"Is garlic alternative medicine?" - GreenMedInfo Summary

Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Is garlic alternative medicine?

Abstract Source:

J Nutr. 2006 Mar ;136(3 Suppl):713S-715S. PMID: 16484549

Abstract Author(s):

Richard S Rivlin

Article Affiliation:

Strang Cancer Research Laboratory and Department of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA. rivlinr@yahoo.com


Garlic has been used medicinally since antiquity. In virtually every early civilization known, such as ancient India, Egypt, Rome, China, and Japan, garlic was part of the therapeutic regimen for a variety of maladies. Therefore, the ancient medicinal tradition of garlic use would qualify it as a folk medicine or as an alternative or complementary medicine. But is garlic an alternative to established methods of disease prevention or treatment? Scientists from around the world have identified a number of bioactive substances in garlic that are water soluble (e.g., S-allyl methylcysteine), and fat soluble (e.g., diallyldisulfide). Mechanisms of action are being elucidated by modern technology. The validity of ancient medicine is now being evaluated critically in cell-free systems, animal models, and human populations. Preventive and therapeutic trials of garlic are still in early stages. There are many promising lines of research suggesting the potential effects of garlic. The current state of knowledge does not recognize garlic as a true alternative, but it will likely find a place for garlic as a complement to established methods of disease prevention and treatment. Our goal should be to examine garlic together with other agents to evaluate its possible efficacy and toxicity under conditions of actual use in humans.

Study Type : Review
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