This ancient herb that is routinely used in Indian cooking has many medicinal uses.
The Botanical name of Garlic is Allium Sativum and it is called as ‘Lasoon’ in India. It is a herb from the Onion family. It has been known for its health building properties to the Egyptians since 4500 B.C, and they gave it to the workers who constructed the Pyramids to maintain their health. Hippocrates, 460 – 357 B.C. recommended it for infectious diseases. The Chinese knew about Garlic since 3000 B.C. It has also been used by the Greeks and Romans, both as a food and as well as medicine. In China this herb is called as ‘da-suan’. It has been extensively used in Chinese medicine as an anti-bacterial agent, in dysentery, skin diseases, cough and lung diseases and many other conditions.
The Pharmacological properties:
It contains many elements and compounds like, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin C, traces of Iodine, Sulphur and Chlorine.
In Herbal medicine, it has been used for asthma, deafness, leprosy, bronchial congestion, fevers, worm infestation, liver, gall bladder diseases and in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
In Ayurveda, a decoction of garlic boiled with milk has been used in Tuberculosis and Pneumonia.
It is also very useful in a digestive and a worm expeller.
Recent Studies have shown that Garlic is useful in Cardio-vascular diseases and reduces Cholesterol, the bad Cholesterols like LDL and VLDL and triglycerides. Garlic thus, reduces atherosclerosis. It has anti clotting properties and prevents the formation of clots in the heart. It has been found to be useful in lowering the Blood pressure and also prevents cramps in the legs by increasing the perfusion of blood in the lower limbs.
Garlic has also exhibited activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi and many parasites. It is also useful in stimulating the immune system and modifies the outcome of cancers favorably. It also exhibits anti-oxidant properties and retards the aging process.
In summary, the epidemiological, clinical and experimental data have proved that garlic contains many pharmacologically important compounds that are useful in cardio-vascular, cancers and several other diseases related to aging.