Garlic and my headache

July 31st, 2002

Is it possible to get a headache from eating too much garlic? I have a HUGE headache. And it’s the only thing I can think I did differently today. Aurgh! I can’t write, it hurts too badly. Maybe I need more coffee. Holy crap, I promise to never do it again. Please go away now.

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60 Comments on “Garlic and my headache”

  1. Megan said at 5:29 pm on July 31st, 2002:

    All i know is that asparagus makes your pee smell bad. I learned that from Austin Powers yesterday. How sad.

  2. grijn said at 5:29 pm on July 31st, 2002:

    my girl, Laura, gets extremely dehydrated from eating garlic, esp. real garlic all nice and chopped in big chunks.. me, not so bad, but i can feel it when i eat a bunch of it.. but hey, screw it. life is short, were relatively young, and garlic is just damn good for you. esp. roasted in tinfoil with a bit of olive oil and salt and yummyness.

    oh and she’s not really “MY” girl, I got her on loan from herself.

  3. Chris said at 4:54 pm on July 13th, 2009:

    GARLIC can ABSOLUTELY cause headaches. And not only from eating it, but even smelling it can cause headaches. I’m suffering from one right now after just cooking with garlic – didn’t even eat it yet. I’ve had this reaction to garlic my entire life, though I stubbornly still eat it because I love the taste. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!

  4. James said at 7:18 am on July 15th, 2009:

    I get terrible migraines after eating garlic. Most of my migraines I can treat, but migraines from garlic cause me to suffer no matter what I try. I’m trying to figure out why, this is how I found your post. There does not seem to be much information on it.

  5. Michelle said at 8:52 am on July 18th, 2009:

    I ate two cloves of garlic last night and got the most severe headache.. i had to throw up. The reason I ate the garlic was to kill parasites if any. My friend had a parasite that caused many things, bloating, fatique, low energy, mood swings. She removed a big one. I was feeling some of these things so i went on line and they said garlic kills them. I eat sushi so I read statistics , I must have them. ANyway i am ot allergic to garlic at all but last night I reacted horribly ..could the parasites be the link to the nausea and extreme headache? I think so..

  6. Luis Antonio said at 4:04 pm on August 5th, 2009:

    I’m so glad i found this info, cause i have told several people that i get a headache everytime i consume Garlic. Thanks people for the info, now to find out why?

  7. Steve Woodhams said at 5:13 am on November 23rd, 2009:

    Garlic can cause a headache, sometimes severe in some people. I believe I am right in saying it is because garlic thins the blood.

    So as well as being good for people with circulation problems, it can cause problems for people with mildly high blood pressure, as increased blood flow CAN cause headache / migraine.

  8. majhoul said at 5:13 am on December 10th, 2010:

    hi guys , i am so happy to know it is common but any one did get a good answer.
    i went to a doctor for this case and he said that i should not eat garlic.
    he gave me zantac ,damperidone and panadol.
    this was not comforting to me and i still look for answers how to overcome this and why it happen.
    i used to consume lots of garlic earlier with no problems why now?

  9. Tom Nistler said at 1:47 pm on December 20th, 2010:

    Garlic can definitely cause headaches as I’ve had many until I realized garlic was causing them. Garlic does a great job expanding your blood vessels. If there is a nerve close by the expanded blood vessel, it puts pressure on the nerve and causes an excrutiating headache lasting 12 – 16 hours, which is no fun. Since I quit garlic, I’ve never had another one of that nature.

  10. Lilly said at 5:14 pm on February 24th, 2011:

    Oh my God! So I’m not alone! I thought something is wrong with me. I wanted to eat garlic because I read how much it help the body fight germs and I need it these days. The moment I swallowed it, my body temperature went up and my head exploded. It hurts so bad! What is the cause??? Does it cause bloating, too? Cause my stomach isn’t very happy either!

  11. Michelle said at 11:42 pm on March 6th, 2011:

    My 14 year old son got a severe migraine headache shortly after eating Papa John’s Pizza. He had fought me for the garlic dipping sauce. He has never had headaches or migraines before. Thanks for the info.

