Garlic (Allium sativum L.): adverse effects and drug interactions in humans

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Nov;51(11):1386-97. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700072.


Garlic (Alllium sativum L., Fam Liliaceae) is used medicinally mainly for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and prevention of arteriosclerosis. Clinical trials have consistently shown that "garlic breath" and body odor are the most common (and well-documented) complaints associated to garlic intake. Case reports have highlighted the possibility that garlic use may cause allergic reactions (allergic contact dermatitis, generalized urticaria, angiedema, pemphigus, anaphylaxis and photoallergy), alteration of platelet function and coagulation (with a possible risk of bleeding), and burns (when fresh garlic is applied on the skin, particularly under occlusive dressings). Consumption of garlic by nursing mothers modifies their infant's behavior during breast-feeding. Finally, garlic may enhance the pharmacological effect of anticoagulants (e. g. warfarin, fluindione) and reduce the efficacy of anti-AIDS drugs (i. e. saquinavir).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Garlic / adverse effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Halitosis / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Lactation
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Odorants
  • Phytotherapy
  • Pregnancy


  • Anticoagulants