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: Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

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

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

15 hours ago

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

17 hours ago

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments : 0