  12. Patricia said at 10:51 pm on July 12th, 2011:

    garlic and onion’s can cause headache’s in anyone young or old, but not everyone, i suffer from headache’s every time i eat onion’s but garlic even just a small amount put’s me in bed for at lease 3 day’s, i stay away from it as much as i can, make’s going out to dinner hard because i have to ask if there is garlic in whatever i choise, sure wish there was cure, i love the tast and miss the flavor.

  13. Gresham said at 3:25 am on September 2nd, 2011:

    I’ve been in and out of Doctor and Dentist’s offices for a little over a year now. They keep throwing drugs at me but nothing seems to work. I decided that I would just change everything that I do on a regular basis and see what happens. I had mentioned to my wife that I think it could be garlic or onions. I stopped garlic and onions and the headaches stopped. I did not want to believe this because I love the two so I made a really strong garlic and onion dinner last night… now I’m dying. Thanks for the blog, I’ll mention it to my Doctor.

  14. amit said at 10:07 am on October 14th, 2011:

    Hi all

    Garlic is well known for its flavour enhancing quality as well as several medicinal uses. It has been claimed by many many folks that it cures cancer. However garlic supplementation is to be used with caution as it is a very potent herb contatining sulphur compounds. One study 3 years ago by a doctor ( Bob something) said that it kills brain cells and slows the brain. However, even i think i get headaches from it so for now i am stopping it as a daily med…( i guess i will take something else to help my cholestrol). prolonged use over a few days of raw garlic can also cause diarrhea( it may kill even the good bacteria in tummy) . Use it in moderation unless you have a med condition which can be really reversed with garlic.

    good luck! and best wishes!

  15. emma king said at 4:51 pm on October 15th, 2011:

    I love garlic and I eat it most nites with my partner,last nite we ate quite a lot with our dinner and now I am suffering so bad with a migraine couldn’t understand what was causing this pain,now I know its garlic its such a strange and painful feeling in my head,definitely not like any normal headache. Thanx for the help guys!! XX

  16. Tanis Hignell-Bowman said at 6:10 am on January 15th, 2012:

    I get really bad headaches, after reading the comments above, I think garlic could be the cause.
    You mention garlic causes the blood vessels to swell, causing sever pain in the head. I eat a lot of garlic and suffer with sever headaches on a regular basis. The headache feels like I have blocked sinuses and causes severe pain above my eyes and temples. I had my sinuses checked, the doctor said there was nothing wrong.
    The only tablet that relieves the pain is Imigran, I understand these pills reduce swelling of the blood vessels.
    I also use shalotts in salad dressing, could this also contribute to my headaches.

  17. Ian G said at 3:06 pm on January 29th, 2012:

    I used to only get the problem when I ate stupid amounts of garlic over multiple meals.
    Lately less seems to mess.
    Nothing medicinal cures it for me.
    Latest, got it from making beef mince on Friday – threw in two pots of BOGOF sauces – so no idea how much garlic – Saturday from 2am onwards piercing migraine and deadly nausea.
    At daybreak, forced myself to go walking in fresh air, a can of ginger beer helped the nausea a bit, branded paracetemol and ibuprofen migraine cure at £7+ no help.
    Sunglasses did most good – even when cloudy, or indoors.
    On way home popped into health food shop, bought some feverfew, popped a couple with some strong beer in pub – tactic was to drink a few so as to ensure a deep slumber – feverfew shaved about 20% off of migraine.
    Waiting for bus, people complaining how cold it was (about 3C), I’d had my coat open all day and was giving out heat like a furnace.
    Sleep was so deep that I missed Brighton beating Newcastle in FA cup – shows how much I needed to close my eyes.
    Now two days later and still have slight headache.
    I love garlic, but I won’t eat it knowingly any more.

  18. Johnny Rocko said at 3:38 am on February 9th, 2012:

    To reduce the chance of a galic induced headache cut the garlic in half lengthways, take out and discard the green(ish) central root. Use as normal but do not let the garlic burn.

  19. michelle said at 6:46 pm on February 15th, 2012:

    My head is throbbing! Thanks garlic, I know it was you!!!

