Do you know that one of the more popular home remedy for yeast infection is readily available in your kitchen?
For ages, women have reached for the humble garlic as an alternative remedy for yeast infections. Many ladies swear by its effectiveness, and wax lyrical about its fantastic antifungal properties.
Just peel one clove and pop it up your vagina.
Voila! Infection and odor eliminated!
Throwing Caution into the Wind
To me, it sounds like MAGIC!
So I decided that I would throw caution into the wind and make a go for it. After all, there are people who would put all sorts of things up there.
As you know, I am adventurous, but not stupidly rash. I went to do a bit of background check on garlic before shoving things up. Here’s what I found about the mighty garlic.
An active compound, allicin, is found in the garlic. That’s the compound that we want working for us. Allicin is found to have antifungal properties so it makes theoretical sense that it would work for killing yeast.
On the other hand, allicin is also the compound that gives garlic its notorious smell.
What Research Says About Garlic
There are not many research papers out there on the efficacy of garlic on yeast infection, some focused on impact of garlic extracts, some focused solely on the power of allicin.
I did not manage to find any direct research that focused on using garlic as a vaginal suppository to combat yeast infection. Do send me the link if you find any!
Generally, most research remain inconclusive about the efficacy of allicin on yeast infections.
A 2009 review paper on the medicinal effects of garlic concluded that there are some medicinal value in garlic, and it is generally safe to use, unless you are allergic to garlic.
One 2011 paper concluded that allicin was helpful in reducing the yeast strain Candida Albicans, while another 2003 review paper found that garlic is probably helpful in its antifungal properties.
So, in the name of science (ahem…), I decided that I would try this home remedy for eliminating yeast infection for 7 days.
What I Did
This is what I did over the course of 7 days with 7 cloves of garlic.
First up, I used a peeler to shave off the uppermost layer of the garlic clove after removing the “skin”.
There are two reasons why I did this. The first being the underlying worry of soil bacteria clinging on the surface of garlic, which is purportedly difficult to wash clean.
The other reason is that by exposing the garlic surface, I hoped that it could increase the contact availability of allicin in the vagina.
Although I must admit was a bit worried that it may cause irritation, as reported by some ladies online.
Luckily for me, garlic did me no harm. No irritation, no burning sensation. Yay to garlic power!
To make sure that the garlic clove doesn’t go on a holiday in my vagina canal, I threaded the garlic with a cotton string, as advised by many folks online.
Very tampon like.
I pushed the garlic in like how you would do with a menstrual cup, way up till I can’t really feel it (a half finger length’s worth, I reckon?).
As it turns out, I didn’t really have to worry about the garlic getting lost because gravity is a great friend. Keeping it up was more of an issue for me.
Going to the toilet turned out to be a hassle because the garlic would slip down and keep wanting to pop out when I peed.
There are many variations as to how long to keep the garlic inside. Some say a few hours, some say the whole day.
I was not keen on “wearing” the garlic the entire day, so I kept it in for about 4 hours. I popped it in immediately after I woke up, and removed it by the time it was lunch. (No, i did not reuse the garlic, just in case you are wondering. Yuck)
This continued for a week.
So How Was It Like?
To be honest, I was quite surprised that that garlic did not leave as heavy a smell as I would have expected.
Some people reported feeling garlicky in their mouths, but there was none for me.
The whiff of garlic smell comes from preparing the garlic clove. Having it inside me does not make me smell more garlicky.
I usually do take some garlic in my normal diet, and did not deliberately adjust my garlic intake during the experiment. So that eliminated any confounds from oral garlic intake.
There were two slight differences that I noted during the course of the week.
One was I noticed there were fewer vaginal discharge, and they were clear, instead of being white-ish.
I know that the texture and color of discharge can differ during different times of the month, but for me, I know that my discharge tend to be more when I have infections down there. So the reduction of vaginal discharge could be a sign that the allicin worked.
The other difference was that the intensity of the feminine odor lessened. Although you can also attribute it to me paying more attention to vaginal hygiene, and subsequently odor reduction.
Does garlic help in eliminating yeast infection?
Well, I felt that the garlic probably helped in reducing the feminine odor, and is worth a try if you don’t mind the hassle.
For me, the whole process was quite trying - the peeling of garlic surface, threading, getting yucky garlic smell on my fingers as a result of preparing it.
I probably would not do it again due to all the hassle. However, I do think garlic does have medicinal benefits, and would not be adversed to increasing my dietary garlic intake.
If you hate the smell of garlic in your mouth, the other option could be some form of garlic allium supplements. There are odorless versions available on Amazon if you are interested.
Did garlic worked for you? How was your experience like? Do drop me an email to share with me.
- Aviello, G., Abenavoli, L., Borrelli, F., Capasso, R., Izzo, A. A., Lembo, F., … & Capasso, F. (2009). Garlic: empiricism or science?. Natural product communications, 4(12), 1785-1796.
- Khodavandi, A., Alizadeh, F., Harmal, N. S., Sidik, S. M., Othman, F., Sekawi, Z., … & Chong, P. P. (2011). Comparison between efficacy of allicin and fluconazole against Candida albicans in vitro and in a systemic candidiasis mouse model. FEMS microbiology letters, 315(2), 87-93.
- Van Kessel, K., Assefi, N., Marrazzo, J., & Eckert, L. (2003). Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 58(5), 351-358.