Garlic : 12 Medicinal and Healing Quality

Garlic : 12 Medicinal and Healing Quality


Garlic, a widely cultivated Allium plant rich in sulfur compounds, stands out for its medicinal properties. Throughout history, humans have turned to natural plant-based compounds to enrich foods. Diet greatly impacts our health, with various cultures advocating different eating habits that share common elements.

Its compounds—allicin, diallyl disulfide, and others—give garlic therapeutic benefits. Whether raw or processed, garlic offers diverse chemical compositions and bioactive levels, long recognized for its healing properties.

Garlic : 12 Medicinal and Healing Quality

In modern society, garlic finds multiple therapeutic applications, prompting scientists across disciplines to delve into its medicinal potential. Researchers are particularly intrigued by its broad-spectrum therapeutic effects coupled with low toxicity. Garlic extracts showcase antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Several studies have praised garlic’s chemical components for their efficacy in treating cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and high cholesterol levels. Hence, this study scrutinizes not only the nutritional makeup and medicinal utilities of garlic but also its promising prospects in drug development.

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Nutritional Quality of Garlic

Garlic, a staple spice in the food industry, contributes significantly to nutritional values. Alongside its distinct flavor, garlic packs essential nutrients like sugar, protein, fat, vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, iodine, fiber, and silicon. Its culinary use as a condiment, utilizing both the green tops and bulbs, enhances dish flavors and aids digestion. Highly favored in luxurious kitchens worldwide, garlic not only elevates taste but also enriches meals with minerals, vitamins, and health-promoting components.

Therapeutic Quality of Garlic

Garlic, owing to its active component allicin and derivatives, has a long history as a medicinal remedy for various ailments. It’s been used to address a wide spectrum of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and several cancers including colon, rectal, stomach, breast, prostate, bladder, and lung cancers. Additionally, it’s employed in managing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, allergies, digestive issues, infections, and to bolster immunity.

The plant’s therapeutic properties extend to treating fever, cough, headaches, abdominal pain, sinus congestion, rheumatism, asthma, and various other health concerns. Garlic cloves possess qualities like cholesterol regulation, blood pressure management, antimicrobial effects, anticancer potential, and aid in addressing conditions like asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, and skin disorders. Moreover, garlic exhibits antibacterial, anthelmintic, diuretic, digestive, and liver-protective properties, along with antioxidant and radiation-protective capabilities.

Antidiabetic Quality of Garlic

Garlic extract has exhibited remarkable effects in studies involving diabetic mice, notably in reducing various markers associated with diabetes. It notably decreased serum glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, urea, uric acid, as well as levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase—both indicators of liver health—while concurrently elevating serum insulin levels.

Furthermore, in experiments involving diabetic rabbits, rats, and mice induced with STZ (streptozotocin) or alloxan, garlic extract consistently showcased its ability to lower serum glucose levels. This consistent effectiveness across different animal models points to the potential therapeutic benefits of garlic in managing diabetes.

The pivotal compounds responsible for these antidiabetic effects in garlic are its volatile sulfur components. These elements play a crucial role in mediating the impact of garlic on glucose regulation and metabolic parameters. Beyond just lowering glucose levels, garlic has also demonstrated its potential in addressing insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes management. This multifaceted action underscores the promising role of garlic in the realm of diabetes research and potential therapeutic applications.

Antioxidant Quality of Garlic

Garlic contains compounds like diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), s-ethylcysteine (SEC), and n-acetylcysteine (NAC) that exhibit antioxidant properties. These compounds have been observed to protect against lipid-related oxidation by stimulating the activity of antioxidant enzymes.

Rich in antioxidants, garlic plays a significant role in neutralizing free radicals that can harm cell membranes and DNA, ultimately contributing to the aging process. By combating these free radicals, garlic helps safeguard cellular structures and genetic material from damage, potentially slowing down the aging effects on the body.

Hepatoprotective Quality of Garlic

Garlic possesses antioxidant properties that show potential in aiding the treatment of liver-related conditions induced by alcohol consumption, although its efficacy in this regard may be limited. Markers indicating liver function and health, such as ALT (Alanine transaminase), AST (Aspartate transaminase) and ALP (Alkaline phosphatase) enzymes, were influenced in studies involving garlic administration.

In experiments where lead was administered, it led to a notable increase in plasma ALT and ALP activities while reducing plasma AST activity. However, garlic intake significantly decreased ALT and ALP activities while increasing AST activity. In rat studies, both aged garlic and garlic diallyl sulfur compounds demonstrated protective effects against liver damage caused by certain chemicals. Additionally, aged-garlic extracts were found to mitigate the effects of aflatoxin B1 mutagenesis, reducing the production and activation of liver carcinogenic nitrosamines.

