If you haven't heard much about garlic essential oil benefits, that might change soon. Recent research suggests that essential oils from garlic — along with other herbs — can put up quite a fight against a very harmful type of bacteria.
The December 2018 study published in Antibiotics analyzed the lab-dish tests of 35 essential oils. Researchers tested these oils to see how they responded to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, which is an inflammatory illness often carried by ticks. As it turned out, garlic essential oil was one of 10 oils — including cinnamon bark and cumin seeds — that showed an impressive form of "killing activity" against this bad bacteria.
"We found that these essential oils were even better at killing the 'persister' forms of Lyme bacteria than standard Lyme antibiotics," said study senior author Ying Zhang, PhD, in a press release.
It's worth keeping in mind that lab tests mark an early stage of research, so we can't expect to see garlic essential oil treatments on the market for this specific purpose quite yet. However, researchers hope to conduct further tests on animals and possibly humans in the future to see if the treatment works outside of a lab setting.
If that is indeed the case, that would mean huge things for the thousands of people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year and usually require antibiotic treatment in order to get better.
"At this stage, these essential oils look very promising as candidate treatments for persistent Lyme infection, but ultimately we need properly designed clinical trials," said Dr. Zhang.
Currently, garlic essential oils are most commonly used for aromatherapy purposes or for topical therapeutic blends. If a garlic essential oil is specifically labeled as an edible essential oil, you could also potentially use it for cooking purposes. We can't wait to find out if we can add any more new uses to this ever-growing list!