Shown in scientific studies to maintain healthy cholesterol, lower blood pressure levels, kill bacteria, and to be toxic to some types of cancer cells.
Garlic has long been used in many cultures for infections. Louis Pasteur discovered garlic's bacteria killing capacity. In Russia it was called "Russian penicillin" because of its effective use in killing bacterial infections. Today, through research, garlic is best known for its ability to lower serum cholesterol and its support of cardiovascular health. The compound alliin and the enzyme alliinase react to form allicin - the most important biologically active sulfur compound responsible for garlic's health benefits. Recent studies have shown Garlic may reduce the clotting activity of blood platelets. Some studies have indicated that garlic is toxic to some cancer cells. In China, garlic is used to rid the body of intestinal worms and to prevent and treat the Flu. It also has a beneficial, expectorant effect on the lungs and is used for bronchial and pulmonary infections.
Garlic is perhaps best known for promoting normal cholesterol levels by raising HDL (the good cholesterol), lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) and reducing triglycerides. The health benefits of garlic are attributed to the compound Allicin (produced once garlic is taken into the body).
1. Tyler VE, Foster S: Herbs and phytomedicinal products, in Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs, ed 11. Washington, American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996, pp 695-713.
2. Foster S: Herbal medicine: An introduction for pharmacists. NARD J 10:127-144, 1996.
3. Brown DJ, Foster S: Phytotherapy: Herbal medicine meets clinical science: Part II. America's Pharmacist 6:31-48, 1997.
4. Tyler VE: What pharmacists should know about herbal remedies: Pharmacists can help patients differentiate the useful herbs from the harmful ones. J Am Pharm Assoc NS36(1):29-37, 1996.
5. Tyler VE: Garlic and other alliums, in The Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies, ed New York, Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1993, pp 139-143.
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