Of the 120 new PubMed abstracts for garlic in the first quarter of 2005, some were disappointing. Iranian scientists (e.g., Jelodar et al., 2005) found, contrary to my expectations, that garlic, but not onion and fenugreek, is hypoglycemic in experimental rats. I think they should have also compared the mix of the three biblical herbs, anticipating synergy or additivism, all recommended in Persian folklore medicine as good for diabetes (X15738612). Bakri and Douglas (2005) extended the well-known antiseptic activity of garlic to bacteria involved in periodontitis (X15892950). In general, the minimal inhibitory and minimum bactericidal concentrations for Gram-negative strains (garlic MIC range 35.7-1.1mg/ml;
allicin mean MIC 4.1 pg/ml; mean MBC 7.9 pg/ml) were lower than those for the Gram-positive strains tested (garlic MIC range 142.7-35.7 mg/ml; allicin mean MIC 27.5 pg/ml; mean MBC 91.9 pg/ml). The putative periodontal pathogens had among the lowest MICs (17.8-1.1 mg/ml garlic) and MBCs (35.7-1.1 mg/ml garlic) (X15892950). Verma et al. (2005) demonstrated adapotogenic activity of garlic oil on exercise tolerance in coronary patients. Thirty patients were given garlic oil for 6 weeks. The 6-week treatment reduced heart rate at peak exercise and resultant workload on the heart (X15881870). Kim et al. (2005) showed that too much diallyl disulfide could be cytotoxic to neuronal cells. Levels of free radicals and membrane lipid peroxidation increased dose dependently at levels higher than 25 pM (X 15950962). Chang et al. (2005) found that sodium 2-propenyl thiosulfate had cyclooxygenase inhibitory as well as antiaggregant activity in canine platelets (X15850716). Akyuz and Kaymakoglu (2005) suggest garlic and lamivudine in combination as a natural/chemotherapy for hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS), one I never heard of previously. HPS is characterized by abnormalities of arterial oxygenation in patients with chronic liver disease, with or without portal hypertension. There is no definitive treatment except liver transplantation. One HPS patient with liver cirrhosis and HPS received garlic and lamivudine for 3 years. Signs of liver failure and hypoxemia gradually improved, indicating that lamivudine may improve the functional reserve of the liver, while garlic may help to reduce the signs and symptoms of HPS (X15833681). Chang et al. (2005) suggest that garlic oil's anticarcinogenic activities may be due to (1) antioxidant activity, (2) induction of apoptosis, (3) inhibition of DNA-adduct formation, (4) modulation of immune function, and/or (5) modulation of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzyme activities (X15796590). I can suggest dozens of other phytochemical reasons. For several other useful phytochemical activities in whole garlic, consult the multiple-activity-menu site at the USDA (http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/dev/all. html) — and one might well be overwhelmed by the 19-page printout. Active hypoglycemic compounds may have insulin-sparing activity, the thiol groups competing for insulin with the inactivating compounds (PNC). Ajoene is antiaggregant, antilipoxygenase, antiprostaglandin (CAN; PNC) synergizes the antiaggregant activity of dipyramidole, forskolin, indomethacin, and prostacyclin. Garlic (or allicin) is antiseptic to Actinobacter, Aeromonas, Aspergillus, Bacillus, Candida albicans, Citrobacter, Cory-nebacterium, Cryptococcus, Epidermophyton, Escherichia coli, Hafnia, Herpes, Influenza, Klebsiella, Microsporum, Mycobacterium, Pasturella, Proteus, Providencia, Pseudomonas, Rhodotorula, Salmonella paratyphi, Salmonella typhi, Shigella dysenterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Torulopsis, Trichomonas sp., Trichophyton, Trichosporum, and Vibrio cholera (CAN; PNC); LD50 = 60 mg/kg ivn mus (SHT); 120 mg/kg scu mus M11 (SHT) might be a good way to cut back on your grocery bill (except for garlic), if you believe this quote: "Rats fed up to 2000 mg/kg garlic extract for 6 months showed no weight loss but did show a slightly reduced food intake relative to controls. There were no changes in renal function, hematologic parameters, or selected serologic parameters; and there was no evidence of any pathologic changes in organs or tissues." Experimentally antiaggregant, bactericidal, diuretic, fungicidal, hypocholesterolemic, hypotensive (FAD; FNF). Clinical studies suggest utility in arteriosclerosis, cardiopathy, GI disorders, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure (FAD). Commission E approvals differ: Blumenthal et al. (1998) approve 4 g fresh garlic or equivalent preparations "supportive to dietary measures at elevated levels of lipids in blood" and preventive measures for age-dependent vascular changes," while Gruenwald et al. (1998) approve garlic for almost the same things for which they approve echinacea, viz. arteriosclerosis, bronchosis, cold, cough, fever, pharyngosis, stomatosis, and "tendency to infection."
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