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Avatar universal

Garlic/onion allergy??

Okay, this confused the heck out of me.... I know that sometimes I get a reaction from eating too much garlic/onion, but I haven't experience it for a long time now, and I love garlic bread. I don't eat too much onion or garlic though, I kept it low on the intake, since I don't actually like it that much, but I love the smell of it in my cooking. And I haven't been to a doctor about this. Two nights ago my partner brought home some fried rice, which I know it has garlic in it, just that I don't know how much. After that, I started having sore throat and a splitting headache. It lasted until today (I had to call in sick yesterday). I had a mild headache yesterday but a very sore throat and still a little bit of it today, but the headache comes and go at least.

Anyone else have any reaction to garlic/onion? My everyday food contains onion and/or garlic, I wonder if it's an unusual amount that set off the reaction? It's just that I have never met or heard anyone has these symptoms, especially where I'm from, the food always contains lots and lots of onion and garlic (although I'm never a big fan of it, and I don't live there anymore).
75 Responses
Avatar universal
hi everyone, this last year especially ive been suffering with bloatedness, burping one after the other, acid, swollen sometimes at the rear and soar, quite a bit of anal mucus in my stools. I knew something was wrong and for months and months ive been eliminating different food types that are most common in allergies ie gluten, dairy ect but to no avail. Being a chef i started to think what foods i would most likely be eating everyday, and thought onions are the start of many dishes i produce, lasagne, shepherds pie, stew, ash and many more! So i immediately stopped having onions and garlic, and ever since eliminating onions and garlic ive been fine. The bloated hard feeling in my stomach disappeared, the burping stopped, every symptom stopped so i know it is garlic and onions! BUT then today after having dinner at work today something set me off, i had ginger sponge for dessert.  so this is why i thought i'd come on the net and do some investigation into what other products ie (are in the onion family) to really get to know what foods i connat have! I really think i might go in for the RAST test what people on here are talkin about!
Avatar universal
Here is a website giving you information on what other foods come under the same category as onions! http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/English/botanical.htm#Lily
  Heres the foods im sensitive to:-
                Lily Family:
Aloes, Asparagus, Chives, Garlic, Leek, Onion, Shallot and Sparsparilla (whatever that is lol).

                Ginger Family:
Ginger, Arrowroot (usually used for thickening agent, could be in gravy and custard mixes), Cardamon, Tumeric.

                 Gourd Family (Melon):

Casaba Melon, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Honey Dew, Musk Melon, Persian Melon, Pumpkin, Squash, Zuchini, Courgette, Cucumber.

Im going to avoid these foods and see how i go! So far i know im sensitive to Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and Cucumber!                      
Avatar universal
It's comforting to see that my husband and I are not alone in our sensitivity to garlic & onions (heartburn, reflux, burping, bloating, gas, headaches, stomach pain). As everyone else has commented, it is nearly impossible to eat food out of the home. After innumerable bad meals (forgot to leave off spices, untrained wait staff, etc.) we have crafted many recipes that do not use garlic or anything in the onion family. This food sensitivity doesn't seem as common as nut, wheat, shellfish, etc. but we've met a few people at dinner parties who also can't eat these foods.

Something that helps us, and we are not get anaphalatic response to G&O, is digestive enzymes with meals if we are exposed to small amounts of onions but not garlic (nothing brings relief). Sipping a little ginger tea also helps, as we're not allergic to ginger - thank goodness!

Avatar universal
Hi - does anyone else find that doctors are particularly unsympathetic towards an onion allergy, I think that most people think that I am making it up until they give me onion and see what happens.

I am really badly allergic to onion the tiniest bit of juice or powder has an instant effect my tongue and my throat instantly swell up and I feel like my chest is about to explode. I cant breathe properly, I always carry antihistamine tablets and my inhaler with me as this is the only was I can relieve symptoms people think I am having an asthma attack but its not, its just my throat has closed. I worked out that I was allergic to onions and all of its related family about 6 years ago but not before I went to hospital several times. When I was taken to A &E having collapsed after I had eaten a sandwich containing onion because I couldn't breathe they thought that I had heart problems despite what I told them and they did an ECG on me which showed no heart problems, the next time I collapsed having eaten onion ( not realising this was the cause) they decided to test me for epilepsy which of course came out negative, at which point they gave up, then I went to see a homoeopathic doctor who gave me these pills that I was also allergic to, then I started to do this nutrition thing and finally worked out that the onions were the cause, the minute I cut out all onion containing products the effect was instant. I did still try and explain it to doctors who would look at me sceptically as though I had told them I was allergic to air, the one doctor who showed the slightest interest seemed to think that by prescribing strong indigestion tablets this would solve the situation and invited me to come and try some onion related tests on my stomach, despite me trying to explain he couldn't seem to understand that my ability to breathe not my stomach was being affected.