  20. Tina said at 12:15 am on February 17th, 2012:

    I love Garlic and suffer from Migraines!! I am in denial that its actually the garlic!! I get a 3 day migraine if I eat garlic dishes from a restaurant… not sure why I am convinced it a persavative used with the garlic. Usually if I taste it the next day I will get a migraine. But when I use fresh garlic, or the minced garlic in a jar, or the garlic salt at home… problems. I have been trying to find out what chemicals/ingrediant they use but no luck! my migraines last a full 3 days yet I can’t not eat garlic. I sprinkle it on everything!!

  21. Lynn said at 10:27 pm on March 8th, 2012:

    OMG I get terrible headaches all the time. I just have to sleep for two days. I was thinking it was pre-menopausal or something. I was really trying to track it, take health food supplements, just trying everything. Now tonight my husband made spaghetti with a ton of garlic in it. I still keep tasting it. And go figure a major headache is coming on. Oh man, I can’t sleep for the next two days, I’m too far behind at work. Yikes. At least now I know what might be causing these headaches. Thanks everyone!

  22. Harley said at 1:53 am on March 9th, 2012:

    I Love garlic but it gives me horrible migraines when I eat an overload when I’m trying to cleans or fight a virus. In moderation its fine

  23. Shawn said at 5:38 pm on April 7th, 2012:

    I guess this is the answer to my little problem. So from now on don’t eat too much of it with my steak and it should be ok, I hope! I love the taste of garlic, but I do not love the headaches that almost always seem to appear after eating it in large quantities. Thank goodness for the internet.

  24. Prettygirl Box said at 3:37 pm on April 10th, 2012:

    So glad to know what has caused these terrible headaches…….garlic!! I will miss you, but the headaches has to gooooo!

  25. Elise said at 11:50 am on May 18th, 2012:

    I’ve been so ill for years and always ate raw garlic but it was after a sandwich laced with raw garlic that I made the connection. I went down on this occaision, was flat out ill in bed, peircing pain, nausea and even glandular pain but so happy that I know what it’s caused by now!

  26. Sue said at 12:18 pm on May 28th, 2012:

    Did you know that Garlic and Onions produce sulphites naturally. Sulphites are found in so many foods, wines, fresh fruits and veggies, canned foods, sauces, pkg foods etc.
    Maybe this is the culprit; you are suffering from a sulphite sensitivity (allergy). It’s worth looking into….

  27. db05 said at 11:35 pm on July 17th, 2012:

    I’m with you Tina on the garlic and preservative, my worst headaches seem to be processed foods that contain garlic puree, that seems to be the real trouble-maker for me, and I guess garlic puree has a preservative in it. The garlic puree gives me headaches so severe they make me nauseous.
    Unfortunately fresh garlic is also a culprit, I’m currently in China and every meal is laced with garlic (which I love) but it’s just no good for my head!!

  28. dehdeh said at 9:42 am on September 19th, 2012:

    My blood pressue medication ran out so I’ve been substituting with swallowing half clove of raw garlic per day. It has helped with lowering my blood pressure but in turn has been giving me huge headaches. I blamed my daughter for aggravating my headaches (but it was the garlic). I’m so glad I found this site. The garlic also aggravated my acne making it flare up just asif I was 13 again (I’m 53).

  29. Brian said at 5:29 am on September 29th, 2012:

    My Mother has complained of garlic sensitivity for years. At 55, I’ve been getting headaches from garlic these past three years. It lasts from 1 to 3 days depending on how quickly I recognize it and clean up my diet. Excedrin helps but a healthy bowel movement helps most of all. Good Luck!

  30. Hilary said at 11:42 pm on October 1st, 2012:

    Thanks for all the above comments, it confirmed all the things I knew really. I have had migraines all my life and ‘suffered ‘them despite various treatments over the many years. I was on toparamate twice daily for many years which affected my circulation but was still get the attacks on a regular basis. Used zomig as a desperate measure. Was getting attacks twice weekly so came off Toparamate. Cut out caffeine all together. No tea, coffee, chocolate etc plus garlic because it was making me feel sick. For the first time in my life NO MIGRAINE. Have been this way for a year now apart from 2 attacks, both after eating a takeaway curry. So can only assume it was the garlic which I dont use when I make curry at home. Life is so much better now, even if it did take me fifty years to find out why.

