Allium sativum L. (Amaryllidaceae)

  • Shahid AkbarEmail author


The Ebers papyrus mentions external application of garlic for indurations. Hippocrates prescribed eating garlic as treatment for uterine tumors, and Dioscorides as official physician of the Roman army specified garlic for intestinal and lung disorders occurring among Roman troops in Asia. A preparation of garlic and vinegar known as the Four Thieves was credited with protecting citizens of Marseilles when plague struck in 1722. Louis Pasteur reported antibacterial activity of garlic in 1858. The Hindus consider it to be tonic, hot, digestive, aperients, cholagogue, and alterative; useful in cough, and phlegmatic affections, fever, swellings, gonorrhea, piles, leprosy, colic, rheumatism and worms. In the Raja Nirgantha it is described under the name of Rasona, and bears many synonyms indicative of its properties, such as Ugra-gandha (strong smelling), Mahanshadha (panacea), and Bhuta-ghna (destroying demons), and Lasuna. Epidemiological studies indicate that consumption of garlic is inversely associated with cancer risk. In Chinese medicine, garlic, known as Dasuan, is credited as vital-energy-stimulant, spleen- and stomach-warming, digestant, anti-inflammatory, detoxicant, and anthelmintic. Sulfur-containing compounds, the odoriferous substances in garlic are principally made of diallyl disulphide, together with smaller quantities of diallyl trisulphide and diallyl polysulphide. Allin serves as the precursor of alliin, allicin, diallylsulphide and ajoene. When garlic bulb is crushed, alliin present in fresh garlic is converted by the enzyme alliin lyase or alliinase into allicin. Allicin and diallyl disulphide combine to form ajoene, the diallyl disulphide being formed from allicin by heat. Allicin, a water-soluble substance, is responsible for the strong characteristic odor of garlic, is the major potent platelet antiaggregator, and is active against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, as well as against acid fast organisms. Garlic extracts have shown anticancer, antiatherogenic, antibacterial, blood cholesterol lowering, fibrinolytic, and platelet antiaggregation activities. Garlic oil inhibits human platelet aggregation by interfering with TXB2 synthesis. Meta-analyses of clinical studies agree that garlic supplementation, especially aged garlic, reduces both SBP and DBP in hypertensive patients, reduces TC and LDL-C, decreases platelet aggregation, prevents LPO of oxidized erythrocytes and LDL, increases antioxidant status, stimulates immune system, and exhibits anticancer activity.


Ail blanc Duk Garlic Hvidløg Knoblauch Knoflook Lehsun Rasona Suàn Thome 


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  1. 1.StocktonUSA

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