The medicinal benefits of garlic have been known for centuries in a wide range of cultures. Garlic is mentioned in the in the Talmud and Bible.
"We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic - Numbers 11:5".
Many ancient Greek scholars (Galen, Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder) discuss the therapeutic use of garlic for many ailments, including respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and generally low energy. Garlic has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
In 1858, Louis Pasteur noted the antibacterial activity of garlic, which was used as an antiseptic during both World War I and World War II.
A research paper recently published in 1993 in the World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (Volume 9, Number 3, 303-307) confirmed the ability of garlic extracts to inhibit the growth of many micro-organisms when added to the growth media.
All micro-organisms tested were susceptible to garlic, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi and a virus.
They also confirmed that the component of garlic that was are effective as an antibiotic was the allicin produced from raw, crushed garlic.
Allicin was found to be destroyed and rendered ineffective by age and cooking.
Note that cooked garlic is useless as an antibiotic, although it still retains its other heath benefits. Other research papers have confirmed these findings.
Allicin is an organosulfur organic compound that first isolated and studied by John Hays Bailey and Chester J. Cavallito in 1944.
Allicin is colorless liquid with a very pungent smell. It exhibits anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Allicin is garlic's natural defense mechanism against attacks by pests, similar to penicillin that protects the mold that produces it.
Allicin is releases when garlic is freshly crushed.
Recent research studies have also confirmed the antifungal activity of garlic extracts that appears to be due to another compound.
Studies have looked at “ajoene,” a compound that gets its name from the word “ajo,” which is Spanish for garlic.
The compound seems to be especially effective against the fungus that causes athlete’s foot (Tinea), and the yeast that causes thrush (Candida albicans)
Garlic, being a natural herb has the advantage of having far fewer and less severe risk of undesirable side-effects than most pharmacological antifungals.
However garlic can cause blisters and other allergic reactions in some people.
Dr. Rosen of the Medical Center in New Jersey pointed out that studies have found garlic effective against a number of fungal infections, including those caused by Candida and other common pathogens.
He has advocate the use of garlic for minor ear infections in children and for minor fungus infections on the skin.
The fungus that causes the annoying problem of Athlete's Foot (Tinea pedis ) has been recently shown to be vulnerable to garlic extracts.
A study in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2000, compared the effectiveness of a mild garlic extract solution with that of the popular drug Lamisil, in treating about 50 people diagnosed with cases of athlete’s foot.
The treatments were applied twice a day. After two months, the scientists found that a garlic solution that contained about 1 percent ajoene had a 100 percent cure rate. This was better than the 94 percent cure rate for the Lamisil treatment. Other studies have found similar results.
Ajoene solutions and creams are not available commercially. However, some people recommend simply adding a few finely crushed cloves of garlic to a foot bath and soaking the affected foot for 30 minutes.
Or you can make a solution by mincing a few garlic cloves adding it to olive oil, and then applying the solution on the affected are using a cotton ball or cotton buds.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has stated that the side effects of garlic are very uncommon and are generally mild - some people can develop allergic rashes or blisters with topical use.
Various scientific studies have confirmed the antifungal effects of garlic extracts by inhibiting the growth of Candida albicans and the clearance of Candida albicans from circulation due to systemic infection.
There are a large number of articles and research publications promoting garlic for the control of Candida.