Is Garlic Toxic? Symptoms & Remedies

Is garlic toxic? Yes, food poisoning from eating garlic is a possibility. The best way to avoid it is first to know that it exists. 

Garlic is a favorite spice for many people, but it’s high time you know where to draw the line when eating it. Read on to find out more.

What is garlic?

It is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 1.2 m (4 ft) tall. The bulbs are arranged in a deep, flat cluster at the base of the plant and are covered with a thin, papery skin. Also, the cloves are white or pale pink and have a strong, pungent flavor. 

Garlic flowers are hermaphrodites (have both male and female parts) and are pollinated by bees. Allium sativum (garlic) grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalized. It is grown commercially for use as a dried spice, fresh garlic cloves, and garlic powder.

Additionally, garlic is used extensively in cooking, making it one of the most important spices in world cuisine. It has a strong, pungent flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably when cooked.

Moreover, it is an essential ingredient in many dishes, sauces, and salads.

Is garlic poisonous to humans?

Yes, garlic can become poisonous if not stored or handled correctly. If garlic is exposed to too much light or heat, it can start to form a compound called allicin, which can be toxic. 

SEE: Is Garlic Bread Healthy?

Why is garlic toxic?

The presence of allicin. Although allicin can lower blood sugar and cholesterol, this active compound found in ginger is not all good news. This is because it’s an unstable compound that can be toxic to mammalian cell lines.

It can also cause gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you eat large amounts of garlic that has formed allicin, it can lead to the colonization of the body by foreign microbes. 

Therefore, it is essential to store garlic in a cool, dark place and to only eat fresh garlic that has not been exposed to light or heat.

Symptoms of toxic garlic

If you eat garlic that has been sprouted, you may experience gastrointestinal discomfort. The symptoms of this include: bloating, gas, pain, and diarrhea. Eating large amounts of raw garlic can cause mouth sores, heartburn, or nausea.

In very rare cases, consuming raw garlic can lead to anemia. That is because garlic contains a compound called thiosulfate, which can break down red blood cells.

Remedies to toxic garlic

There are a few different ways to detox from garlic. One is to drink plenty of fluids, like water and herbal tea. You can also eat other foods that help detox the body, like ginger, turmeric, cabbage soup diet, green tea, and brown rice.

Additionally, you can take supplements that help the body remove toxins, like milk thistle and dandelion root. If you’re concerned about the garlic smell, you can try taking a detox bath with ingredients like Epsom salt and baking soda.

SEE: What Neutralizes Garlic In The Stomach?

Types of garlic

There are many different types of garlic, and each has its unique flavor and uses. The most common types of garlic are:

Hardneck garlic

Hardneck garlic is the most popular type of garlic for cooking. It has a strong, pungent flavor that is perfect for adding depth to dishes. Hardneck garlic is also relatively easy to grow, making it the best choice for home gardeners.

Softneck garlic

Softneck garlic is the type of garlic most often found in grocery stores. It has a milder flavor than hardneck garlic, making it ideal for those who do not like the strong taste of garlic.

It is also easier to store than hardneck garlic, making it a good choice for those who do not want to grow their garlic.

Elephant garlic

Elephant garlic is a type of garlic that is more closely related to leeks than true garlic. It has a very mild flavor and is often used as a food garnish or added to salads. Elephant garlic is also very easy to grow, making it a good choice for home gardeners.

Green garlic

Green garlic is actually young garlic that has not yet fully matured. It has a milder flavor than mature garlic, making it ideal for those who do not like the strong taste of garlic. Furthermore, green garlic is versatile and can be used in many different dishes.

Black garlic

Black garlic is made by fermenting regular garlic in the presence of oxygen. This process gives black garlic its unique flavor and color. Black garlic is often used in Asian cuisine, and it is becoming more popular in Western cuisine as well.

Garlic powder

Garlic powder is made from ground, dried garlic. It has a very strong flavor and is often used as a seasoning for food. Garlic powder can also be used to make garlic bread or other dishes.

Dehydrated garlic

Dehydrated garlic is made by drying out fresh garlic cloves. It also has a very intense flavor and is often used as a seasoning for food. Additionally, dehydrated garlic can be used to make garlic bread or other dishes.

SEE: Never Substitute Garlic Powder For Garlic Salt

Is garlic toxic to dogs?

Yes, dogs should not eat garlic. Garlic is a member of the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives. These plants can cause anemia in dogs due to a compound called N-propyl disulfide. 

Dog symptoms from ingesting toxic garlic

If your dog eats garlic, watch for symptoms like lethargy, weakness, pale gums, and breath that smells like garlic. If you think your dog has eaten garlic, call your veterinarian immediately.

Is garlic toxic to cats?

Yes, it is. Garlic is five times more toxic than onions in a cat’s meal, so don’t give your cat garlic to eat.


How much garlic is toxic in humans?

Toxic garlic ingestion begins at 1g per 5 pounds.

How many cloves of garlic are toxic in humans?

Anything over one clove daily can cause blood clotting. So, it’s best consumed in small quantities daily. 

Is it safe to apply raw garlic to the skin?

Yes, it is safe. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the garlic is clean and peeled. Second, avoid contact with the eyes or mucous membranes. 

Then, first patch test on a skin area to ensure you’re not allergic. Finally, be aware that garlic can cause skin irritation in some people. If you experience any discomfort, discontinue use.

SEE: Purple Garlic Cloves


There is no denying that garlic can be toxic to humans. All you have to do is eat a few cloves and you could be in for a world of hurt. But, as with anything, the toxicity of garlic depends on the person.

Some people can eat large amounts of garlic with no ill effects, while others will experience severe gastrointestinal distress. Preferably, always eat with caution.

Thank you for reading.

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