Garlic And Mosquitos

The aroma of garlic is hard to miss. If you’ve ever eaten it or been near someone who has, you know what we mean. The same garlic smell that easily repels people also seems to repel malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

One thousand cases of malaria a year occur in the United States — usually brought in by overseas travelers. Three hundred million cases occur worldwide.

Malaria kills millions of people worldwide every year. While only ten of those deaths are in the United States, travelers can easily transport it here. On a trip to Tanzania where malaria is a major problem, Dr. Lucy Goh noticed missionaries swallowing cloves of garlic to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes.

Lucy Goh, MD, Pediatrician:
“They said they learned from the natives that the garlic is exuded in the sweat.”

The missionaries and townspeople claimed the smell of garlic in the sweat kept the mosquitoes from biting. Back in the United States, Dr. Goh and research scientist Dr. Robert Lowrie tested two kinds of mosquitoes and their reactions to garlic in the blood and body.

Robert Lowrie, Sc.D., Research Scientist:
“It repelled one mosquito dramatically and in another mosquito, it had no affect whatsoever.”

In those garlic tests, it was the malaria carrying mosquito that showed no interest.

Robert Lowrie, Sc.D.:
“It’s very definitely the smell that’s repelling these mosquitoes.”

The scientists tested raw garlic and garlic tablets. Meanwhile, more research is being conducted so that someday this natural product may take the place of drugs. The 300 million cases of malaria reported every year, are primarily in Africa and Asia. The illness causes extreme fever and is often mistaken for the flu.

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