Be careful when using garlic to treat childhood ailments

Feb 13, 2007

Parents and practitioners should know more about garlic before using it to treat children, according to a review of data conducted in part by the University of Alberta.

While using garlic to treat children for various ailments appears to be generally safe, more research needs to be done on its specific effects, and garlic is not recommended in at least one treatment, researchers found after reviewing several studies that used the plant to treat several childhood ailments. Their findings were published recently in Pediatrics in Review.

"Data are insufficient to recommend precise dosages when treating children," said Dr. Sunita Vohra, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Despite its longtime use in many cultures for its purported pharmacologic benefits, further research will help answer questions surrounding garlic's use in children, Vohra noted.

The data review revealed that garlic tablets did appear to aid upper respiratory tract infections, resulting in a 1.7-fold reduction in morbidity compared with placebo and 2.4-fold reduction versus dibazole, a commercial parasiticide containing medication. Garlic applied briefly to warts also proved effective with resolution reported in all children after three to nine weeks of treatment.

A naturopathic eardrop preparation of garlic and three other herbs was as effective as a conventional eardrop with proven pain-relieving effects for treating pain associated with ear infections in children. However, it was unknown how much the garlic itself contributed to the pain relief.

There were no significant improvements when using garlic to treat cardiovascular disease in youngsters, and more study is needed to explore the plant's effects on blood pressure and lipid concentrations in children at cardiovascular risk.

As with conventional medical treatments, there is potential for adverse effects with garlic use, Vohra said. Adverse effects of garlic described in adult and pediatric studies were generally minor, with garlic's pungent smell on both the breath and body being the most commonly reported, but the most serious adverse effect of garlic was associated with topical use. Three pediatric studies reported second-degree burns when raw, crushed garlic was directly applied to children's skin as an antipyretic or antiviral treatment. Vohra cautions parents against applying garlic directly to the skin as a topical medication.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

There are no cures for the common cold

Feb 21, 2011

Americans catch an estimated 1 billion colds each year. And by this time of year, as weary cold sufferers line up at local pharmacies, it may not sound surprising that Americans spend at least $4.2 billion annually on over-the-counter ...

South Africa to treat all HIV-positive babies

Dec 01, 2009

(AP) -- South Africa announced ambitious new plans Tuesday for earlier and expanded treatment for HIV-positive babies and pregnant women, a change that could save hundreds of thousands of lives in the nation ...

Garlic hope in infection fight

Jan 31, 2007

Garlic has been hailed a wonder drug for centuries and has been used to prevent gangrene, treat high blood pressure, ward off common colds and is even believed by some to have cancer-fighting properties.

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

15 hours ago

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.