Medicinal virtues of Garlic - Africa Green Magazine

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Medicinal virtues of Garlic

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Medicinal virtues of Garlic


Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. It is a bulbous plant that grows up to 1.2 m in height. Garlic grows in many parts of the world, it is easy to grow and can be grown in mild climates. There are different types or subspecies of garlic; each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove and there are about ten to twenty cloves in a single bulb. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) has acquired a reputation in different traditions as a prophylactic (intended to prevent diseases) as well as therapeutic medicinal plant.

A scientific article edited by Leyla Bayan, Peir Hossain Koulivand, and Ali Gorji, titled “Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects”, indicates that there is appreciable epidemiologic evidence that demonstrates therapeutic and preventive roles for garlic. Several experimental and clinical investigations suggest many favorable effects of garlic and its preparations largely attributed to; reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases; reduction of cancer risk; antioxidant effect; antimicrobial effect; and enhancement of detoxification foreign compound and hepatic protection. The wealth of scientific literature supports the proposal that garlic consumption have significant effects on lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity.

Many in vitro and in vivo studies have suggested possible cancer-preventive effects of garlic preparations and their respective constituents. Garlic has been found to contain a large number of potent bioactive compounds with anticancer properties, largely allyl sulfide derivatives. Although experimental studies demonstrated a clear hypoglycemic effect of garlic, the effect of garlic on human blood glucose is still controversial. Also, garlic can protect the liver cells from some toxic agents. Garlic has been used for centuries in various societies to combat infectious disease. Historically, it is believed that Louis Pasteur described the antibacterial effect of garlic in 1858 for the first time, although no reference is available. 

More recently, garlic has been proven to be effective against a plethora of gram-positive, gram-negative, and acid-fast bacteria. These include Salmonella (e.g. Typhoid fever, food poisoning), Escherichia coli (e.g. urinary tract infection (UTI), and traveler's diarrhea), Pseudomonas (e.g. pneumonia), Proteus (e.g. urinary tract infections), Staphylococcus aureus (e.g. pimples, impetigo, boils), Klebsiella (e.g. pneumonia, bloodstream infections, meningitis), Micrococcus (e.g. keratolysis and septic arthritis), Bacillus subtulis (e.g. bacteremia/septicemia, endocarditis, meningitis), Clostridium (e.g. tetanus), Mycobacterium (e.g. tuberculosis, leprosy), and Helicobacter (e.g. gastritis), peptic ulcer disease).

Garlic extracts were proven to be effective against a host of protozoa, several fungi, some viruses (influenza A and B, cytomegalovirus, rhinovirus, HIV, herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, viral pneumonia, and rotavirus.

Be it raw, cooked, crushed, chopped, in power or as an extract, its consumption is very beneficial health wise. Some believe it lowers bad cholesterol levels, improves brain function, promotes longevity, improves physical performance, detoxifies heavy metals, keeps bones strong, combats allergies, treats toothaches and helps with digestion. For those of us not fun of garlic, start your intake now.


By Nadia TIH

AGM

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