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Garlic- Allium sativum. Garlic: The Plant and History. Garlic Plant . Garlic, Allium sativum , is a root crop (meaning the bulb grows underground) of the family Alliaceae It is among the oldest of all cultivated plants; in facts, its species name, sativum , means cultivated

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garlic plant
Garlic Plant
  • Garlic, Allium sativum, is a root crop (meaning the bulb grows underground) of the family Alliaceae
  • It is among the oldest of all cultivated plants; in facts, its species name, sativum, means cultivated
  • The leaves are long, narrow and flat like grass
  • It is a member of the same group of plants as the Onion, Chive, and Leek
garlic flower
Garlic Flower
  • The flowers are placed at the end of a stalk rising directly from the bulb, grouped together in a globular head, or umbel, with an enclosing leaf-like structure called spathae, and among them are small bulbils
  • Garlic flowers, though pretty, were rarely picked as ornament because of their strong odor
garlic bulb
Garlic Bulb
  • The bulb of Allium sativum is the only part of the plant eaten
  • It is compound in nature, consisting of numerous bulbils, known technically as cloves
  • The cloves are grouped together between the membranous scales and enclosed within a whitish skin, which holds them as in a sac
  • Originated from Central Asia, garlic have been used as a spice, food and folklore medicine for over 5000 years, and is the most widely researched medicinal plant
  • Through trade, garlic spread its popularity throughout Asia and eventually to Egypt and Europe. The Age of Exploration helped to propagate the use of garlic to other parts of the world
  • Today somewhere between 300-400 varieties of garlic cultivate worldwide. In the United States, over 250 million pounds of garlic consumed each year
medicinal history of garlic
Medicinal History of Garlic
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Islamic medicine, folklore medicine and the Ayurvedic system of medicine, several spices and herbs including garlic are described to possess medicinal properties
  • In China, garlic tea has long been recommended for fever, headache, and cholera
  • In rural Japan, miso-soup containing garlic is used as remedy for the common cold with headache, fever and sort throat
medicinal history of garlic1
Medicinal History of Garlic
  • The Egyptian medical Codex Eber papyrus dating to about 1550 B.C., includes 22 therapeutic formulations that mention garlic as an effective remedy for a variety of ailment including heart problems, headache, bites, worms and tumors
  • Dioscorides wrote of garlic ability to “clear the arteries” dated back to the first century A.D.
  • It is reported that in ancient Egypt , the workers who had to build the great pyramids were fed their daily share of garlic as a form of healthy prolongation
  • From the Roman antiquity through World War I, garlic poultices were used to prevent wound infections
medicinal history of garlic2
Medicinal History of Garlic
  • Early 1853, the famous microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, performed several original work showing that garlic could kill bacteria
  • In 1916, the British government issued a general plea for the public to supply it with garlic in order to meet wartime needs.
  • Garlic was called “Russian penicillin” during World War II because, after running out of antibiotic, the Russian government turned to this ancient treatment for its soldiers
  • After World War II, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals manufactured a garlic compound for intestinal spasms, and the Van Patten Company produced another for lowering blood pressure
common uses and benefits of garlic consumption
Common cold prevention

Heart disease prevention


Antimicrobial activities

Insect repellent

Anticancer effects

Strengthen Immune System

Vaginal Infections

Antioxidant effects

Anti coagulation effects

High cholesterol


Ward off vampires(?)

Common Uses and Benefits of Garlic Consumption
common uses and benefits of garlic consumption1
Common Uses and Benefits of Garlic Consumption
  • Although many of the claimed benefits of garlic consumption date back as far in history as ancient Chinese civilizations, ancient Egyptian, and Greece and Roman, most claims are based on folklore or its use in ancient herbal medicine
  • Until relatively recently, little scientific data supported these claims; most clinical studies attempting to document scientifically the benefits of garlic consumption have been performed in the last 40 years
few compounds isolated from garlic bulbs