Has anyone found a way to get a doctor to understand an onion allergy because I have all but given up?
Avatar universal
It seems after reading everyone's comments I have an allergy to onions. I suffer from very bad gas and can even smell onions when I pass wind after eating raw onions or fried onions. (sorry for that) Last weekend after having a hearty breakfast that included fried onions I suddenly had a painful burning sensation that started at the back of my throat and slowly moved its way down my Oesophagus until it reached my stomach. At the time I thought it was a tablet that I had taken that had got stuck and was making it slow way down. Besides the painful burning I also had waves of Nausea. After about an hour everything was over except the gas problem. Can this burning be related to onions? has anyone else had a simular reaction? I know I should probably try eating fried onions again and see if I react the same way - but I really don't want to experience that kind of pain again.

I have also developed a embrassing case of very bad armpit odour. It suddenly occurs and does not necessarly occur after sweating One minute I'll be fine and the next people form a 10m radius around me. So far I can't seem to link it to onions. Has anyone else had this problem or is it unrelated?

Avatar universal
I noticed that whenever i eat more of garlic, ginger or onion food, got skin eczema and eching problem. Mostly it appears in foot, fingers and hand. Although till now it is not dignosed however i have strong feeling that it is becasue of garlic & ginger. Most of the time i avoid both however some times it is unavoidable.

Kindly guide, if any one of you have similar observations. What are the remedies or test to confirm it
1332024 tn?1275365049
Hi I came on here searching for other ppl's reactions/stories, as I now am thinking some of my reaction too, are to onions etc
I get hive like break outs on my cheeks & chin area...to quite a few things: soy, wheat, foods high on the Glycemic Index, some fruit & veg -cucumbers, dried apricots, capsicum & now it seems onions, garlic & possibly ginger...
I have been eliminating just about everything, but was still reacting from time to time, when I suddenly put 2 & 2 together!! The one consistent thing I had been eating lately was onion, thinking it was good for me...
Ginger seems to also affect me, but I had dismissed that as a reaction to the sugar (even though I had soaked it & washed it all off)
Great to find other ppl with similar reactions...
Avatar universal
I have just started compiling a list of all the foods that bother me, and I happened upon this thread.  I'm so glad I found it.  I went to the allergist 10 years ago and was told that it was all in my head.  I went back last week, to a different allergist, who did skin testing and told me that everything was negative, and not to worry.

I KNOW that I'm reacting to foods.  I KNOW that I'm not imagining it.  There are things that I eat (raw onion, garlic, ginger are the main ones) that cause my chest to get tight and my sinuses to swell up.  I have described the sensation to other people, thinking that maybe EVERYONE feels that way when they eat raw onion, and no one knew what I was talking about.  It's like right at the back of my throat, where my sinuses close when I swallow--it gets all swollen-feeling and sometimes I get a lump in my throat.  I sometimes get terrible anxiety when I eat or smell raw onions and garlic, too.  

I am making this list because I want to take it back to the allergist (or maybe I should go to a new one, although this one is my son's doctor and I have liked him a lot so far) and get some answers.  I am tired of eating foods and not understanding why some things make me have anxiety, chest tightness and pain, sinus swelling, etc.  I know that I'm not imagining this, and it really reassures me to see that there are others who are experiencing the same kinds of things.

Incidentally, in the list I'm coming up with, I'm noticing a lot of similarities--they seem to be foods that either contain sulfites or histamines or both.  Anyone have issues with these foods, as well as to raw onion?

Take care, all!!
1332024 tn?1275365049
Doesn't seem to be too many active ppl on this forum??  If you are having reactions & find they are to similar food sources I would definitely trust your own judgement... Doctors might know more than us but no none knows our bodies like we do!! Goodluck
Avatar universal
I'm "enjoying" my inability to eat garlic right this second and responding to this question while sitting on the bathroom floor. I didn't know what was wrong with me for years! But most of the time after I ate particularly after I went to restuerants I would get all matter of nausea diarrhea and stomach cramping. I have emetiphobia (irrational fear of throwing up) so I would always get really scared and assume I just had the stomach flu until one day I finally realized I always had garlic breath when I was feeling sick so I gathered garlic and raw onions were the culprates. Now I also get a headache, lightheadedness, and sweating. I'm not sure it is an allergy for me and I know excessive amounts of garlic in people who don't have this problem will make them get our symptoms. Its frustrating because even if it says less than 2% garlic it still makes me at least a little sick. It also ***** that its such a huge part of food in america and is in almost everything. I started telling waiters garlic made me sick and it would be nice if they could leave it out but its not always possible to leave it out and I just accept that. Sometimes like tonight I will just say screw it and down something I know I can't have. Refelcting on that bowl of herb chicken rice I am starting to think it wasn't such a great idea... but hey since it came out in almost exactly the same state it went in it can't be the full 250 calories right? ; ). Good luck everyone!
Avatar universal

I developed an intolerance to Garlic about 2 years ago.  I had eaten garlic my entire life, so this came as a shocker to me.  It is normal for people to develop changes in their bodies, especially women, because a woman's body can experience changes every 5 to 7 years.

My reactions depend on the amount i have ingested and can vary anywhere between intense stomach pain and vomitting and diarrhea.  And my body will be out of sorts for days after an attack.  

