Garlic: A perennial herb of the lily family cultivated for its pungent, edible bulbs. Garlic has been used with the intention of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Side effects include breath and body odor, heartburn, upset stomach, and allergic reactions. These effects are more common with raw garlic.
Garlic can decrease normal blood clotting in a manner similar to aspirin. Caution should be used if surgery or dental work is planned and in patients taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin /Coumadin.
Garlic has been found to interfere with the effectiveness of saquinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection. Effects on other drugs has not been well studied.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016