Garlic fact sheet

health-benefits Jun 17, 2021
Photo by Sanjay Dosajh / Unsplash

Herbalists and Naturopaths regard garlic as something of a miracle food and use it as a remedy for dozens of complaints ranging from asthma to arthritis.
It has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions, including intestinal disorders.
The medicinal properties of garlic are due to the sulphur compounds present in it and substances responsible for the pungent odour released when garlic bulb is crushed.
The scientific name of garlic is Allium sativum, derived from Latin.

When crushed, garlic releases allicin, an antibiotic and antifungal substance, as well as sulphur-containing substances and allixin, an antioxidant substance. In addition to sulphur, garlic also contains arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium, which are also beneficial to health.

Garlic contains high amounts of B vitamins (including vitamin B6), vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, as well as magnesium, potassium and zinc.

It has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity, as well as possible cardiovascular benefits.
Garlic compounds are good for the heart. They lower blood pressure, suppress cholesterol production in the liver and raise the levels of beneficial high density lipoproteins in the blood.
Garlic also helps regulate blood sugar levels. It also inhibits blood clotting.
It can be eaten raw to reduce nasal congestion and also helps to relieve the other symptoms of cold.
Increased intake of garlic may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, oesophagus, pancreas, and breast.
The cancer preventing effects of garlic may arise from its antibacterial properties, or from its ability to block the formation of cancer-causing substances, halt the activation of cancer-causing substances, enhance DNA repair, reduce cell proliferation, or induce cell death.

Common side effects (especially when eating raw garlic)

may include unpleasant breath or body odour, heartburn, burning in your mouth or throat, nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea.
In few people it may induce migraine and in some it may cause allergies. When handled, it can irritate the skin causing contact dermatitis.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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