I was told by a nutritionist that it is most probably a reaction to the sulphites found in garlic imported from China (99% of the garlic we eat)  She suggested i try Garlic from California or from Quebec (for those who live in quebec)  Basically locally grown garlic.  I have not done so yet, in the off-chance that i get sick again. (its really painful)

I don't really miss cooking with Garlic, because i have gotten used to it.  And there are tons of other yummy herbs and spices you can use Howvever, resaturants are always tricky.  I try to go back to restaurants i am familiar with because most of the time, the other restaurants have no idea what there are in their food (dressings, sauces...) and are out to poison me :s

The best thing for a garlic attack is to really monitor what you are eating and to give your body a few days to regenerate... A hot water bottle and sleep are the best cures (once the vomitting and diarrhea have ended of course). Because an intolerance is an inflammatory reaction, an advil usually helps me as well.

I am a little hesitant about antihistamines because these kinds of reactions are not allergic reactions but intolerances.  Food allergies are classified as type 1 whereas intolerances are type 3.
This website explains the difference clearly.

Good luck to you all!

Avatar universal
I'm so glad to have found this feed. I have suffered from a garlic/onion allergy for years, not diagnosed by a doctor but just through the reaction my body has when I eat it, cooked onion isn't so bad, but I can't tolerate raw onion or garlic in any form. Even the smallest amount of garlic causes a reaction, which is most annoying as I love them both. The reaction I have though seems to vary from everyone elses. I do get a closing of the back of the throat along with a thick mucas which is similar to what you get with a lactose intolerance. The worst of it for me though is it affects my skin, I come out with cystic acnce and hives and because of this have been on antibiotics for years. Has anyone else had this sort of reaction? I would be interested to know. I've tried to tell my doctor but they just don't listen but I know it's a because of the garlic/onion, a few hours after eating it my skin gets itchy and then within a day or two the acne breaks out, I can even smell the garlic on my skin. So the best thing to do it avoidance and as mentioned by someone else home cooking. I find I'm very careful when ordering at restaurants too, it's a bit limiting but it's just not worth the grief.

Good luck to everyone.

Avatar universal
Both Garlic and Onion have very strong elements. Not only do they cause allegic reactions but have strong odours which I find verysickly, uncomfortable and intolerable. Best thing is to avoid eating them. Best diet is Jain or the Swaminarayan Diet, both which excludes onion and garlic.
Avatar universal
Me too! I had slivers of raw onion tonight in some quinoa I was eating and when I got the same symptoms (which I've had again and again) I thought I'd search again for more on this strange allergy that noone seems to confirm exists except on these kinds of searches.  

But I have less severe problems but equally cumbersome.  For me, the symptoms I get are a thick headache, light
sensitivity, some dizziness and nausea. My appetite becomes suppressed and I want to go to sleep to ease the reaction and headache. Also my eyes kind of fog up and may or may not tear but feel irritable and my lids feel 'thick' and heavy/tired.. That is pretty much exactly how it happens. No coughing/mucous.  Right now, I'm itching on my legs, ears, face, neck, chest, back, underarms and arms..

I first noticed I had a predisposed dislike of onions when I couldn't understand why others didn't strongly dislike people ordering fajita pans for dinner in places like Chili's.  I loved onions and garlic any other way than that and don't remember having any headaches from anything but the sizzling/smoking fajita pans.  This always drove me crazy - it was being wafted in my eyes and down my throat..  I'd get an instant heavy-lidded eye feeling and headache in the front of my brain!  It would ruin my dinner.  I didn't understand at that point but I'm thinking it likely that I was developing my allergies to the onions, garlic etc.  

Now I try to be away from the house when anything onion is being prepped.  I still eat onion and garlic, and ginger hasn't affected me (thank God) but sometimes I'm not affected by any of them.. not sure if it's the type of onion/garlic and the way they are stored, cooked, processed what?!  

So for me, I think that it can be onions and garlic and raw is definitely more of a culprit - or just breathing it in without even knowing/smelling I'm breathing onion because I have all the symptoms and later find out there was onion or garlic being cooked/cut etc..  I've noticed that the onions on McDonald's hamburgers don't bother me at all - and good, bc, YUM!  

On the standard RAST test do they check for onion/garlic?  (I was only slightly allergic to dust mite feces when I was tested last year.)  

This allergy can take the whole day away from me though, as it zaps my mental
focus and gives me a queasy feeling in my head and stomach.. It's not
just eating onions, I can even smell them and they will impair
me the rest of the day - as long as the onions that are cooking or
being cut is 'breathable.'

Also, I'm wondering if it's also in bell pepper or other similar
veggies - but it's probably just because most people put bell pepper in with onions.. sometimes sauteed vegetables like these affect me the same. I've asked my family to let me know ahead of time when they'll be
cooking these things bc I'm not able to focus/think I'm so bleary and
uncomfortable and just want to sleep off the effects. I race out of
the house if possible to preserve my sanity!

