Allium sativum Linn

Family ► Liliaceae, Alliaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Central Asia. Cultivated all over India.

Ayurvedic ► Lashuna, Rasona, Yavaneshta, Ugragandha, Ma-haushadh, Arishta.

Siddha/Tamil ► Ullippoondu, Vellaip-pondu.

Action ► Antibiotic, bacteriostatic, fungicide, anthelmintic, antithrom-bic, hypotensive, hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic. Also used for upper respiratory tract infections and catarrhal conditions.

Key application ► As a supportive to dietary measures for elevated levels of lipids in blood; as a preventive measure for age-dependent vascular changes. (German Commission E, ESCOP, WHO, The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) Also as an antimicrobial. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia). Garlic has been shown to be effective in respiratory infections and catarrhal conditions. (The British Herbal Compendium.)

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn-dia indicates the use of the bulb as a brain tonic in epilepsy and psychic disorders.

Heavy consumption of garlic prior to surgery led to increased clotting time or reduced platelet aggregation (in human case reports). Garlic tablets at a dose of 400 mg twice daily for 12 weeks reduced platelet aggregation 59% compared with placebo in 80 patients (in human clinical study). (Francis Brinker.)

Garlic cloves are high in sulphur-containing amino acids known as al-liin (no taste, no smell, no medicinal

Alocasia indica (Lour.) Spach.

action). With crushing or chewing alli-in comes into contact with the enzyme alliinase. Alliinase, in less than 6 s, transforms alliin into allicin (strongly medicinal), which breaks down into a number of sulphur compounds including ajoene, vinyldithin and diallyl disulfide, and trisulfide. The antibiotic effect is attributed to allicin; hypogly-caemic effect to allicin and allylpro-phyldisulphide (also to S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide); anticarcinogenic activity to diallyl monosulfide; platelet aggregation inhibitory effect to diallyl-di- and tri-sulphides. Ajoene inactivated human gastric lipase, which is involved in digestion and absorption of dietary fats.

Diallyltetra, penta-, hexa- and hep-tasulphides are potential antioxidants.

Allium leptophyllum Wall. is equated with Vana Lashuna, Jangali Lahsun.

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