Researchers at Washington State University found that a compound in garlic is 100 times more effective at battling intestinal illnesses than two commonly prescribed antibiotics.
In research published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, scientists looked at the ability of the garlic-derived compound, diallyl sulfide, to kill the Campylobacter bacterium when it is protected by a slimy biofilm that makes it resistant to antibiotics. Campylobacter bacterium is responsible for a number of intestinal illnesses. They found the compound can easily penetrate the protective biofilm and kill bacterial cells.
“Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world,” said Michael Konkel, a co-author of the research.
About 2.4 million Americans are affected by the bacteria every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with symptoms including diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever. The bacteria are also responsible for triggering nearly one-third of the cases of a rare paralyzing disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.
While the researchers do not know if garlic alone can fight food poisoning, co-author Barbara Rasco said: “Diallyl sulfide could make many foods safer to eat. It can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats.”