Chemical Components

Garlic bulbs contain organosulfur compounds, protein (mainly alliinase), amino acids (such as arginine, lysine, threonine and tryptophan), fibre, lipids, phytic acid, saponins, beta-sitosterol and small quantities of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, chromium, iron and selenium (Duke 2003).

Of the numerous constituents present, it is the alliin component and resultant degradation products, such as allicin and ajoene, that produce much of the herb's pharmacological activity. These are formed when garlic is crushed or chewed and alliin is exposed to the enzyme alliinase.

According to Commission E, 1 mg of alliin produces 0.458 mg of allicin (Blumenthal etal 2000).

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