Antimicrobial And Immuneenhancing Activity

Garlic appears to exert both direct and indirect effects against various pathogens, as it enhances macrophage and T-lymphocyte function (Lau et a I 1991) and has direct antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic activity.

Allicin is believed to be chiefly responsible for garlic's antimicrobial activity. More specifically, it has been found to exert antibacterial activity against a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including multidrug-resistant enterotoxicogenic strains of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Proteus spp., Streptococcus faecalis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa; antifungal activity particularly against Candida albicans; antiparasitic activity against some of the major human intestinal protozoan parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia; and antiviral activity (Ankri & Mirelman 1999). Ajoene is another important antimicrobial constituent, with greater antiviral activity than allien, according to one in vitro test (Weber et al 1992).

Helicobacter pylori infection Several in vitro and in vivo tests have shown that garlic has activity against H. pylori (Chung et al 1998, Jonkers et al 1999, O'Gara et al 2000); however, results from clinical studies are equivocal. Two studies found that a combination of garlic and omeprazole produced synergistic effects against H. pylori (Cellini et al 1996, Jonkers et al 1999).

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