Allium sativum. Family: Liliaceae
Garlic consists of fresh or dried
bulbs of the botanical plant Allium sativum. It’s cultivated worldwide. The bulb or
clove is the part of the plant that’s used most often. But sometimes garlic oil is used.
Garlic is best stored hung in a dry place.
Garlic contains alliin. When this
is ground, it makes the strong-smelling, potent antibacterial agent allicin. Garlic may
have antibacterial effects. It’s also said to protect against atherosclerosis and
stroke. This is because it keeps platelets from sticking together. It may also lower
high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Medically valid uses
Garlic decreases the ability of blood platelets to form clots.
Some animal studies suggest that garlic may improve insulin release in people with diabetes. But there is no evidence to support this effect in humans.
Other studies show that garlic may improve the elasticity of the aorta. It may also keep atherosclerotic plaque from forming.
There is some evidence that says
garlic can slightly lower cholesterol levels. But recent research done by the National
Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that garlic had no effect on
Some research shows that taking
garlic by mouth can modestly reduce blood pressure. This effect was seen in people with
high blood pressure. It was also seen in people with normal blood pressure. The evidence
that it reduces high blood pressure is not strong.
There may be benefits that have not
yet been proven through research.
Some reports suggest that garlic may help prevent or treat cancer
Garlic contains allicin. This is a
strong antibiotic. It’s released when cloves are crushed or chewed. Garlic has been used
as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. It may help the body resist or
destroy viruses and other microorganisms. It does this by boosting the immune
Garlic is also claimed to fight
infections. It may also build up strength. Garlic may also have laxative effects.
Garlic may also help treat these
Garlic is available fresh or dried
in oral capsule form. The enteric-coated capsules are easiest for the body to absorb. It
also comes as an extract and as odorless supplements. The quality of commercial forms of
garlic varies a lot.
Use garlic exactly as directed on
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Garlic has a strong taste and odor.
Raw garlic can cause stomach upset in some people. Odorless garlic supplements get rid
of the strong taste and odor. They may also reduce stomach upset.
Some people are allergic to garlic. When taken in large amounts, garlic may cause side effects. These include causing stomach ulcers and anemia.
Garlic can interact with certain
medicines. Using supplements of garlic that contain allicin for a long time may
decrease how well saquinavir (a medicine used to treat HIV) works. If you’re taking this
medicine, talk with your healthcare provider before using garlic. Be careful when taking
blood thinner medicines, because garlic may increase the risk of bleeding.