Garlic is one of the most popular herbs used across the globe. Garlic is scientifically known as "Allium sativum". It belongs to the Alliaceae family and closely resembles leek, chives and onions. Its name is commonly associated with the bulb of cloves found underground, below the leafy, scallion-like growth. Two most popular varieties of Garlic are hardneck and softneck. This aromatic, seasoning herb adds an excellent taste and aroma to any food; it can spice up otherwise bland dishes. The medicinal use of Garlic dates back to ancient Egypt. It is also lauded as a very effective health boosting herb. However, some people are not fortunate to enjoy and savor its taste. They suffer from garlic allergy and react badly it. These people are actively allergic or intolerant of garlic, whether through ingestion or skin contact. Though food allergies are commonly seen, a garlic allergy is relatively rare. Moreover, there is no cure for a garlic allergy.
Garlic allergy can be simply defined as "intolerance to garlic or garlic based products". Food allergies occur when an individual's immune system reacts to certain ingredients present in a food item. Garlic allergy can occur on ingesting garlic or inhaling garlic dust. Even skin contact with the spice can result in severe reaction. Garlic allergy affects people who handle or chop plenty of fresh garlic. Several studies have found that garlic allergy is so powerful that even wearing gloves fails to combat reactive symptoms.
Garlic allergy occurs due to Diallyl disulfide (DAS). It is produced by decomposition of allicin. This sulfur compound acts as an "allergen". Immunity cells in the body produce immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody, to combat these reactive compounds. The human body also releases histamines to counteract the effects of the allergens.
The type, intensity and duration of garlic allergy symptoms vary from individual to individual. Common symptoms include:
Anti-inflammatory supplements like Bromelin is found to be effective for treating garlic allergy. It should be taken 20 minutes before or after the meal. At times, garlic allergy can increase due to lack of digestive enzymes. So HCl tablets can be taken before or after meals. 500 mg of Quercitin is prescribed for 3 times a day to prevent garlic allergy. 1000 mg of bioflavonoid, if taken 3 times a day, can drastically reduce the symptoms of garlic allergy.
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