Allium sativum. Family: Liliaceae
Garlic consists of fresh or dried bulbs of the botanical plant Allium sativum, which is cultivated worldwide. The bulb or clove is the part of the plant most commonly used, but sometimes garlic oil is used. Garlic is best stored hung in plaits in a dry place.
Garlic contains alliin, which, when ground, produces the strong-smelling, potent antibacterial agent allicin. In addition to its supposed antibacterial properties, garlic is claimed to provide protection against atherosclerosis and stroke because of its ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and decrease high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Medically Valid Uses:
Currently, there is no documented valid medical use for garlic.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.
Garlic contains allicin, a potent antibiotic that is released when cloves are crushed or chewed. Garlic has been used as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. It is claimed to help the body resist or destroy viruses and other microorganisms by enhancing the body's immune system. It may inhibit platelet aggregation; prolong bleeding time, enhancing fibrinolytic activity.; and reduce blood pressure (antihypertensive).
Garlic is also claimed to fight infection, as well as build up strength. It has been used to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Garlic may help treat chronic bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, recurrent colds and respiratory infections, chronic episodes of earache, sore throat, sinus problems and influenza. Garlic is thought to be useful in treating yeast infections and intestinal worms, and to have laxative properties.
Garlic is available fresh, dried in capsule form (enteric-coated capsules are easiest for the body to absorb), as an extract and as odorless supplements. The quality of commercial preparations varies greatly.
Normal dosage is 4 g of fresh garlic or 8 mg of essential oil per day (equivalent to 1 fresh clove daily), or as directed on the label.
Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:
Garlic has a strong taste and odor, and raw garlic can cause stomach or intestinal upset in some people. Odorless garlic supplements eliminate offending taste and odor and may reduce or eliminate gastrointestinal upset. Some people are allergic to garlic. When taken in large amounts, garlic may have toxic effects, causing stomach ulcers and anemia.
There are no known significant food or drug interactions associated with garlic.
Click here for a list of reputable Web sites with general information on nutrition.
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