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Herb Information
Name: Garlic
Biological Name: Allium sativum

Liliaceae

Other Names: Garlic, Lashan, Rasonam, Lashuna

Veluthulli, Ugragandha, Mlecchagandha, Lesan

Description:

Garlic is closely related to onion and chives. The largest commercial garlic production is in central California. The bulb is used.

Parts Used: Bulb and oil
Active Compounds:  

The sulfur compound allicin, produced by crushing or chewing fresh garlic, in turn produces other sulfur compounds: ajoene, allyl sulfides, and vinyldithiins.

History:

Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for a large number of conditions, including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. Its use in China was first mentioned in A.D. 510. Louis Pasteur confirmed the antibacterial action of garlic in 1858.

Medicinal Applications 

Action

alterative, anthelmintic, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, detoxifier, disinfectant, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, rubefacient, rejuvenative, stimulant, vesicant

Uses

Garlic is beneficial in:

Asthma
Atherosclerosis
Blood and lymph cleanser
Colds and flu
Colic
Congestive heart failure
Convulsions
Cough
Edema
Heart disease
Hemorrhoids
High cholesterol
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides)
Hysteria
Immune function
Impotence
Indigestion
Intermittent claudication
Nerve and bone tissue rejuvenative
Paralysis
Recurrent ear infection
Rheumatism
Skin diseases
T. B.
Tremor
Tumors
Round worms 
Yeast infection

Circulatory Effects:
More than 250 publications have shown that garlic supports the cardiovascular system. It may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, inhibit platelet stickiness (aggregation), and increase fibrinolysis-which results in a slowing of blood coagulation. It is mildly antihypertensive and has antioxidant activity.

Note: Garlic only keeps clotting in check, a benefit for persons at risk for cardiovascular disease. It cannot effectively replace stronger anticlotting drugs; its primary value is as a preventive.

Antimicrobial Actions:
Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal activity' It may work against some intestinal parasites. Garlic appears to have roughly 1 % the strength of penicillin against certain types of bacteria. This means it is not a substitute for antibiotics, but it can be considered as a support against some bacterial infections. Candida albicans growth is inhibited by garlic, and garlic has shown long-term benefit for recurrent yeast infections.

Anticancer Actions:
Human population studies show that eating garlic regularly reduces the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer. This is partly due to garlic's ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Animal and test tube studies also show that garlic, and its sulfur compounds, inhibit the growth of different types of cancer-especially breast and skin tumors.

Miscellaneous

Garlic is often applied to indolent tumors, ulcerated surfaces and wounds. A poultice of the bulb is used for scrofulous sores and ring worm. A clove of Garlic when introduced into the ear passage give relief of ear-ache. It is locally used in sciatica, paralysis and neuralgic pains. Raw Garlic juice is inhaled in whooping cough and pulmonary tuberculosis. The oil in which Garlic has been fried is believed to be a useful liniment for rheumatic pains, nervous diseases like infantile convulsions, scabies and maggot infested wounds.

Garlic is useful for fevers, coughs, flatulence, disorders of the nervous system, agues, dropsical affections, pulmonary phthisis, whooping cough, gangrene of the lung and dilated bronchi. A decoction of garlic made with milk and water is given in hysteria, flatulence and sciatica. A syrup of garlic is a valuable remedy for asthma, hoarseness, disorders of the chest and lungs. The garlic oil is useful for paralytic and rheumatic affections.

Dosage:

Some people chew one whole clove of raw garlic per day. For those who prefer it, odor-controlled, enteric-coated tablets or capsules with standardized allicin potential can be taken at 400-500 mg once or twice per day (providing up to 5,000 mcg of allicin). Alternatively, a tincture of 2-4 ml can be taken three times daily.

Safety:

Most people enjoy garlic. However, some individuals who are sensitive to it may experience heartburn and flatulence. 

Because of garlic's anti-clotting properties, persons taking anticoagulant drugs should check with their nutritionally oriented doctor before taking garlic. Those scheduled for surgery should inform their surgeon if they are taking garlic supplements. 

There are no known contra-indications to the use of garlic during pregnancy and lactation.

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