Anyone else? Any clue what causes it for sure or how to help alleviate the symptoms - fast or otherwise??
Avatar universal
You need to see a doctor who is an Allergy / immunology specialist. I did and he performed a skin test and blood test that scientifically proved that I am allergic to garlic. Don’t expect any modern doctor to be too sympathetic to any patient, but to expect them to provide realistic treatment advice, which in the case of food allergies usually consists of avoidance, oral over the counter antihistamines (Benadryl and zyrtec), and possibly an epinephrine pen.
Avatar universal
I have a garlic/raw onion intolerance too...diarrhea, bloating, sore tummy.  You mentioned that digestive enzymes help you.  Can you be more specific?  Are there particular enzymes that help you to better digest alliums/sulphites?  Thanks.
Avatar universal
I am suffering from a garlic allergy too! It started years ago with onions and I eliminated from my diet them but lately because of a Candida diet that I am on I started adding garlic for flavor to my foods. There's also the added benefit that its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. I got really sick this week and thought it was a virus. I woke during the night with a terrible migraine, congestion, muscle and joint pain, burning and sizzling extremeties, dizziness, fatigue and stomach nausea and pain. I was convinced I had a stomach bug. Here I am 4 days later still home in bed and symtpoms getting worse! I started to keep a food diary and discovered that garlic was the common denominator! I don't eat any processed foods and my diet is already very limited because of food intolerances. It finally hit me! I dug up an old food allergy test which reminded me of my allergy to onions. It just has to be as they are in the same family and many people that have an allergy to one have an allergy to the other! Right now I am feeling so awful. My head is exploding along with all the symptoms listed above. I am praying tomorrow will be better but if this is going to be a repeat of all the other nights this week I am sure I won't be sleeping because of all the pain and discomfort! It IS such a nightmare!
Avatar universal
I have suffered terrible bloating, cramping, and gas from eating onions for 20 years.  The symptoms are so bad I can't take a deep breath.  Within the last year, I developed the same symptoms with garlic.  SO frustrating, because I love eating out!

My allergist tested for onions, and said I was not allergic.  But guess what?  I'm allergic to any DRUG that has SULPHUR in it!  They make me vomit!  I had no idea that they could be related, that onions and garlic both have sulphur in them.

What angers me is that my doctor knows I am allergic to sulphur, and never once suggested it could be a problem with foods.  In fact, she brushed off my onion issue once she determined I was not "allergic" to onions.  Now that garlic is a culprit, too, I'll just have to "explain" it to her.  :-)

By the way, I'm allergic to apples, sometimes grapes, plums, and more, but not gastrointestinally.  Those allergies manifest with itching mouth, gums, and swelling throat.

Because the gas is so excruciating, I avoid broccolli, cauliflower, and anything else that could possibly contribute to gas.

Glad I found this thread, just because it's nice to know I'm not crazy!
Avatar universal
I am very allergic to onions, garlic, chives, leeks, and shallots.  If I am around them and breathe I start to throw up, so I don't breathe, and it is very hard. I have to read everything I buy at the store in a can or a box, just to be sure there is none of these items in it. As for going out to eat, I can only eat at places like Piccadilly, Golden Corral, Ryans, I Hop, and some steak places.  I avoid all Mexican, Italian, or Cajun Restaurants at all cost because these places reek with garlic.  I can't even walk into these places.  Any help would be most appreciated.  Please, no allergy shots though.  There must be a better way, then giving the person what they are allergic to.

Avatar universal
This is the first time I researched allergy to onion & garlic because of some new elements in my health scenario. I also thought my allergies were unusual. I ate garlic & onions by practically inhaling them when I was yonger. My allergies started in my late 30s. I am now 61yrs young. I have managed to avoid foods that have onions & garlic written on the product package but I was still having the same reactions to other foods. In addition to the headaches & sore throat I would have terrible pain in my lungs & it would turn into a full blown sinus & bronchial infection. I later learned to avoid anything that had spices, flavoring & broth, as they all have the same (deadly for me) ingredients in them. Taking Benedryl helps if I take it before I eat if i know I'm going to eat out & the probability is great that any of the above will be ingested, but it only works once in a while! I believe the toxins have an accumulative effect. So the next time you'll not be so lucky. Read the labels of prepared, semi-prepared, or processed/semi-processed foods such as raw chicken or turkey frozen in broth, tuna in broth instead of water,
crackers or certain breads, even vegetable based juices. If in question call the telephone number on the product.They won't give you a list of ingredients (propriety rights) but they are required to give you a yes or no response. So have your list of items, spices etc, you want to inquire about. If you have a smartphone there are apps for scanning a product barcode & you can call the mfg before buying the product. I hope this helps anyone interested. :)   ***@****
Avatar universal
My allergy to onions and garlic (chives, leeks, etc. . . raw or cooked) was diagnosed by my medical student husband 39 years ago when I was 21. I always loved onion pizza, fried onion rings, and more. However, I spent my childhood and adolescence having severe migraines and missing a lot of school. Recently, I discovered that ginger is another food I'm allergic to. I love Italian food, so I'm always looking for pasta sauces without onions or garlic. I just found Tuttorosso Three-Cheese pasta sauce, made by Red Gold, an Indiana company. It has NO onions and NO garlic. I think I died and went to heaven. If you know of other foods like this, please post the info.
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for the info on a pasta sauce with no onion/garlic.  I've had to make my own sauce for years, usually using Rotel tomatoes as a base. I can't wait to try it out.  I use slippery elm to help alleviate symptoms when I accidently ingest onion or garlic.  
Avatar universal
Hi Y'all,