  31. stacie said at 2:41 pm on October 10th, 2012:

    Maybe it’s because it is detoxifying the body. Anytime you are getting rid of toxins in the body you usually will get a headache or sick. Just like coming off pain meds when the toxins leave the body you feel like crap. Garlic is a powerful blood cleanser.

  32. Selwyn said at 3:50 pm on November 5th, 2012:

    I’m the great age of 70 now and have suffered from migraines for 65 years!!! Doctors were not even calling these headaches “migraines” for most of those years. Like most of you, I have been through all kinds of treatments, but Imitrex has helped a lot since being on the market. Onions, garlic, alcohol, and barometric pressure changes are triggers for me—weather changes can’t be controlled, but I try to avoid ALL of the normal food triggers. Mrs. Dash on list now for me. Will try a few cooked onions as a test and see what happens.

  33. Jeannine said at 12:00 pm on January 18th, 2013:

    Did you know that garlic will sometimes cause a methane buildup in the body which then causes the the systolic contractions of the lower intestines…which compounds it even more.If you feel dead down there sometimes…It’s likely the garlic and all “night shades “check out oxalic acid sensitivities also….my headaches are tame now

  34. Jeannine said at 12:01 pm on January 18th, 2013:

    Correction to my previous post……Stops the contractions of the small intestines….sorry

  35. mihow said at 12:03 pm on January 18th, 2013:

    Don’t be sorry! Thanks for info!

  36. Johnny said at 4:24 am on January 21st, 2013:

    I had this headache after eating a large quantity of garlic. I still eat garlic now after I lowered the quantity / frequency of when I ate it and yet I can still get all the wonderful health benefits while enjoying garlic too. As too much of anything is not good for your body. I hope that this helps out, Good Luck !

  37. Alan said at 3:32 pm on February 16th, 2013:

    My wife suffered from migraines and they always came on after eating a meal, so we narrowed it down to garlic. It would be garlic!! Just about everything has garlic in it. Occasionally she will eat something with garlic in the ingredients by mistake, and within five minutes or so she will get a migraine.

  38. Julia said at 8:39 pm on February 16th, 2013:

    I had been eating garlic in my food for years, although it wasn’t an excessive amount. I moved to canada, and for 2 years I was suffering from terrible headaches that would sometimes last for 3-4 days, easing off a little & then getting unbarable again. After my Doctor trying many things, he suggested that I could be allergic to something….It only took 2 more headaches before I dicovered what it was……garlic. Almost everything we eat contains a small amount of garlic, so my problem was because I was fueling it with almost every meal. At first it would take about 20 mins to react on me but now it’s instant. I get a tingling in my left temple & if I don’t take a tablet straight away, I will have a migrane for a couple of days. Apparantly, it sets a valve off in your brain, & once that valve opens, it has to run it’s cause. My Doctor gave me Zantac, but they cost me $97 for 6 tablets. I now take 2 or sometimes 3 liquid Advil 500, & it does the trick. I have to remember to take 1 every 4 hours afterwards otherwise the migrane comes & it runs until it’s out of my system. Only problem is, it makes me feel a bit shitty for a few days but anything is better than the migrane. As long as I avoid garlic, I’m ok…..but there are times when I get caught out….not fun at all, I sympathize with anyone who is allergic.

  39. D Nicolazzo said at 11:28 pm on March 7th, 2013:

    I just found that the garlic is doing the same thing to me and the headaches. It sucks cause I’m trying to eat it for my health. It was just hot water and garlic, cayenne, and ginger and it def got the blood pumping !

  40. Jenina said at 11:04 am on March 8th, 2013:

    I have come up with a help for my garlic headaches!!! First, try not to eat it! But, if it is not possible and it finds its way into your meal–drink several large glasses of water afterwards. Usually a garlicky meal would be at dinner time–and I would mind myself with a hella migraine the next day. Drink 6-8 glasses of water before you go to sleep and it will flush the garlic’s staying power out of your system and you’ll feel unaffected in the morning :) I have been a garlic headache sufferer for years and this has helped in a big way! Pass it on!

