Garlic

Garlic

DESCRIPTION/FUNCTION

Garlic (Allium sativum) is related to onion (Allium cepa) and is classified as belonging to the Amaryllidaceae family (amaryllis) or to the Liliaceae family (lily). Garlic has been used for thousands of years, both as a flavoring and as a medicinal agent. It probably originated in central Asia. Active ingredients include cysteine derivatives (S-allylmercaptocysteine, S-methyl-cysteine, alliin, S-allyl-L-cysteine), organic acids (caffeic, chlorogenic, phytic, succinic), polyphenols (kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, allixin), sulfur compounds (ajoene, allicin, allyl disulfides, allyl methyltrisulfide, allyl propyl disulfide, diallyl compounds, glucosinolates).

RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for Adults

None.

MAJOR SOURCES

Bulbs.

MAINTENANCE/THERAPEUTIC RANGE

500 mg to 3,000 mg (depending on the form and concentration).

POSSIBLE THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS

Cancer (colorectal, gastric, prostate), common cold, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, immune function, infection (bacterial, fungal, parasitic, viral), prostate problems.

COMMENTS

One major active component of garlic is allicin. It is produced when garlic is crushed and alliin is exposed to the enzyme, allinase. There are supplements that provide allicin potential. Aged garlic does not produce allicin, but does contain other beneficial ingredients (e.g., S-allyl-L-cysteine). Garlic oil products are not very effective. Overly cooked garlic also loses many of its beneficial properties.

CAUTIONS

Consult with your health practitioner if you have a bleeding disorder, are taking a blood thinning drug, or many other medications.

References

Jellin, JM, editor. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.
John Pillepich. The Nutraceutical Reference Guide, 2005.

FOR GARLIC, CONSIDER THESE SUPPLEMENTS*

*First check with your doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medications.

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