Ok. My issues are a little different. I get very sick, horrible stomach aches, cramping and diarreha from eating garlic. I fell in love with Balsamic Vinigarette salad dressing but got sick every time I ate it. Finally looked it up and there's lots of garlic in it. I eat one bite of garlic bread and I'm sick for 3 days...no kidding. However, I can eat onions with no problem. I love red, green, yellow...all kinds of onions and no tummy ache. Being sensitive to garlic is a real problem because eating at restaurants is dangerous. They cook everything with garlic. Sometimes if I take Immodium before I eat (if I think there's garlic in it) sometimes I can deflect a reaction. Sometimes it doesn't work at all. Good luck all . Sux don't it.
Avatar universal
I'm really glad I found this website and realized I am not alone or crazy. I think my husband thinks I am a hypochondriac. I am almost 38 yrs old and have eaten garlic and onions my whole life. Raw onions always repelled me so much but I could handle some if they were well-disguised in a dish. No adverse reactions. Recently ate fish ceviche with raw onions in it for days while on a tropical vacation. Others in our party did too. I noticed I began to have strange symptoms like extreme exhaustion, dizziness, chills, brachychardia, slow pulse, joint pain, dry eyes and a feeling like I wanted to cry. When we returned home, I went to see doctors and they ran tests, all came back normal except they brachycardia they noted. I had been cooking with onions as I always had but nothing raw. I felt better but still ill. I finally figured out that onions, especially RAW, were making me sick! I think it really hit me when I ate a cabbage salad that someone had made with raw onion slivers in it and that night we went to a party and I felt like I took sedatives and had to leave the party just as it was starting, ended up in bed by 9 pm shivering with chills and joint pain. I eliminated onions from my diet and saw a big improvement in how I felt. My husband cooked with garlic since then and I was fine so I assumed I dodged that bullet but then last night I made pesto sauce and used 6 raw garlic cloves. Today I began to feel awful. Debilitating fatigue as if drugged, feeling cold, depressed, joint pain, heart palpitations, in short, everything I had felt with the raw onions. I realize now that I cannot eat raw garlic or onions. I guess I'm fortunate in that I can seem to tolerate them cooked but then again I've suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for years and maybe onion and garlic are to blame for that. The intolerance to them in their raw form is a new thing for me. I have been extremely stressed due to personal issues and wonder if the stress brought this on. As an aside, I cut out all caffeine one month ago in an attempt to feel better overall and it has ended a lot of joint pain I was having not related to onions or garlic. Again, very glad to have found you all! I wonder how many people are suffering because they just don't know about this. Lucky for us we figured it out, most of us on our own. Many wishing we'd known sooner.
Avatar universal
I am pretty sure i have an allergy to onion and garlic , I especially get dizziness, exhaustion, fatigue, heart palpitations, depressed, joint pain, sometimes i get hives on my chest, swollen tounge, My doctor has put me on antibiotics and vitamin b, does anyone know if any of these medications or others contain anything that is in onion or garlic ? Thanx 4 ur help Milly
Avatar universal
Wow, I did not know people had problems eating onions and garlic like me... I am unable to eat raw onions, my stomach just refuses it. Soon as i taste it causes me to vomit out what in my mouth, only when onions are baked and absolutely tasteless as on pizza that is baked properly, then i can eat it. Garlic on the other hand I can eat raw, but if cooked and instead of grated finely it is cut into pieces where you can taste it makes me to puke out my stomach.... I had this problem all my life... I deal with it my thoroughly sniffing my food before consumption to know if there is a threat that can lead to my embarrassment...
Avatar universal
Whenever I eat garlic I fail to sleep vomit alot and at tyms have bloody diarrhea is this normal???
Avatar universal
I have the same issues as a lot of people here - Beano tends to help me if I eat it before eating foods that are likely to have garlic in it.  It won't work with, say, garlic bread but it will help before eating Italian or Mexican, for example.  It isn't a cure, by any means, but it certainly helps me.  What is interesting is I am allergic to Sulfa drugs so learning that garlic and onions have sulfur in them is fascinating.  It adds a whole new aspect to this silly allergy!
Avatar universal
I have severe onion and garlic sensitivity - not sure if it's an actual allergy or just a very high sensitivity.  My symptoms are severe gastrointestinal discomfort (the feeling you are digesting steel wool), vomiting, headache and a general 'toxic' feeling.  I will get dizzy and nauseaus if onions are being chopped or cooked in fair amounts if I am in the same room.  I can live without onion easily but garlic is more difficult, so I learned a trick that makes it totally digestable to me.  I first cut the tips off and remove any green sprout that may have formed.  Then I drop the cloves into boiling, salted water for around 4 minutes (3-5 depending on the sizes of the cloves).  I remove the cloves and let drain on paper towels, then pack them into glass jars and cover with olive oil.  I usually set up and do 2 or 3 bulbs at a time.  Once the garlic is processed in this way, I have no trouble digesting it.  I believe it breaks down the sulpher component or something.  Not sure - I got this trick from a friend from Italy who also has trouble with the lily family of plants.  I hope this helps you at least enjoy a bit of garlic!
Avatar universal
I have severe onion and garlic sensitivity - not sure if it's an actual allergy or just a very high sensitivity.  My symptoms are severe gastrointestinal discomfort (the feeling you are digesting steel wool), vomiting, headache and a general 'toxic' feeling.  I will get dizzy and nauseaus if onions are being chopped or cooked in fair amounts if I am in the same room.  I can live without onion easily but garlic is more difficult, so I learned a trick that makes it totally digestable to me.  I first cut the tips off and remove any green sprout that may have formed.  Then I drop the cloves into boiling, salted water for around 4 minutes (3-5 depending on the sizes of the cloves).  I remove the cloves and let drain on paper towels, then pack them into glass jars and cover with olive oil.  I usually set up and do 2 or 3 bulbs at a time.  Once the garlic is processed in this way, I have no trouble digesting it.  I believe it breaks down the sulpher component or something.  Not sure - I got this trick from a friend from Italy who also has trouble with the lily family of plants.  I hope this helps you at least enjoy a bit of garlic!
Avatar universal
I use fennel bulbs in the same way one would use an onion bulb - just chop and sautee.  I use it in all my soups and sauces with great results.  For garlic - if I peel the cloves and first remove the green tip, then drop the cloves into boiling, salted water for about 3-5 minutes (depending on the size of the cloves), let dry on a paper towel then pack into glass jars and cover with olive oil.  I usually do a couple bulbs of garlic at a time so I have it ready when I need it.  For some reason whatever the culpret in garlic is gets removed or altered and I can then use this garlic in recipes - as much as I want.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Hi, it is so good to meet other people with similar allergies/reactions. I agree homecooking is the best. Only then can you know for sure that you are safe from whatever it is that your body cannot tolerate.