  41. Jerry said at 6:11 pm on March 14th, 2013:

    Well i love garlic too but after about an hour and a half post consumption i get a headache.

  42. joyce said at 6:00 pm on April 12th, 2013:

    Im so glad I read these comments. I thought I was crazy… Just ate garlic yesterday and wa laid up for 24 hours I woke up with garlic fire breadth Im NOT going to eat it UNLESS tey get a solution

  43. anonymous said at 4:38 pm on April 16th, 2013:

    1. Found a great new Thai restaurant… ate there for 3 dinners straight ->Garlic Pepper Chicken.
    2. Wife brings home a fresh juice drink from Whole Foods to try ->Garlic something or other. Drank the whole thing myself.
    3. Tried an alternate Thai restaurant… ->tried their Garlic Pepper Chicken…

    This was all within 5 days. Yesterday I had a migraine + severe nausea. Today I still do. Can’t eat anything, only drinking tons and tons of water. I think I had way too much garlic for a short amount of time and now I feel poisoned.

  44. Gordon Watters said at 3:43 pm on April 18th, 2013:

    Thank you all. Many years ago I seem to recall I had issues from MSG & Garlic so it kept my distance. Almost 2 years ago I started to get a headache every week and it stays for 12-16 hours. Let me tell you I have visited everyone from naturopaths to neuro-surgeons. Yes it might be garlic. I have a headache now and yep I had hummus last night. Breathing exercises do help especially focussing on long exhalation. Getting it out of my system somehow. After reading the posts I think I might have finally found the cause. Thank You

  45. tru3l33 said at 10:57 pm on June 8th, 2013:

    just did a test to see if it was the garlic giving me headaches, I had a beautiful spaghetti dinner with garlic bread and I suppose you’re right!! my head is pounding and feeling some nausea from the head ache… now i’m in trouble cause i’m always using garlic.

  46. Char said at 10:40 am on December 1st, 2013:

    Just had some raw garlic mixed in with butter on some vegetables and now have a bad pain on the left side of my head. I’d never heard of garlic causing headaches before but I sorta instinctively knew it was the garlic, it was the only thing different I did today.

  47. kevin brown said at 3:47 pm on December 14th, 2013:

    l can’t stand the smell of garlic. whenever I smell it from someone’s breath I immediately get an instant headache and feel sick. anyone out there like me?

  48. Gaby said at 1:58 pm on January 4th, 2014:

    Now I know it’s not in my head, well except for the strong headache! I started taking more garlic to fight yeast infections, 2 fresh cloves minced or chopped. I noticed that if I ate by itself I’d get major headache for 2 days. I now eat less than 1 clove but HAVE to eat it with big meal (eat in between my lunch, not at the beginning or not when I am done – strange but true)…noticed I don’t react if I follow this procedure. I do same for the Kyolic extract but this is less potent for me. I noticed that decreasing the amount helps, well in raw form at least. Onions not fully cooked plus raw garlic in one day makes me break out in a migraine!! Not fun. Thank you for your posts folks!! Now I don’t feel so alone and crazy.

  49. jayson said at 8:57 pm on January 5th, 2014:

    I feel so stupid now after reading this forum. I kept taking/eating a ton of raw garlic because I thought it’d help get rid of this headache I’ve been having for weeks! LoL. Maybe fight fire with fire? :)

  50. Debbie said at 4:17 am on January 8th, 2014:

    I sometimes call it the Garlic Hangover. I often get a nasty sickly headache the morning after eating garlic, and I also suffer chronic headaches for about 75% of the time (possibly hormonal). However, its hit and miss, because sometimes I can get away with eating garlic, yum yum, and get no headache. Must be another factor at play.
    Does anyone believe that you can prolongue a headache by taking painkilkers for too long, apparently brought on by a sort of withdrawal!? Ive been pondering this, with my head pounding in my hands!

  51. Alfredo said at 12:33 pm on January 21st, 2014:


    I started taking a garlic supplement, 400mg per day. I didn’t consult a doctor just started taking it because I have genital warts and supposedly the garlic kills it within your system. Anyways at first I didn’t get headaches, but it’s been more than 2 months of taking it and I’m suffering from migraines especially from the left side and also my eyes were hurting, a pain similar to sinus blockage.

