 2005:229-240.

For More Information

Visit the NCCAM Web site and view:

NCCAM Clearinghouse
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 1-866-464-3615

CAM on PubMed
Web site:

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Web site:

NIH National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus
Garlic Listing:

This article was provided by U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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