Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food. ...Hippocrates
Sanjay K Banerjee and Subir K Maulik
Keywords: garlic, animal experiment, clinical trial, cardiovascular
Garlic and its preparations have been widely recognized as agents for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, hypertension and diabetes. Effectiveness of garlic in cardiovascular diseases was more encouraging in experimental studies, which prompted several clinical trials. Though many clinical trials showed a positive effect of garlic on almost all cardiovascular conditions mentioned above, however a number of negative studies have recently cast doubt on the efficary of garlic specially its cholesterol lowering effect of garlic. It is a great challenge for scientists all over the world to make a proper use of garlic and enjoy its maximum beneficial effect as it is the cheapest way to prevent cardiovascular disease. This review has attempted to make a bridge the gap between experimental and clinical study and to discuss the possible mechanisms of such therapeutic actions of garlic.
Dietary factors play a key role in the development of various human diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological studies have shown that diets rich in fruits, herbs and spices are associated with a low risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic acquired a reputation in the folklore of many cultures over centuries as a formidable prophylactic and therapeutic medicinal agent. Garlic has attracted particular attention of modern medicine because of its widespread health use around the world, and the cherished belief that it helps in maintaining good health warding off illnesses and providing more vigor. To date, many favorable experimental and clinical effects of garlic preparations, including garlic extract, have been reported. These biological responses have been largely attributed to i) reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and cancer, ii) stimulation of immune function, iii) enhanced detoxification of foreign compound, iv) hepatoprotection, v) antimicrobial effect and vi) antioxidant effect. This review has been made indicating an overall view of the efficacy of garlic in cardiovascular disease conditions both in human and animals.