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Allium sativum L. – Garlic
Alliaceae – Onion family

Garlic – appearance and origin:

Garlic is not only used as a food product, but also as a raw material for the treatment and prevention of illnesses. Allium sativum L., belonging to the family Liliaceae, originates from central Asia. It has been known for thousands of years and used as a vegetable, spice and medicine by many past civilizations. Requires fertile, moist, highly permeable soil and sunny or slightly shaded conditions; can withstand poorer soil. Highly aromatic.The bulb is globular, made up of smaller ones called cloves, covered in shells. The stem grows up to 90 cm, erect, with alternate leaves halfway up. Linear leaves, up to 1 cm wide, channelled, cover the stem, with acute apex, with clearly visible veins. The flowers are pale pink or greenish, combined into an apex flowerhead. The fruit is an elongated, pear-like capsule with a tapered tip.

Garlic – effects and use:

Fresh, intact garlic bulbs contain alliin, which is odourless, water-soluble and has not antibiotic properties. The raw material also contains alkyl derivatives of alliin (methylalliin and propylalliin), flavonoid compounds, free and bound aminoacids, adenosine derivatives, mucous compounds, vitamins and oil containing mainly disulfides and trisulfides (up to 0.25%), created as a result of alliin transformations. During comminution of the raw material, the pulverization and other technological processes, alliin, influenced by the allinase enzyme, is transformed into fragile allicin which is a precursor to many transformation products.

Garlic has a bactericidal effect on Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, is antifungal and anthelmintic, counteracts platelet aggregation (extends the time of bleeding and coagulation, increases the fibrinolytic activity), decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowers blood pressure, inhibits LOX (ajoene).
The raw material promotes bile secretion and digestion and suppresses excessive fermentation in the intestines.

Regular consumption of garlic lowers the risk of stomach cancer, inhibits carcinogenesis initiation; allyl disulfide suppresses the metabolism of xenobiotics, e.g. nitrosamines.
Garlic is used for infections of the upper respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and the urinary system, for elevated blood lipid levels, for prevention of atherosclerotic lesions in blood vessels and blood pressure spikes, and also for helminthiasis and dermatomycosis.

Garlic is also a popular culinary spice, stimulating digestion and disinfecting the gastrointestinal tract. Can be used raw for dyspepsia and gastrointestinal infections.