Lyme disease is a very serious and common tick-borne
disease. Although named after the town in Connecticut where the first
case was identified, it now occurs worldwide. For example, in Sweden,
and as many as 10,000 individuals are thought to be affected each year.
Therefore researchers from Sweden decided to investigate ways of decreasing
the risk of tick bites, as well as other insect bites:
They note that recent studies have suggested that
the frequency of insect bites may be linked to different body odors
(Lancet. 1996;347:1423). They therefore wondered if the odor of garlic
might be effective as well.
Although standard insect repellents can be somewhat
effective against insect and tick bites, they may have adverse effects
on humans and animals.
Researchers conducted a prospective, randomized,
double-blind intervention trial of garlic to prevent tick bites among
Using 100 subjects, 50 consumed 1200 mg/d garlic capsules
and 50 consumed placebo for 8 weeks, followed by a washout period of 2
weeks, and then a crossover to placebo or garlic capsule consumption for
another 10 weeks.
All participants wore the same type of uniforms,
consumed approximately the same diet, participated in similar activities,
and spent equal amounts of time in tick-endemic areas.
Tick bites were recorded in a diary after daily
self-inspection of the skin.
The garlic capsules were found to reduce the risk
of tick bites by 21%.
According to the researchers "There was significant
reduction in tick bites when consuming garlic compared with placebo,"
and that "our results suggest that garlic may be considered as a
tick repellent for individuals and populations at high risk for tick bite,
rather than other agents that might have more adverse effects."
Journal of The American Medical
Association August 16, 2000; 284.