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Monday, May 07, 2007

Part 2: Garlic, That Oderiferous Lilly

Our previous installment discussed some general details about garlic, and this post will deal with the effects of garlic on the body.

Garlic has a wide variety of biological effects which have been described in many scientific reports from both the West and the East. Although not all the active chemical constituents of garlic are known, the volatile, sulfur-containing compounds, especially allicin, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide, are generally considered to be responsible for most of the biological effects of garlic. Allicin, at a conccentration of only 1 in 100,000 (or one-thousandth of 1%) inhibits the growth of various bacterial, fungi, and disease causing amoebas.

It is now well known that garlic (oil, juice, or extract) has antibacterial and antifungal qualities, being inhibitory to some microbes and deadly to others. It also kills amoebas that cause amebic dysentery and trichomonads that cause trichomoniasis (a vaginal parasitic infestation).

Both Western and Eastern scientists have found that garlic and its water extract, when given to rats and mice by injection or in their feed, inhibit the growth, or prevent the formation, of experimentally induced tumors in these animals. Researchers have also found that garlic and garlic oil lower the blood-sugar level in rabbits, blood cholesterol in rabbits and humans, and blood pressure in animals and humans as well as preventing the formation of arteriosclerosis.

Despite its many beneficial qualities, garlic also induces blisters, irritation, or dermatitis (especially eczema) in some individuals. Hence, one should keep this in mind when handling or using garlic. These toxic effects of garlic are due, to a large extent, to the sulfur-containing compounds present in garlic oil.

Be sure to come back for our third and final installment on garlic, when we will discuss some of the traditional as well as the modern uses of garlic. We also will be describing traditional home remedies.

This material is excerpted from Dr. Albert Leung’s book, Chinese Healing Foods and Herbs. Here, Dr. Leung presents general information and home remedies using garlic as well as over 45 other herbs. Garlic information can be found on page 67 – 70. For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit http://www.earthpower.com/.

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