Garlic chews up gonorrhea bacteria
Kylie Taggart | Sep 12, 2003
Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Symptoms include discharge from the penis or vagina, a burning feeling when urinating and pain in the lower abdomen or testicles. In women, untreated gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
Patrick Ruddock, a master's student in the department of biology at the University of Ottawa, tested 24 garlic supplements to see how they affected N. gonorrhoeae.
Many of the preparations did not contain as much garlic as was claimed on the label. Of the gel caps, powdered capsules and garlic oil capsules tested, the powdered capsules fared the best.
Four extracts -- one alcohol-based and three water-based -- were made of each garlic supplement and were then incubated with N. gonorrhoeae. "We found that the levels of activity were actually higher than we had expected against this particular pathogen versus other plant-derived chemicals tested," Ruddock says.
The active component of garlic is called allicin. In the study, the extracts highest in allicin had the greatest activity against N. gonorrhoeae.
The next step is to see if the active garlic supplements enhance or block the actions of the antibiotics that are used to treat gonorrhea.