I am allergic to onion (sulphur) in any form and any amount. I am also allergic to certain antibiotics (sulphur). I took penicillin in October 2011 because I had an infected tooth. The pencillin attacked my joints in both my knees. After 4 days my one knee started swelling. The next day my other knee was swollen. I sat in a wheelchair in less then 24 hours. I was in ICU for 4 days. I am still recovering. I have been taking cortisone and celebrex ever since. I was bedridden for 2 months. I was in terrible pain. The penicillin gave me reactive arthritis. Only now am I stepping down on my medication. It is a critical time for me now because the cortisone has given me so many horrible side effects. I want/need to come off my medication. I will. I am doing well. However, my knees are much better.

I have reacted to other antibiotics (sulphur) and voltaren (sulphur) before but lightly. My fingers, hands and toes would swell and become itchy. No, I go to the dentist and I don't take any pain killers/injections because it is not worth it. Short term pain is far better then long term pain/difficult recovery.

I have been able to eat garlic though without getting sick. Onion makes me sick for 3 days if I eat it. I start vomiting/get diarrhea/feel nauseous and very sick. I still need to do tests for my allergies. My auyrvedic doctor says that fair/white people are more likely to have sulphur allergies? My onion allergy only started when I became a vegetarian/started eating lots of vegetarian Indian food (which I absolutely love by the way) loaded with onion. I was 22 when it started lightly. I was 26 when I realized what it was. I was 30 the first time I reacted to antibiotics.

My dad reacted to antibiotics once. My brother has a different reaction to onions then me. He cannot get it down. He vommits if someone has chopped onions with a knife and then uses the same knife to cut bread for him.

Take care and be very careful with your allergies.
Avatar universal
cooked onions makes me throw up but raw onions don't.

Avatar universal
I get severe sore throat, swollen throat glands, headache, foggy head, swollen puffy eyes and face, and it lasts for DAYS. It is awful!  I am going to sue two restaurants who have lately poisoned me after promising no garlic was present. I cannot think, cannot work. cannot work out, and suffer daily, now going on my 3rd day.

Do any doctors know of an antidote?
Avatar universal
I can eat garlic until it reeks out of my pores. I can handle, cut, cook onion family til any self respecting mosquito wont come near me. (Let alone another human) But if i consume any of the other onion family even cooked is epi pens and an ambulance/ER party. BUT dehydrate those onions and let me at them. I was told that it was because it changes the alkaloids in them. Is this true?
Avatar universal
I hate to say it but I am extremely allergic to garlic.  I found out about it when I was in college.  I would always eat Sicilian pizza (with a lot of garlic).  One day I became dizzy, my heart was racing, and I was extremely nauseous.  I ate it again the next day but the symptoms were worse, so I went to bed.  The next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital.  I found out that I had an extreme allergic reaction and went into shock and I had to receive medicine.  After getting a million questions (it seems), I was was given test after test and kept in the hospital for almost a week (I found out that it also messed with my heart).  It was found that I am deathly allergic to raw garlic, especially the oil.  I can eat garlic powder and garlic salt but not dried or fresh garlic.  Trust me, it is so depressing to not be able to eat anywhere I want or anything I want without asking, "Does this have garlic in it?"  Ironically, I am not allergic to onion.  I can eat it all day.  

