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Islander
09-14-09, 01:21 PM
05 Sep, 2009

Garlic has been used since time immemorial as a culinary spice and medicinal herb. Garlic has been cultivated in the Middle East for more than 5,000 years and has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The region with the largest commercial garlic production is central California. China is also a supplier of commercial garlic. The bulb is used medicinally.
See also: Garlic as food (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=3601005), Drug interactions (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=3021005)
Botanical name: Allium sativum


Historical or traditional use

Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions, including parasites (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1243003), respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. Its use in China was first mentioned in A.D. 510. Louis Pasteur studied the antibacterial action of garlic in 1858.
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/Top.gif (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&ContentID=2093008#top)


Active constituents

The sulfur compound allicin, produced by crushing or chewing fresh garlic or by taking powdered garlic products with allicin potential, in turn produces other sulfur compounds: ajoene, allyl sulfides, and vinyldithiins.1 Aged garlic products lack allicin, but may have activity due to the presence of S-allylcysteine.
Many publications have shown that garlic supports the cardiovascular system. While earlier trials suggest it may mildly lower cholesterol (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1028005) and triglyceride (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1030007) levels in the blood,2 3 4 more recent trials found garlic to have minimal success in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.5 6 7 Garlic also inhibits platelet stickiness (aggregation) and increases fibrinolysis,8 which results in a slowing of blood coagulation. It is mildly antihypertensive (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1033009)9 and has antioxidant (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=2802005) activity.10
Garlic’s cardiovascular protective effects were illustrated in a four-year clinical trial on people 50–80 years old with atherosclerosis (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1013005).11 It was found that consumption of 900 mg of a standardized garlic supplement reduced arterial plaque formation by 5–18%. The benefits were most notable in women.
In test tube studies garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.12 However, these actions are less clear in humans and do not suggest that garlic is a substitute for antibiotics (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1081002) or antifungal medications.
Human population studies suggest that eating garlic regularly reduces the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1176009).13 14 This may be partly due to garlic’s ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds.
Garlic has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Science Ratings Health Concerns http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/3Stars.gif Atherosclerosis (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1013005) Warts (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1289005) (topical application)
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/2Stars.gif BPH (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1169004) (Kastamonu Garlic) Breast-feeding support (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=3563003)
Colon cancer (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1176009) (reduces risk of stomach, esophageal, and colon cancers)
Common cold (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1192004)
High blood pressure (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1033009)
High cholesterol (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1028005)
High triglycerides (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1030007)
Intermittent claudication (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1224003)
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/1Star.gif Athlete’s foot (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1014004) Chronic candidiasis (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1186005)
Ear infections (recurrent) (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1207009)
HIV support (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1031006)
Infection (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1038000)
Parasites (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1243003)
Peptic ulcer (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1245005)
Sickle cell anemia (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1273007)
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/3Stars.gif Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/2Stars.gif Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/1Star.gif For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit. http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/Top.gif (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&ContentID=2093008#top)
How much is usually taken?

People who wish to consume garlic and have no aversion to its odor can chew from one to two whole cloves of raw garlic daily. For those who prefer it with less odor, enteric-coated tablets or capsules with approximately 1.3% allin are available. Clinical trials have used 600–900 mg (delivering approximately 5,000–6,000 mcg of allicin potential) per day in two or three divided amounts.15 16 Aged-garlic extracts have been studied in amounts ranging from 2.4–7.2 grams per day.
http://www.healthnotes.info/http/full/images/Top.gif (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&ContentID=2093008#top)

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Many people enjoy eating garlic. However, some people who are sensitive to it may experience heartburn (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1037005) and flatulence. Because of garlic’s anti-clotting properties, people taking anticoagulant drugs should check with their doctor before taking garlic.17 Those scheduled for surgery should inform their surgeon if they are taking garlic supplements. Garlic appears to be safe during pregnancy (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=1251000) and breast-feeding. In fact, two studies have shown that babies like breast milk better from mothers who eat garlic.18 19
Are there any drug interactions?
Certain medicines may interact with garlic. Refer to drug interactions (http://www.naturalmedicine.com/healthnotes.php?org=nmr&productid=16&ContentID=3021005) for a list of those medicines.
More Sources

Alternative medicine has been touting the health benefits of garlic for centuries, from its anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, to its positive effects on the cardiovascular system
Now US researchers say they have figured out precisely why the pungent clove makes such a valuable health tonic: it boosts the body’s own production of a compound that relaxes blood vessels, increases blood flow, and prevents blood clots and oxidative damage.
Read more at Physorg.com (http://www.physorg.com/news111690272.html)
Folk Remedies
Using garlic will help in the prevention of heart attack and strokes, it lowers both cholesterol and blood sugar levels and will reduce the risk of blood clots. It has been shown to help in preventing the occurrence of a second heart attack by 50%!In lowering cholesterol, it will emulsify the cholesterol and remove it from the walls of the arteries. Studies prove that the regular consumption of garlic reduces the risks of getting stomach, colon, bladder, skin, esophageal and breast cancers. Garlic is known to be useful in treating both kidney and bladder infections.
Diabetics can benefit from garlic’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. It will also enhance the bodies production of insulin.
Raw, crushed garlic cloves provide a more potent anti-biotic than penicillin. It can be used to treat many infections, such as yeast, bacterial and fungal infections and strep throat, as well as ear infections.

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