Dietary factors play an important role in the development of various human diseases. In different cultures, there are many dietary patterns that promote human health. Despite cultural differences, there are some shared characteristics of healthy dietary patterns. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) has acquired a reputation in different traditions as a therapeutic medicinal plant. Alliin is a natural constituent of fresh garlic. Following medicinal uses have been studied and published:
Following medicinal uses have been studied and published:
1. Bacterial and Viral Conditions: Garlic fights bacteria like an antibiotic and inhibits the growth of different bacteria. One medium clove of garlic can equal the antibacterial action equivalent to penicillin.
2. Cardiovascular conditions: Garlic helps to lower and balance blood pressure, improves circulation, prevents thrombosis, decreases triglycerides, and prevents atherosclerosis.
3. Ear Conditions: Garlic oil drops can be used for earache. A combination of herbal extract containing Garlic, Calendula, Mullein flower, and St.John’s Wort is used for Otitis media, an ear infection.
4. Brain and nervous system conditions: It has been studied in neurological conditions like Epilepsy and Hysteria.
5. Gastrointestinal Conditions: Garlic is used in digestive infections. It relieves heaviness, colic, gas (flatulence), nausea, and ulcers. It also helps to get rid of intestinal parasites, especially pinworms.
6. Immune system conditions: It helps to fight infections, improves resistance to infection, increases the activity of white blood cells and other immune cells, and protects cell membranes and DNA from damage.
7. Inflammatory conditions: Garlic has been studied in Arthritis and infantile catarrh.
8. Genitourinary conditions: Urinary infections and fluid retention can be corrected by Garlic.
9. Respiratory tract infection: Garlic is used in the common cold (reduces symptoms faster), cough, and hoarseness. It inhibits the growth of bacteria in Tuberculosis. It is also used in Asthma and as a preventive measure in Influenza.
10. Metabolic conditions: Garlic helps to maintain blood sugar and is used to treat late-onset diabetes.
11. Other conditions: Garlic is also extensively studied in various types of cancer such as cancer of colon, stomach, skin, breast, throat, and prostate. Garlic is also used in oils and ointments for abscesses, arthritis, earaches, insect bites, toothache, and wounds.
People should include raw or cooked garlic in their diet. Garlic supplements are also available in the market which includes oil, powder, pills, and an extract. Similar to other food supplements, garlic too has side effects when consumed in more quantity.
Patients with major metabolic disorders or if taking any medication should not use garlic supplements without consulting with a healthcare practitioner. 2-3 garlic cloves a day are safe to consume as a part of a daily diet.
Ms. Rajkumari Sahane. M.Pharm.
The writer is Research Associate in Pharmacology and is an academician with 15 years of research & teaching experience