I went to a restaurant with my brother (he wanted to treat me to dinner).  All I ordered was a burger with no pickles.  I asked if the burger was cooked with garlic and the waiter said yes.  I talked to both he and the cook and told them that I am extremely allergic to it and asked if there is any way to not add garlic to my burger.  I was told that it was not a problem.  After I had eaten my burger and fries, we went to our cars to go home.  All of the sudden, I could not breathe, my heart was racing, my throat felt like it was closing, and I could barely stand.  I was at least 30 minutes from the nearest hospital.  The only thing that I could think of was to throw up and hope that it would help.  I did and it helped me to breathe afterwards.  Still ended up having to go to the hospital anyway.  I found out that I did ingest garlic oil.  Come to find out instead of putting garlic in my burger, the cook put garlic oil in it.  To make a long story short, I filed a complaint against the restaurant the next day.  A week later the restaurant closed.  I don't know if it was because of the complaint or not but it never opened again.
Avatar universal
I also have a severe garlic allergy. It affects my heart leading to a heartrate in excess of 220 beats per minute which is basically fibrilation. Ironically it seems we were born in the same year - 1972

I am constantly on anti-histamines. Now onions are also starting to do it.
Avatar universal
I was born with GARLIC allergy - it was discovered by accident; I was always taken to the ER, with hives and trouble breathing; I was suddenly better when we ran out of garlic home..It's a SULFITE allergy (some people are just intolerant). Here goes a list of DONT'S as for food and medications to be avoided:

Sulfites are also used in some medications

Topical - some eye drops and creams
Oral medication - at the time of writing, no adverse reactions to sulfites have occurred from swallowed medication that might have been contaminated with sulfites.
Injectable medication - Adrenaline (epinephrine), isoprenaline, phenylephrine, dexamethasone and some other injectable corticosteroids, dopamine, local anaesthetics/dental anaesthetics containing adrenaline and aminoglycoside antibiotics are the most common potential sources of exposure.  It should be noted that even in patients with serious sulfite sensitivity, the benefit of adrenaline is considered to outweigh any theoretical risk from sulfites in an emergency.

"Sulfites" is the general name for six specific substances:
Sulfur dioxide
Sodium sulfite
Sodium bisulfite
Sodium metabisulfite
Potassium bisulfite
Potassium metabisulfite

As additives, sulfites do many things:
They can prevent spoilage and preserve foods -- and certain beverages -- by preventing the growth of mold and bacteria, for example.
They can stop fruits, vegetables, and seafood from discoloring.
They can maintain the strength of common medications -- including some asthma drugs.

Sulfites may be added to foods and beverages such as:
Apple cider and other types of cider
Avocado dip
Beer and wine
Condiments, jams, gravies, and molasses
Dried fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetable juices
Peeled potatoes (including french fries)
Pickled meats and vegetables
Restaurant food and other prepared foods
Shrimp and shellfish

Sulfites may also occur naturally in foods such as:
Corn starch
Fish, such as salmon and dried cod
Maple syrup

According to federal law, sulfites cannot be added to foods that are intended to be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables. When they are used as a preservative in food preparation or processing, they must be listed as an ingredient.

Symptoms of a Sulfites Allergy

The severity of allergic reactions to sulfites can vary. Symptoms of a sulfite allergy include:
Hives and itchiness
Upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting
Trouble swallowing
Drop in blood pressure
Trouble breathing

The combination of asthma and sulfites can be life-threatening because it can lead to anaphylactic shock. If this occurs, the entire body reacts severely to the allergen. The airways can swell shut, making it difficult to breathe. According to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, as many as 5%-10% of sulfite reactions in people with asthma are fatal.

If you have signs of an allergic reaction to sulfites, get emergency help. In many cases, using your quick-relief inhaler can control your reaction.

Avoiding Problems With Asthma and Sulfite Allergy

Your doctor can tell if you have a sulfite allergy with a test called a controlled sulfite challenge. During this test, you are exposed to a small amount of sulfites under close supervision to see if you have a reaction.

If you have asthma -- and sulfites cause an allergic reaction -- you need to be very careful to avoid them. This can be tough, especially since sulfites are in many foods and drugs. And even a very small amount can cause a reaction. But here are a few things you can do.
Read labels, checking for sulfite substances listed above.
Be careful with foods that commonly contain sulfites. Many are listed above.
When you eat out, ask the waiter or waitress whether the food you're ordering contains sulfites.
Check with your doctor to make sure that the asthma drugs you use do not contain sulfites.
Be prepared in case you do ever accidentally eat sulfites. Ask your doctor what to do in an emergency. Always carry your rescue inhaler with you.

I hope this helps whoever needs it.
MC, Sep2012
Avatar universal
Hi my Dracula friends,  

I'm also VERY allergic to garlic and onions! when I was a child my reaction to these foods was mild since my family usually cooks them as deeply fried with olive oil , but I was very allergic to fish, banana, and nuts!

As I age, now 36, my allergy to fish, banana and nuts became mild, however, my Garlic and Onion allergy is getting severe.
Every time I have garlic and onion in my food (even very tiny amount), I feel very sick, feel very bad and aggressive, with bloating, upset stomach, severe headache, and very low concentration!
I know that Garlic makes people stupid! I agree! because, my Brain becomes FOGGY when I have Garlic and Onion in my food!
This is why Pilots, specially Jet fighters (F-16), are not allowed to even touch garlic three days ahead of their scheduled flight!!

