phytochemicals Phytochemicals
 
 

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Garlic

Garlic

Allium sativum

What is garlic?

Garlic is a perennial herb with flat, fleshy greyish leaves and a bulb, composed of typical garlic cloves. In mid-summer the garlic plant forms rounded white to pink coloured flower heads. These flowers grow at the end of a round stalk rising direct from the bulb. The flowers are grouped together in a globular head with an enclosing leaf or spathae.

Parts used

Only the bulbs or garlic cloves are used. The cloves can be eaten raw or as powder, or can be processes into a garlic oil.

Phytochemicals

These are typical phytochemicals found in garlic: garlic contains flavonoids and sulphur-containing compounds: diallyl sulphate, alliin, ajoene, allicin.

Benefits of garlic

Garlic is used to lower cholesterol and blood lipids and to protect blood vessels. Raw garlic is also used for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Anti-bacterial and anti-virus
Fresh garlic is an effective remedy against infections. When raw garlic is crushed a strong oxidant allicin is formed which has strong antibiotic property.

Heart disease
Garlic helps to reduces blood pressure and reduce blood lipid levels. Garlic improves the elasticity of blood vessels and increasing blood circulation, relieving cramps and circulatory disorders. Allicin and ajoene help to prevent the aggregation of platelets, thereby reducing the risk of strokes but prolonging the bleeding and clotting times of wounds.

Anti-inflammatory
Many scientific studies have shown fresh garlic and garlic powder have anti-inflammatory action. This action is related to the sulphur compounds in garlic.

Other facts

Garlic originates from the Middle East and central Asia, but is now grown worldwide. Garlic is not only used for its medicinal properties but also for its culinary properties. Sulphur-containing phytochemicals such as allicin are responsible for the health effects of garlic but they are also the source for the typical garlic smell. Garlic supplements without the typical garlic smell are therefore of questionable value.

Other names

Poor Man's Treacle.

Research Reviews




 
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