Take two cloves of garlic and call me in the morning
You know what garlic does to vampires, but that's nothing compared to what it can do to bacteria.
Garlic is one of nature's most powerful antibiotics -- so powerful it can cure MRSA and staph infections. And now, researchers say it can even wipe out the most common cause of food poisoning 100 times better than two powerful antibiotics.
That's a claim as bold as the unmistakably pungent taste of garlic -- but it's backed by a new study in which a garlic-derived compound, diallyl sulfide, was put to the test against campylobacter bacteria.
That's a fecal bug that often finds a way into food -- try not to think about it! --where it can cause days of misery in the form of diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, fever and more.
It's one of the bacteria often blamed for Montezuma's Revenge. And in extreme scenarios, it can even trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome, a nervous-system disorder that could lead to paralysis.
But garlic wiped it out -- and wiped it out even when the bacteria was using the main trick that helps it beat antibiotics.
Campylobacter likes to camp out behind biofilm. That's essentially a layer of slime -- but to antibiotics such as erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, it may as well be a brick wall.
When campylobacter is behind biofilm, it's 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than in its free form.
To the diallyl sulfide, however, that biofilm has all the strength of tissue paper, according to the study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
If that's not enough of a reason to start adding garlic to all your dishes, the same researchers found in earlier experiments that garlic can wipe out other disease-causing bugs often found in food -- including Listeria and E. coli O157:H7.
Garlic is also a powerful antifungal agent, and I've given my patients garlic extract -- allium sativum -- for athlete's foot as well as the candidiasis responsible for both thrush and yeast infections, just to name two.
It can also help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, fight inflammation, thin the blood, fight the flu, and lower blood pressure.
All that, and it tastes great too.