Garlic has been used for centuries as both a food ingredient and a medicine. Some proponents claim that drinking garlic juice provides exceptional health benefits. However, others argue that it may be unsafe or ineffective.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is thought to have medicinal properties. Allicin is only released when garlic cloves are crushed or chewed. This has led to the theory that drinking raw garlic juice may provide better access to allicin than simply eating whole cloves of garlic.
Proponents claim that regularly drinking garlic juice can help treat or prevent a wide range of conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, arthritis, colds, flu, and yeast infections. Some even suggest that it may help prevent cancer.
However, there are also potential risks to ingesting large amounts of raw garlic juice. Furthermore, many of the proposed benefits are unsupported by scientific evidence.
Potential Benefits of Garlic Juice
Here are some of the ways that garlic juice is thought to improve health:
Some research indicates garlic can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This may reduce the risk of heart disease. Compounds in garlic may also help prevent platelet aggregation. This means it may help prevent the formation of harmful blood clots.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help relieve inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Animal studies find it reduces inflammation in the liver, heart, and arteries. More human research is needed.
Immune System Support
Garlic may give your immune system a boost. Test tube studies show it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It may help prevent colds or flu. But clinical trials are lacking.
Animal and test tube studies indicate garlic may help prevent certain types of cancer, such as stomach, colon, prostate, and thyroid cancer. But there is no definitive human evidence yet.
Garlic has strong antifungal effects. Test tube studies show it can kill the Candida yeasts that cause yeast infections. But it’s unclear if garlic juice would help cure these infections in humans.
Potential Risks of Garlic Juice
Drinking garlic juice is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, there are some potential side effects and risks, including:
- Heartburn, nausea, vomiting, gas, diarrhea – Drinking raw garlic juice on an empty stomach may cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Bleeding problems – Garlic has blood-thinning effects, so it may increase the risk of bleeding disorders.
- Allergic reactions – Some people may be allergic to garlic.
- Burns the mouth – Raw garlic juice can irritate and burn the linings of the mouth, throat, and stomach.
- Body odor – Garlic consumption can cause strong body odor and bad breath.
- Medication interactions – Garlic may interact negatively with certain medications like blood thinners, HIV drugs, and chemotherapy drugs.
Heavy consumption of garlic juice may have toxic effects over time. There are reports of liver damage and anemia from drinking too much garlic juice. High amounts may also thin the blood excessively.
There is no official recommended dosage for garlic juice. But most experts suggest the following guidelines:
- Start with small amounts like 1-2 mL per day to assess your tolerance.
- Do not exceed more than 5-10 mL of garlic juice per day.
- Drink the juice diluted in water or juice to minimize potential stomach irritation.
- Avoid taking garlic juice on an empty stomach.
- Avoid excessive intake if taking blood thinners or medications.
- Speak to your doctor before consuming medicinal amounts if you have any health conditions.
How to Make Garlic Juice
Here is a simple way to make fresh garlic juice at home:
- Peel the papery outer layers off fresh garlic cloves. Rinse the cloves and pat them dry.
- Chop or crush the garlic cloves to activate the allicin compounds. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Put the chopped garlic in a blender or juicer. Add a small amount of water or juice if needed.
- Blend or juice the garlic on high speed until pulverized into a paste or liquid.
- Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve to remove any solids.
- Store the fresh garlic juice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For maximum potency, drink the juice within 15-20 minutes of preparation. Garlic juice can be diluted with water or juice to taste.
Should You Drink Garlic Juice?
Research on garlic juice is limited, but some studies suggest potential benefits:
|Randomized controlled trial in 87 hypercholesterolemic adults
|40 mg/day garlic extract juice vs. placebo for 12 weeks
|Garlic juice significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol
|Clinical trial in 50 patients with heart disease
|5 mL garlic juice twice daily vs. no treatment for 12 weeks
|Garlic juice substantially reduced cholesterol levels
|Clinical trial in 120 patients with fungal infections
|Antifungal drugs plus 5 mL garlic juice daily vs. antifungal drugs alone for 4 weeks
|Adding garlic juice improved the efficacy of the antifungal medications
However, there are some important caveats to consider before drinking garlic juice:
- Quality evidence for most purported benefits is lacking.
- Some studies used concentrated garlic extracts, which may not have the same effects as raw juice.
- Juicing destroys the garlic, which may alter its effects compared to eating whole cloves.
- Drinking excess amounts could have toxic effects over time.
- Some people may experience digestive issues or bleeding problems.
- More human research on garlic juice specifically is needed.
Some scientific evidence suggests garlic juice may offer certain health benefits, especially for heart health. However, the research is limited and inconclusive.
Drinking small amounts of fresh garlic juice diluted in water or juice is likely safe for most people. But excessive consumption, especially on an empty stomach, may cause side effects or toxic effects.
Given the lack of solid evidence, garlic juice can’t currently be recommended as a proven therapeutic. As with any supplement, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before drinking medicinal amounts of garlic juice.
Overall, garlic juice as a supplement holds some promise based on preliminary research. But more studies are needed to confirm its benefits and safety. Eating fresh garlic as part of a balanced diet is a safer way to gain the potential benefits without the risks.