Garlic (Allium sativum) is utilized extensively as a flavoring in cooking. It has also been used as a medicine throughout history, both ancient and modern; it has been used to prevent and treat a wide range of infections and diseases.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” by an ancient Greek physician.
Garlic resides in the genus Allium and is closely related to the onion, rakkyo, scallion, chive, leek, and shallot. All over history in the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis and hypertension, TB (tuberculosis), liver illnesses, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers. The French, Spanish, and Portuguese familiarized garlic with the world.
Scientists have discovered that most of its health benefits are generated by sulphur compounds formed when a garlic clove is diced, crushed, or chewed. Garlic’s antibacterial effect is largely attributed to the presence of allicin. Allicin has been shown to have a sulfhydryl modifying action (Wills, 1956), and it has also been shown to be capable of blocking sulfhydryl enzymes. Allicin’s thiolation action is countered by cysteine and glutathione in the body. On some vancomycin-resistant enterococci, garlic extract and allicin have been demonstrated to exhibit bacteriostatic effects, and this has been confirmed. When used in conjunction with vancomycin, it was discovered to have an inhibitory synergism (Jonkers et al., 1999). Inhibition of vancomycin resistance by allicin is assumed to occur by modification of sulfhydryl groups on the enzymes of the TN1546 transposon, which encodes vancomycin resistance, hence increasing susceptibility to vancomycin.
Some research recommends that garlic may help increase blood flow, which may be helpful for treating problems like erectile dysfunction in men. Diallyl trisulfide is an element of garlic oil that helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart seizure, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found. Fresh garlic and aged garlic extract are rich in antioxidants and can support the neutralization of harmful compounds known as free radicals.
The Bottom Line
For thousands of years, garlic was believed to have therapeutic effects. Garlic and its derivatives have recently resurfaced as potential natural remedies, thanks to a recent surge in the popularity of alternative medicine and natural products. This review could help us learn more about garlic’s therapeutic effects. Although it has been demonstrated that garlic may have significant clinical potential in its own right or as adjuvant therapy in various disorders, more standard experiments and research are required to confirm the beneficial effect of garlic due to some issues such as methodological inadequacies, small sample sizes, a lack of information regarding dose rationale, variation between efficacy and effectiveness trials, the absence of a placebo comparator, or a lack of control groups.
Although garlic is thought to be a safe substance, long-term trials of a reasonable duration would provide insight into the potential side effects of various garlic extracts. Garlic’s safety should be investigated, particularly in pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children (Budzynska et al., 2012; Dante et al., 2013). Long-term and large trials are also required to assess differences in cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality, serious adverse events, and morbidity after garlic therapy.