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GarlicScientific Name: Allium sativum
Garlic InformationGarlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years. Recently, medical research has been underway to assess whether these traditional uses of garlic have scientific validity. While the science is not definitive at this point, much of the research is showing real promise and many clinicians continue to report improvements in the areas of infection and heart-related risk factors for their individual patients. For example, test tube and animal studies suggest that garlic can kill many types of bacteria, some viruses and fungal infections, and even intestinal parasites. The belief is that properties of garlic may prove to help support immune function and prevent infection in people. Some experts believe that science may prove that garlic is particularly useful when taken together with medications (like antibiotics) prescribed for these infections.
Garlic also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help scavenge free radicals -- particles that can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time.
- Garlic and garlic supplements may prevent blood clots and destroy plaque
- Also be beneficial for risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Helps reduce elevated total cholesterol levels
- May help lower blood pressure
- Has some ability to lower blood sugars
- May have some anti-cancer activity
- Inhibits the growth of different species of bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism responsible for tuberculosis
Garlic Nutrient ContentAlliin is an odorless sulfur-containing chemical derived from the amino acid cysteine. When garlic bulbs are crushed, alliin is converted into another compound called allicin. Allicin appears to be at least one of the primary active compounds that gives garlic its characteristic odor and many of its healing benefits. Allicin appears to have infection-fighting action as well as potential cardiovascular effects including, possibly, the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In addition, test tubes have shown that allicin has anti-cancer activities. Allicin is further broken down to a compound called ajoene, which may be the substance that inhibits blockage in blood vessels from clots and atherosclerosis.
Garlic NotesGarlic is considered to have very low toxicity and is listed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States