My friends know that I am very allergic to Garlic, so if they want to get rid of me or just want me to keep away from the office, they just hang a bunch of garlic on the door!

Fatin, Transylvania.  
Avatar universal
I was interested to read your post re taking slippery elm to counteract gastric problems after eating something with garlic.  I have the same intolerance to garlic (lots of gas, indigestion and diarrhea).  How much slippery elm do you take?  How soon after having garlic?  Does it prevent the symptoms?  Thanks.
Avatar universal
I was just reading your experience about eating garlic, and have just had a very bad reaction to some really lovely italian spaghetti fruit de mer!  I had explosive diarrhea and was violently sick.  Thinking back, I have reacted to a lesser degree when I have eaten at this restaurant before, and wondered if it could be the garlic, as it is quite strong. Also I remember I had some lovely garlic prawns some years ago in France which was very garlicky and was ill afterwards.  I am fine when I cook with a small amount of garlic at home.  However, this latest upset has made me think I will not be eating garlicky foods in restaurants in future, as I also suffer from IBS and after this attack, it has really upset it!  Good to hear that I am not the only one who suffers.  Best wishes
Avatar universal
Like you I had no problems with garlic (or anything else) for most of my life.  But 13 years ago I got what I thought was IBS (diarrhea).  Because I'd never had food intolerances it didn't occur to me that it might be a specific food item causing it.  But in the past few years I've noticed that I can't have anything with garlic in it or I really pay for it over the next couple days...stomach pain, gas and diarrhea.  I've tried Zantac, Omaprozole and Imodium for the symptoms but they don't help much.  And just try to completely avoid garlic!!  Not too hard at home where you can make sure of the ingredients in everything you buy but restaurants...forgetaboutit!  

I really like Indian and Chinese food but it's almost impossible to avoid garlic.  Even if they don't add it while cooking, it's an ingredient in most sauces and seasonings that are staples in these restaurants.  The non 'ethnic' places are a little better and I've become known to the staff in most of the places nearby.  But I'm not alone.  Even in our town in rural England I've started hearing about others with garlic intolerance.  The owner of our local Italian place said there were now several regular diners who have the same complaint.

I've heard the problem may be due to the addition of powdered garlic or garlic salt in so many packaged foods.  Some people say they don't have a problem in countries like France and Italy (even though they cook with a lot of garlic) because the garlic clove is removed after sauteeing and you only have it as a flavouring.  I don't know if this would work for me as I'm afraid to go near anything that's even had contact with garlic.
Avatar universal
Just a note: just because one can eat yogurt and cheese, that doesn't mean one isn't lactose intolerant. One can be intolerant to varying degrees. For me personally, I can also eat cheese, yogurt, cream, and even small amounts of ice cream. But a whole milkshake - forget it. And I just checked, and supposedly the milk sold in the US does not contain preservatives (mine in the fridge doesn't list one, either - I buy the "lactose free" milk). Bacteria and such in milk are controlled through pasteurization, refrigeration, and homogenization.
Avatar universal
I had my gall bladder removed about 12 years ago and had bile acid diarrhea due to bile being dumped directly into my intestines (rather than being dispensed gradually from the gall bladder).  I took Questran for years and then stopped thinking I didn't need it any more.  Last couple years I've had a terrible reaction to garlic (several days of diarrhea, gas and bloating).  I didn't make the connection between garlic and bile.  But apparently garlic increases bile production.  So I started back on the Questran about a week ago and haven't had a bad reaction so far.  Hopefully this will solve my garlic problem.  I'm going on a road trip through France and Spain soon and the prospect of avoiding garlic seemed truly daunting.  BTW, I've heard that there's some difference between the way garlic is used in cooking.  Supposedly if the chef only sautees a clove of garlic in the pan then removes it, you don't have the problem with digesting it.  But these days there's garlic salt and garlic powder in almost everything.  And I think these forms are more concentrated.
Avatar universal
If you ingest garlic by mistake, 4 to 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar (sipping water between spoonfuls) if taken within 20 or so minutes, will prevent the adverse reaction.  Works every time
Avatar universal
ginger is a rhizome and a totally different family from allium- which is garlic/onion/leeks/chives/shallots/ramps- sounds like you may have more than one allergy. I found this out the hard way- being medivac'ed after eating one onion ring
Avatar universal
Ah ye olde candida routine.  And stating that all allergies are due to candida is not only unhelpful, but could well lead readers to invest in absurdly expensive investigations that only worry them to death.
Avatar universal
Odd that you would not suggest that in the case of this fried rice, the restaurant was one of the few remaining that uses MSG.  The poster's symptoms of MSG reaction are classic.
Avatar universal
You do not indicate if you are eating processed foods that contain far more troublesome things than garlic.  That "herbed chicken" - did you make it at home, or did you buy it pre-packaged.
Avatar universal
In my case, a small amount of fresh garlic in food with no other additives causes an emission of garlic odor from the skin that is so strong it can be detected in another room.  No answers suggested from practitioners consulted.  No allergy to alliums.  I can eat onion raw, and cooked, with no problem.  I can drink wine with all it's sulfates, with no problem.
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