In a world-first study, led by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women's Hospital, researchers have found garlic does not significantly reduce vaginal candida (thrush). Led by University of Melbourne PhD candidate Cathy Watson also of the Royal Women's Hospital, the findings were published online in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
This study is the first to investigate the effect of oral garlic on vaginal colonization of candida and provides another link in the chain of investigation of complementary and alternative therapies.
In a simple randomized double-blinded controlled trial, 63 women with candida were given three garlic tablets or placebo orally twice daily for fourteen days. Results found a non-significant reduction in the amount of candida in women who were taking oral garlic tablets, compared with women taking placebo.
Ms Watson says the findings provide valuable information that support future trials involving more participants to demonstrate the effectiveness of oral garlic to treat thrush.
"Many women have difficulty clearing thrush, and complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies are very popular. Our study shows more investigation should take place in this field and properly inform the public of the benefit of alternative therapies," she said.
Despite the assumed benefits of garlic as an alternative therapy to treat vaginal candida, further studies are needed before it can be properly recommended.
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