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Garlic Allergy or Intolerance

Garlic Allergy or Intolerance

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Brief description:
An allergy to garlic ‘Allium sativum’ is mostly to the allergy towards Allicin protein. Symptoms will be worse when raw garlic is consumed, when cooked there may less severe symptoms. Likely to also be allergic to onion as they are part of the same plant family as are leeks chives and shallots. Can be referred to generally as an Allium allergy or intolerance. Some people have an garlic intolerance where they are unable to digest raw onion and hence suffer from symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea and abdominal cramps this is different from an onion allergy as there is no involvement from the immune system. There should be very little symptoms in those intolerant to garlic when digesting cooked onion. Diallyldisulfide is the allergen in Garlic which commonly causes skin irritation.

Garlic and in many cases also raw onion, chives, shallots, leeks. These are present in many pre prepared foods such as soups, curries, stews, pies, and fast food.
Read all labels of food for signs of garlic seasoning in the food. Where you're unsure of the ingredients it's always best to avoid foods, particularly if your last reaction was

A Garlic allergy rarely causes a full blown anaphylactic reaction and is usually associated with milder symptoms such as:

Itching and/or swelling of your lips, mouth, tongue and throat
Skin reactions such as swelling, itching and facial flushing
Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and bloating
Coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
Runny nose, red and itchy eyes
Headache, migraine or blocked sinuses

It is rare to have a food allergy to onion and garlic; intolerance is more common and affects adults more than children. The most common reaction caused is a contact dermatitis (skin irritation on touching) to garlic when preparing it.


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Garlic is normally added as a seasoning before cooking but can be eaten raw. It is widely used as an ingredient in foods such as stews, hotpots and breads.

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