A rose by any other name would smell as sweet -- unless it's the "stinking rose," garlic. Yet garlic has a sweet reputation among people who use it as an aid to healing. Many PWAs use garlic for its documented immune-boosting and infection-fighting properties. It's packed with antioxidants that protect and nourish cells. And it may prevent and heal some common fungal infections.
Food scientist and HIV-nutrition educator Chester Myers, PhD, of Toronto, Ontario says garlic is well-known to have antifungal effects and can be a fast, cheap solution to many problems. "PWAs have told me that six to eight cloves of garlic per day in their pasta sauce or chicken casserole eliminates their candida-overgrowth problems -- sometimes overnight and usually within three to four days. Women's yeast infections vanish. Thrush disappears." PWA Beri Hull of Washington, DC takes garlic whenever she feels an immune slump. "It works!" she says. "It's a great infection-fighter with no side effects."
Fresh garlic -- raw or cooked -- is the most potent and least expensive kind. (If it's not to your taste or convenience, capsules may provide some benefit, although scientific opinion is divided.) Garlic must be crushed, pressed or chewed to release the enzymes that make it work. And when taking garlic for medicinal reasons, think in terms of eating half a head of garlic per day, not just a couple of cloves. The obvious downside to garlic is the odor. One solution is to simply ensure that everyone around you eats garlic, too. "Another slice of garlic bread, darling?"