Allyl disulfides

Allyl sulfides

Allyl trisulfides



Cysteine sulfoxides


Diallyl sulfides

Dimethyl sulfides




Methyl sulfides







Few Compounds Isolated From Garlic Bulbs
can garlic ward off the vampires
Can Garlic Ward Off the Vampires?
  • An interesting study done in Norway in late 1994 attempted to investigate on this issue
  • Since no actual vampires were available for study, another type of bloodsucker was used instead—leeches
  • When given a choice of a hand smeared with garlic or a clean one, two thirds of the times the leeches went to the garlic
  • It take the leeches an average of 14.9 seconds to attach themselves and start sucking blood from the garlic hand while it take them 44.9 seconds on the clean one
aged garlic a potent antioxidant
Aged Garlic-A Potent Antioxidant
  • Extracts of fresh garlic that are aged over a prolonged period to produce aged garlic extract (AGE) contain antioxidant phytochemicals that prevent oxidant damage
  • Long-term extraction of garlic (up to 20 mo) ages the extract, creating antioxidant properties by modifying unstable molecules with antioxidant activity, such as allicin, and increasing stable and highly bioavailable water-soluble organosulfur compounds, such as S-allylcysteine and S-allylmercaptocysteine
aged garlic
Aged Garlic
  • Regular intake of aged garlic extract seems to reduce damage to the body caused by free radicals, according to a study published in February in the Journal of Nutrition.
  • Free radicals—atoms formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules during normal bodily processes or from exposure to pollutants
  • Linked to the development of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
aged garlic cont d
Aged Garlic cont’d
  • Smokers were distinguished from nonsmokers because they usually have elevated levels of free radical activity compared with nonsmokers
  • Smokers had 8-iso prostaglandin plasma and urine concentrations of 58 percent and 85 percent, respectively, higher than nonsmokers
  • After two weeks of use of aged garlic extract, the concentrations had decreased by 35 percent and 48 percent in smokers; 29 percent and 37 percent in nonsmokers
antioxidative property of aged garlic
In the published experiment, chemically induced light emitted from free radicals was used to measure oxidative activity, where more light shows greater oxidation and less light shows reduced oxidation. This experiment is called chemiluminescence. AGE inhibited emissions of light whereas extracts of raw and heated garlic enhanced emissions. Thus, AGE showed antioxidative activity whereas other forms of garlic showed oxidative activity. Antioxidative Property of Aged Garlic
mode of action
Mode of Action

AGE exerts antioxidant action by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS)

It inhibits lipid peroxidation, reducing ischemic damage and inhibiting oxidative modification of LDL, thus protecting endothelial cells from the injury by the oxidized molecules, which contributes to atherosclerosis

It protects DNA against free radical--mediated damage and mutations

Why does your breath and skin stink after eating garlic?

The sulfur molecules that are created when garlic is smashed or chewed are absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs and escape through exhaled air and perspiration

garlic and cholesterol
Garlic and Cholesterol
  • Overall a 12% reduction in total cholesterol was shown over a placebo after only 4 weeks treatment
  • The largest study so far was conducted in Germany where 261 patients were given either garlic powder tablets or a placebo. After 12 weeks, mean serum cholesterol level dropped by 12% and triglycerides dropped by 17% compared to the placebo group.
good for your heart maybe
Good for your Heart…maybe
  • Several other studies show anywhere from 5-13% reduction in total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels from daily garlic intake
  • Yet more studies show no significant change in any cholesterol levels from daily garlic consumption…
garlic and cancer
Garlic and Cancer
  • Ancient Egyptians, Indians, and Greeks all used garlic externally to treat tumors
  • Studies in China and Switzerland link regular garlic consumption with decreased risk for stomach and colorectal cancers
chemoprotective properties
Chemoprotective Properties
  • Induction of phase II detoxification enzymes
    • Glutathione transferases, quinone reductase, epoxide hydrolase…
  • Daily administration of garlic oil in rats significantly increased activity of cytochrome P-450 and other biotransformation enzymes
more chemoprevention
More Chemoprevention
  • Antioxidant activity = cancer prevention
  • Free radicals => lipid peroxidation => carcinogenesis and reduction of endogenous antioxidant levels
  • Garlic reduces lipid peroxidation and increases levels of vitamins C and E, superoxide dismutase, catalase, etc.
tumor growth inhibition
Tumor Growth Inhibition
  • Allicin shown to arrest leukemia cells at G2-M phase boundary
    • Similar arrest in colon cancer cells from DADS
  • Garlic extract induces apoptosis in NSCLC cells
    • Modulation of apoptosis-associated proteins?
  • Diallyl disulfide activates caspase-3 pathway in human breast cancer cells
  • Aged garlic extract stimulates native and adaptive immune responses
  • Increased natural killer (NK) activity
  • Induced release of IL-2, TNF-a, IFN-g
  • IL-2 => TH1 cell proliferation
  • TH1 cells + IFN-g => TC differentiation
  • NKs, TNF-a, and TC cells all destroy cancer cells
this just in
This just in!
  • S-allylmercaptocysteine (SAMC) binds tubulin, thereby disrupting mitosis
  • SAMC causes MT depolymerization, MT cytoskeleton disruption, centrosome fragmentation, and Golgi dispersion in interphase cells
  • Apoptosis triggered by JNK1 and caspase-3