GARLIC (lashuna) - NATURE'S TREASURE  Author Unknown

Garlic is a wonderful drug of the herbal world. It was worshiped by the ancient Egyptians and they also fed the herb to their slaves to keep them healthy. It has remained a reputed remedy from centuries. Biologist Louis Pasteur put garlic to the test by putting cloves in a petri dish full of bacteria. Much to his surprise he observed that garlic killed the trouble some bacteria. During the world wars, before the availability of antibiotics, garlic was used to disinfectant wound and to prevent gangrene.


Botanical name of garlic is Allium sativum and it belongs to family is a perennial herb, which grows upto 70 cm, and whole fresh bulb is used in medicine. Oil is also extracted from garlic. Central Asia is considered to be the region of origin and introduced to the Mediterranean. The herb is cultivated worldwide.
Pharmacologically the herb contains compounds known as allins, which are alkylcysetine sulfoxides. In the course of cutting up of the crop, these compounds are transformed into so called alliaceous oils or allicin. The allicin is considered to be the active principle of garlic. In addition garlic also contains fructosans and saponins. The antibacterial, antimycotic and lipid lowering effects of garlic are well proven.


Garlic is used as an anticoagulant to resolve blood clots and has been shown to lower cholesterol while increasing HDLs, the so-called good cholesterol. Garlic also lowers blood pressure. In fact, according to a study, Atherosclerosis patients with hyperproteinemia took garlic, there blood pressure declined along with levels of LDL and fibrinogen. An added bonus was that anti-clotting factor levels increased, reducing the risk of blood clots.
In folk medicine, garlic is used internally for colds, coughs, whooping coughs and bronchitis. Garlic also finds application in digestive ailments with bloating and convulsive pain. Other uses include menstrual disease, diabetes, tonic, externally for corns, warts, muscle pain, arthritis, and sciatica. The use of the herb in these diseases is not documented. The drug finds application as preventative measure for old age related vascular changes.


The minced garlic preparations are used for internal and external treatment. Garlic oil is obtained as a result of steam distillation. Garlic is also used in extract form and it is obtained by treating the drug with ethanol. Aqueous extract is obtained by treating the drug with cold water. Now a day's fermented garlic is also in great demand as it is odorless and it is less prone to cause gastritis on oral intake.


No health hazards are known if used within prescribed dosage. It is not advisable to take garlic on empty stomach, as it is liable to cause gastritis due to volatile content. frequent contact with the drug leads to occasion allergic reactions. Daily dose of garlic is 4gm of the fresh form and 8mg of the garlic oil. Recently allicin, allisatin1 and allisatin2 have been proved as anti hypertensive compounds of garlic.

1] Ide N et al., Aged garlic extract and its constituents inhibit Cu++ induced oxidative modification low-density lipoproteins. In: PM 60[5]:417 1994.
2] Jain AK can garlic levels of serum lipids? In: JAMA 94:632-635.1993.
3] Koch HP, Hormonwirkungen bei Allium -Arten, In: ZPT 13[6]: 177.1992
4] Koch B, In: Koch HP, Lawson LD: Garlic-The Science and Therapeutic Application of Allium sativum L.and related Species, Williams $ Wilkins, Baltimore .1996.
5] Lawson LD, WangZJ, Pre-hepatic fate of the organosulfur compounds derived from garlic [Allium sativum]. In: PM 59[7]: A688. 1993.
6] Mutsch -Eckner M, Erdelmeier CAJ, Sticher O, A novel aminoacid glycoside and three amino acids from Allium sativum. In: JNP 56[6]: 864.1993.
7] Nagae, S et al., Pharmacokinetics of the garlic compound S-allylcystein.In: PM 60[3]: 241.1994.
8] Schulz R, Hansel R, Rationale Phytotherapie, Springer Verlag Heidelberg1996.
By - Dr Amrit Pal Singh, MD (Alternative Medicine), Medical Executive, Ind -Swift Labs.