    I also suffer from sinusal blockage, last year I just recovered and also experiencing a similar kind of forehead pain but now my nasals are clean. I’ve just stopped taking the supplement today, I’ll update back my progression if the garlic is the culprit I should no longer suffer from headaches.

  52. Sharon said at 6:34 pm on August 24th, 2014:

    I started taking a garlic supplement three times a day to lower my blood pressure. I just realized that since i’ve started doing this i have a headache every day. Now since reading all these blogs I think garlic is the problem, will stop starting tomorrow and see what happens.

  53. Grecia Ibarcena said at 1:32 pm on September 4th, 2014:

    I just love Internet! And all of the people who takes a little bit of time to post an aswer, you are the real doctors! I was just looking for an answer to my latest headache problems, and found this page right away. All the same symptoms, headache and acne for eating too much garlic im the last days. Thank you indeed.

  54. goodness said at 10:14 am on September 26th, 2014:

    I Started eating garlic a week ago because of how good it is and I’ve been having a severe headache for 3days now, been wondering what’s wrong with me until I found out this page…i really feel sick and i never knew garlic could cause such pain as well. Thanks guys for all the info. You guys Rock!!!

  55. Maxine said at 9:15 am on October 14th, 2014:

    I have suffered since my teens with migraines (now 46yrs) hormonal mainly but in recent years really adversely affected by weather changes. I have always been aware Chinese food causes a reaction within a few hours…bloating, increased body temperature, extreme mood swings and next day headache/migraine. I put it down to MSG’s.. When I lodged at univ the landlady was Italian and every meal laced with garlic, I often felt really sick and suffered terrible headaches which decreased on moving out. In recent years I have become more interested in cooking and have been using more garlic and garlic salt to enhance flavour…migraines are weekly. my boyfriend suggested garlic may be the cause…I had never read garlic was a food trigger until now…foods containing garlic flavourings / purée seem to have the most impact. thanks to you all for posting, I am going to try and avoid garlic as far as poss.

  56. demlshn said at 8:51 pm on October 15th, 2014:

    I say “ditto” to the author of the post two entries back. This thread originally began almost 12 yrs ago. And its still helping people, such as myself. I too am suffering from a pounding headache caused by a garlic filled dinner last night. And im just not ready to cut garlic out of my diet yet. Im wondering if anyone has some more ideas on how to avoid the headache, and still eat the garlic. Keep the ideas coming. And thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences. Knowledge is power

  57. vanessa said at 10:45 pm on October 28th, 2014:

    Been eating garlic for 5 days straight because I am attempting to cleanse the body. Well, I ate the cloves raw and with no food and I also blended into a nutritional smoothie. Yesterday I had pain behind left eye and today ice pick headaches near temple! Great! So, I am going to drink water until it is out! Next time will only eat garlic three days apart. I can feel a slight tingly sensation in pores and I assume it is the garlic……….

  58. Tayo said at 5:23 pm on October 29th, 2014:

    Just wanted to add my two pence worth. Garlic in any form causes severe migraines for me-the kind that can’t even be cured with Ibruprofen and Codeine! Once set the pain had to ride it’s course. I have the same reaction with powdered Garlic which I was taking as a natural antibiotic and anti parasitic or Garlic in processed food. I tried to drink a clove in water but to be honest I am too scared to try that again. I also notice a swelling in my throat so I reckon my case is extreme but I know I have severe leaky gut which is the cause of most allergies and intolorences but it’s now not even worth it for me. Never again/

  59. Catherine said at 12:43 pm on April 12th, 2015:

    Its true that garlic consumtion caurses migraine headaches .The many times hve taken garlic juice as an anti-fungal, or as remedy for colds &flu, I have usually had a very strong headaches.

  60. Nesbert said at 9:44 pm on April 27th, 2015:

    Thanks to everyone who took time to post
    i have been having a terible headache ever since i started taking raw garlic
    but i dont seem to have the same efect if i take it in a cooked meal

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