This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Garlic therapy should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What does garlic therapy involve?
Garlic is used as a supportive dietetic measure for cancer prevention. Therapy involves ingesting four grams of garlic daily. Garlic can be eaten raw, cooked, baked or taken in capsule form. Cooked garlic is less effective as a therapy because the active ingredient, allicin, becomes denatured in the heating process.
How is garlic thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health?
When incorporated into the diet, garlic can help prevent various ailments including arteriosclerosis, common colds, cough/bronchitis, fevers and infection. Garlic may also reduce the risk of throat, stomach and colon cancer by stimulating the immune system and acting as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant. Allicin is the major active compound of garlic. The compound is an antibacterial agent and is released when garlic bulbs are crushed.
What has been proven about the benefit of garlic treatment?
Two anti-carcinogenic agents in garlic were identified, and when administered to rats, in conjunction with exposure to certain colon or esophageal carcinogens, significantly reduced the growth and progression of pre-cancerous lesions. A literature review of garlic completed by the San Antonio Evidence-based Practice Center for the U. S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality identified twelve human studies applicable to cancer. Several of the studies reported that consumption of garlic and other allicin-containing vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Garlic should only be used as a preventative agent, not as a curative therapy.
What is known about the potential risk or harm of garlic?
Some patients may experience heartburn and gas from ingestion of garlic. Frequent handling of garlic may lead, on rare occasion, to allergic reactions. Garlic is known to have some anti-clotting activity. Therefore, patients taking anticoagulant drugs, including aspirin, should check with their health care providers before beginning therapy. Garlic may also decrease blood sugar levels so glucose control may be affected.
How much does garlic cost?
Garlic bulbs can be purchased at any grocery store or grown in one's own garden. Garlic capsules can be purchased for approximately $18.00 for 250 capsules.
For additional information:
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources
1515 Holcombe Boulevard
Houston, TX 77030
Telephone: (800) 392-1611
Web site: http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.