Confusion over antibiotic properties of garlic

Gaby says it is inappropriate to assume that herbs such as garlic would be effective against anthrax merely because it has shown activity against other ogranisms. But Sardi counters that studies in fact do confirm that components in garlic are specifically active against anthrax. Sardi reveals a laboratory study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology which measured the kill zone for anthrax in millimeters for the following antibiotics: crude garlic extract 30mm, tetracycline 23mm, erythromycin 21mm, streptomycin 25mm, penicillin 26mm. “Crude garlic extract outperformed the same drugs that are now being used to treat anthax,” says Sardi. Gaby says test tube research does not always equate with human studies. For example, Gaby says garlic has been shown to be effective in test tubes against H. pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and cancer, but has not been demonstrated in human studies. Sardi rejects this criticism and notes that the widely-used drug CIPRO was never proven to work against anthrax in any human study and was approved by the FDA on test tube studies alone. Sardi says anthrax is highly sensitive to fresh garlic which provides a significant amount of allicin, the active antibiotic agent in garlic. Sardi’s article on natural remedies for anthrax recommended consumers search for products that provide allicin. “The studies Dr. Gaby cited which appear to show it does not work against H. pylori used garlic powder and garlic oil which provide little or no allicin,” says Sardi. “I would not anticipate garlic powder or oil to kill many bugs of any kind,” says Sardi.


More than $150 million of garlic pills are sold in the US annually, mostly for the purported benefits of reducing cholesterol and also because garlic has been associated with reduced rates of cancer. But recent studies indicate the value of commercially available garlic pills in reducing cholesterol is marginal. Yep, all those widely advertised brands, Kwai, Kyolic, Garlinase, Garlique, and others, simply don’t provide much (if any) benefit. This is because garlic pills are missing the key ingredient only found in fresh-crushed garlic cloves.

Fresh garlic produces allicin, its main active ingredient. Garlic pills only pretend to do this. The manufacturers call this “allicin potential” on their product labels. A recent study of brands of garlic pills reveals when they are tested in an acid environment similar to that of the human digestive tract, they produce little or no allicin. [Journal Agric Food Chem May, 49: 2592-9, 2001]

It is allicin that kills germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, amoeba).
It is allicin that is the primary anti-cancer agent in garlic.
It is allicin that has been found to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, even control weight gain.

A fresh crushed clove of garlic will provide anywhere from 4-12 milligrams of allicin. But since allicin is the component of garlic that produces an odor, it has also become a bit of an anti-social herb.

Want to check this out for yourself? Go to the following webpages from the National Library and Medicine and read the abstracts yourself.

Allicin is not found in most garlic pills

Allicin and viruses (including smallpox)

Allicin and blood pressure

Allicin and blook pressure 2
Allicin and cancer

Allicin and bacteria

Allicin and the common cold

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