Anti-inflammatory Quality of Garlic

The anti-inflammatory effects observed were linked to a decrease in the expression and generation of proinflammatory cytokines like TNF (Tumfactor-alpha factor alpha) and IL-1 (Interleukin-1). This reduction in proinflammatory cytokines can be attributed to the presence of bioactive components found in garlic.

Compounds like diallyl sulfide, known for inhibiting TNF and IL-1 secretion, and allyl methyl sulfide, which stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10, are believed to be responsible for regulating the levels of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the colon when treated with garlic oil.

Cardiovascular Quality of Garlic

Consuming garlic yields various cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure, hindering atherosclerosis, reducing serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and suppressing platelet aggregation. Additionally, garlic enhances fibrinolytic activity, among other positive effects.

Garlic’s impact on cardiovascular health stems from its ability to inhibit the formation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA, ultimately lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have indicated that garlic diminishes LDL oxidation, arterial plaque development, and platelet aggregation. It also contributes to decreasing homocysteine levels, blood pressure, and enhancing microcirculation, all vital aspects in managing diabetes.

Furthermore, garlic exhibits potential in preventing cognitive decline by shielding neurons from neurotoxicity and apoptosis, which plays a role in averting conditions like ischemia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Additionally, it aids in preventing neuronal death while bolstering learning and memory retention.

Hyperlipidemia Quality of Garlic

Garlic demonstrated its ability to hinder liver fat production and enzymes responsible for cholesterol synthesis like malic acid synthetase, fatty acid synthetase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase.

Studies conducted in vitro indicate that water-soluble organosulfur compounds such as S-allyl cysteine (SAC) in mature garlic extract and diallyl disulfide (DADS) in garlic oil effectively inhibit cholesterol formation. These compounds play a role in reducing plaque formation by lowering cholesterol and decreasing lipid peroxidation.

Furthermore, in vitro investigations suggest that garlic can suppress low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and increase their resistance to oxidation, contributing to potential benefits in preventing plaque buildup.

Antibacterial Quality of Garlic

Garlic extract displays inhibitory effects on various types of bacteria, including both Gram-positive and Gram-negative strains such as Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Micrococcus, Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Lactobacillus, Pseudomonas, Shigella, Salmonella, Proteus, and Helicobacter pylori.

The active component responsible for this inhibition in garlic extracts is allicin, which is activated by enzymes like alliinase.

Antiviral Quality of Garlic

Garlic and its sulfur compounds have demonstrated effectiveness against various viruses including coxsackievirus spp., herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, influenza B, parainfluenza virus type 3, vaccinia virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1, and human rhinovirus type 2.

In terms of their virucidal effects, the sequence generally observed was: ajoene > allicin > allyl methyl thiosulfinate > methyl allyl thiosulfinate > methyl allyl.

Antifungal Quality of Garlic

Both the water-based garlic extract and the concentrated garlic oil exhibited inhibitory effects against Aspergillus. Allicin, a component of garlic, demonstrated fungicidal effects against various yeasts and fungi, including Candida albicans, Cryptococcus trichophyton, Histoplasma capsulatum, and Cryptococcus neoformans. Garlic has demonstrated the ability to impede the growth of fungal diseases.

Anticancer Quality of Garlic

The research investigated garlic’s impact on cell lines associated with leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma. Allyl sulfides contribute to garlic’s distinct flavor. These compounds have shown in experimental studies to inhibit both the initial and promotional stages of tumorous growth in various cancers.

Interestingly, individuals who consumed higher quantities of garlic exhibited a 54% lower risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those consuming less garlic. Various forms of garlic supplements, including fresh garlic extract, aged garlic, garlic oil, and different organosulfur compounds derived from garlic, have demonstrated potential in preventing cancer. This preventive effect is attributed to the presence of organosulfur compounds in garlic.

Studies have revealed that aged garlic extract exhibits free radical scavenging activity, unlike fresh garlic extract. Components like S-allyl cysteine and S-allyl mercapto-L-cysteine, prevalent in aged garlic, display significant free radical scavenging abilities. Moreover, multiple organosulfur compounds derived from garlic, including acetylcysteine, have demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of chemically induced and transplantable cancers in various animal studies.


Garlic’s primary active component, allicin, and its derivatives hold substantial nutritional and medicinal value globally. It serves as a plentiful and safe source of biologically active compounds with low toxicity. Throughout history, all parts of the garlic plant have found use in various culinary dishes like sausages and salads, as well as in traditional medicine. The plant’s therapeutic advantages stem from its rich concentration of sulfur compounds. Hence, further pharmacological research is necessary to fully understand and harness its potential in enhancing human health.

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