Read this article to learn about role of garlic in the treatment of cardio-vascular disorders.
In recent years, there has been growing interest in garlic for cardiovascular health. Garlic acquired a reputation in the folklore of many cultures over centuries as a formidable prophylactic and therapeutic medicinal agent.
Garlic has attracted particular attention of modern medicine because of its widespread health use around the world, and the cherished belief that it helps in maintaining good health warding off illnesses and providing more vigor.
In USA, one study used the 2002 National Health Interview Survey and analysed data on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in 10, 572 respondents with cardiovascular disease. Among those with cardiovascular disease, 36% had used CAM (excluding prayer) in the previous 12 months.
The most commonly used therapies were herbal products (18%) and among herbs, garlic was most commonly used. To date, many favorable experimental and clinical effects of garlic preparations, including garlic extract, have been reported.
These biological responses have been largely attributed to:
(i) Reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and cancer,
(ii) Stimulation of immune function,
(iii) Enhanced detoxification of foreign compound,
(v) Antimicrobial effect and
(vi) Antioxidant effect.
This chapter has been made indicating an overall view of the efficacy of garlic in cardiovascular disease conditions both in human and animals.
Cardiovascular disease is associated with multiple factors such as raised serum total cholesterol, raised LDL and an increase in LDL oxidation, Inhibition of fibrinolytic activity, increased platelet aggregation, hypertension, arrhythmia and decrease myocardial endogenous antioxidants or increased oxidative stress. The role of garlic in reducing each risk factor is described here.
Historical Perspective of Garlic:
It is fascinating to observe how cultures that never came into contact with one another came to the same conclusions about the role of garlic in health and disease. If folk wisdom is not ignored, it may teach us valuable lessons.
Some of the earliest references to this medicinal and culinary plant are found on Sumerian clay tablets dating from 2600- 2100 BC. Garlic was an important medicine to the ancient Egyptians listed in the medical text Codex Ebers specially for the working class involved in heavy labor.
There is evidence that during the earliest Olympics in Greece, garlic was fed to the athletes for increasing stamina. The leading Indian ancient medical text, Charaka-Samhita recommends garlic for the treatment of heart disease and arthritis for over many centuries.
In modern era scientists have been trying to validate many of these properties of garlic, specially in terms of the identity of the active components, their mechanisms of action and exploring the potential benefits as food supplements.