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Editor's Correspondence
November 8, 1999

Is Garlic an Effective Treatment for Helicobacter pylori Infection?

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(20):2484-2485. doi:

The article by Fennerty et al1 in the ARCHIVES discussed the large variation of treatment choices for the eradication of Helicobacter pylori, which may be related to the high incidence rates associated with antibiotic therapies. In view of adverse reactions and compliance problems, some might advocate apparently harmless, natural treatments.

In vitro experiments have demonstrated that the growth of H pylori can be inhibited by garlic extracts.2,3 Epidemiological investigations4 suggest that regular garlic consumption protects against H pylori infection. Moreover, a large body of evidence5 implies that a high intake of garlic is associated with a reduced risk of stomach cancer. Using this information, we conducted an uncontrolled pilot study of the use of garlic to treat H pylori infections.