The Good and Bad of Garlic: Understanding its Positive and Negative Side Effects

The Positive Side Effects of Eating Garlic

Garlic has been used as a natural remedy for various ailments for centuries. The active compound in garlic, allicin, has potent medicinal properties that make it an effective treatment for many health conditions. Here are some of the positive side effects of eating garlic:

1. Boost Immunity: Garlic is rich in antioxidants and sulfur compounds that help boost your immunity, making your body less susceptible to diseases and infections.

2. Lower Cholesterol Levels: Garlic has been found to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, thus reducing your risk of heart disease.

3. Improve Mental Health: Studies have shown that consuming garlic can improve cognitive function and memory and prevent age-related mental decline.

4. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

5. Prevent Cancer: Garlic contains an organosulfur compound called allicin, which has been found to have potent anti-cancer properties, particularly against colorectal cancer.

6. Lowers Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that consuming garlic can help to lower blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure. The sulfur compounds in garlic help to relax blood vessels, which reduces the tension on the walls of the arteries and helps to lower blood pressure.

7. Antimicrobial Properties: Garlic has antimicrobial properties that make it an effective natural remedy for bacterial and fungal infections. It can be used topically or consumed orally to treat infections like candida, ringworm, and athlete’s foot.

The Negative Side Effects of Eating Garlic

Despite its numerous health benefits, garlic can also have some negative side effects that should be taken seriously, especially when consumed in large quantities:

1. Bad Breath: Garlic contains a compound called allyl methyl sulfide, which gives it its characteristic odor. Eating garlic can cause bad breath that can linger for hours.

2. Digestive Problems: Consuming too much garlic can cause stomach upset, bloating, and flatulence in some people.

3. Skin Irritation: Garlic oil can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals when applied topically.

4. Blood Thinning: Garlic has blood-thinning properties that can interfere with blood clotting, making it difficult to stop bleeding after an injury. People on blood-thinning medication should use garlic cautiously.

5. Risk of Hemolytic Anemia: Eating excessive amounts of raw garlic can cause hemolytic anemia, a condition where red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. This condition is more common in people with G6PD deficiency.


Garlic is a highly nutritious food ingredient that has numerous health benefits and drawbacks. While it’s an excellent natural remedy for boosting immunity, preventing cancer, and lowering cholesterol levels, consuming garlic can also cause bad breath, digestive problems, skin irritation, and blood thinning. It’s essential to consume garlic in moderation and only use it as a natural remedy after consulting with a medical professional. So, go ahead and add garlic to your meals, but be mindful of its potential negative side effects.


1. “Garlic: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” WebMD, WebMD, – Ingredients for a Simple Life.

Photo. Pamela Debutler

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