Garlic has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant. The Egyptians used garlic to treat heart disease, headaches and tumors. Many of the health promoting properties of garlic, including anti-thrombotic, lipid-lowering, anti-tumor and antioxidant, have been demonstrated in scientific studies. These previous studies with fresh garlic juice have illustrates the anti-inflammatory action of garlic:
- Allium ativum (garlic) suppresses leukocyte inflammatory cytokine production in vitro: potential therapeutic use in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (G Hodge et al, Cytometry 48:209-215).
- Garlic induces a shift in cytokine pattern in Leishmania major infected BALB/c mice (T Ghazanfari et al, Scand. J. Immunol. 52:491-495).
The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory activity of dried garlic powder extracts and single garlic phytochemicals. The researchers found that garlic powder extracts reduces lipopolysaccharide-induced production of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin and tumor necrosis factor. The expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was not influenced.
The phytochemicals diallydisulfide also reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin and tumor necrosis factor. Exposure of kidney cell to blood supernatants treated with dried garlic extract also reduced and tumor necrosis factor. The effects of garlic powder extract obtained from garlic, which were fertilized with sulphate during the cultivation, had stronger effects than unfertilized garlic. This finding suggest that organosulfur compounds, rather than other phytochemicals such as flavonoids, are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of garlic.
The study concluded that garlic might have anti-inflammatory properties and acts by modulating cytokines resulting in the inhibition of and tumor necrosis factor in the surrounding tissues.Source: Keiss HP, Dirsch VM, Hartung T, Haffner T, Trueman L, Auger J, Kahane R and Vollmar AM.. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) modulates cytokine expression in lipopolysaccharide-activated human blood thereby inhibiting NF-kappaB activity.. Journal of Nutrition. 2003 Jul;133(7):2171-5