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Garlic (Allium sativum)

czosneknspGarlic is the common name for Allium sativum, a plant best known from among over 700 species of garlic.

What does garlic look like and where does it come from?

The part of the garlic consumed by humans is the buried part called the bulb. The spherical albeit somewhat irregular form of the garlic bulb is covered by dry fragile husks. The inside of the bulb houses the cloves which are clumped together around a central stem.  

Garlic, just like the onion, originates from Asia. It is seldom found growing wild, but it is widespread as a crop.

Medical substance content in the garlic

Garlic is a valuable source of many components which improve human health. They include flavonoids, organic sulphur compounds (alliin, scordinin), mucilage, ethereal oils and vitamins (B group, C, PP and A), as well as mineral salts (e.g. phosphorus, calcium, iron, selenium and magnesium). Interestingly enough, garlic also contains nutrients (sugars) and digestion regulators (fibre). 

Garlic and its effect on the human body

Garlic is popularly termed a panacea, a drug for all ailments. There is also a belief that the garlic is a "natural antibiotic" (although it is not the right material for the production of antibiotics). If this is so, then why does the plant enjoy such high esteem?

Garlic boasts several beneficial properties, including:

  • hypoglycaemic action (lowers the blood sugar level);
  • lowers the cholesterol level;
  • improves the immunity;
  • facilitates digestion;
  • bactericidal and anti-parasitic action;
  • facilitates healing of wounds;
  • lowers arterial blood pressure (hypotensive action);
  • anti-neoplastic action.

Hypoglycaemic and hypotensive action is extremely important today, when diabetes and hypertension are among the most often diagnosed disorders of society. The blood cholesterol lowering effect is equally important because excessive levels of cholesterol carry a risk of hypertension, diabetes and related disorders (mainly atherosclerosis of blood vessels, cardiac diseases and cerebral stroke).  

Another advantage of using garlic extract (be it in its natural form or in pharmaceutical preparations like Alliofil) is the boost in the body's defence against the development of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. This effect results from antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic action, as well as from the compounds of sulphur which increase the activity of the red blood cells responsible for triggering the body's immune defence system.

Garlic is also cholagogic, choleopoietic and relaxes the digestive system muscles; hence its used to help food digestion.

Why does garlic smell so bad?

The odour is caused by sulphuric compounds. When crushing or cutting the garlic cloves, the compounds of alliin break down, which is when the specific odour of garlic is emitted, found by some to be repugnant, and favoured by others.

Who should take garlic?

Due to the wide range of its positive effects, the majority of people can take it. Those who do not like the taste and smell of garlic can choose medicines with its extract (e.g. Alliofil). Those who love the taste of garlic are recommended to add it to meals.

Products containing Garlic

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