In ancient Chinese medicine, garlic was prescribed to aid respiration and digestion, most importantly diarrhea and worm infestation (Woodward 1996). As a spicy food, its regular consumption was recommended but in limited quantities. Evidence also suggests that garlic was utilized to treat sadness or depression as well.
Let’s briefly examine the medical uses of garlic throughout the ages and the role that it was considered to play in prevention and treatment of disease.
Interest in the potential benefits of garlic has origins in antiquity and is one of the earliest documented examples of plants employed for treatment of disease and maintenance of health. Garlic was in use at the beginning of recorded history and was found in Egyptian pyramids and ancient Greek temples. There are Biblical references to garlic. Ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India each prescribed medical applications for garlic. In many cultures, garlic was administered to provide strength and increase work capacity for laborers.
Hippocrates, the revered physician, prescribed garlic for a variety of conditions. Garlic was given to the original Olympic athletes in Greece, as perhaps one of the earliest “performance enhancing” agents. It is of interest that cultures that developed without contact with one another came to similar conclusions about the efficacy of garlic.
Modern science is tending to confirm many of the beliefs of ancient cultures regarding garlic, defining mechanisms of action and exploring garlic’s potential for disease prevention and treatment.
Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a common herb consumed worldwide as functional food and traditional remedy for the prevention of infectious diseases since ancient time. Garlic and its active organosulfur compounds (OSCs) have been reported to alleviate a number of viral infections in pre-clinical and clinical investigations. However, so far no systematic review on its antiviral effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms exists.
Scope and approach: The aim of this review is to systematically summarize pre-clinical and clinical investigations on antiviral effects of garlic and its OSCs as well as to further analyse recent findings on the mechanisms that underpin these antiviral actions. PubMed, Cochrane library, Google Scholar and Science Direct databases were searched and articles up to June 2020 were included in this review.
Key findings and conclusions: Pre-clinical data demonstrated that garlic and its OSCs have potential antiviral activity against different human, animal and plant pathogenic viruses through blocking viral entry into host cells, inhibiting viral RNA polymerase, reverse transcriptase, DNA synthesis and immediate-early gene 1(IEG1) transcription, as well as through downregulating the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. The alleviation of viral infection was also shown to link with immunomodulatory effects of garlic and its OSCs. Clinical studies further demonstrated a prophylactic effect of garlic in the prevention of widespread viral infections in humans through enhancing the immune response. This review highlights that garlic possesses significant antiviral activity and can be used prophylactically in the prevention of viral infections.
Dr. Steve says: I recommend my Garlic Test. Cut off the ends, peel and crush two garlic cloves. If you can smell it, that’s good. If you can’t, eat it raw and chase it with hot tea or some food. Do this every day 2x/day for a week to 10-days. When you can smell the garlic again, you can stop eating it. Garlic is a Life Saving Antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal herb and there are many Korean, Chinese, other Asian, and European recipes to make good use of Garlic. DO NOT FEED GARLIC to pets until you look up more information.
Clinical studies further demonstrated a prophylactic effect of garlic in the prevention of widespread viral infections in humans through enhancing the immune response. This review highlights that garlic possesses significant antiviral activity and can be used prophylactically in the prevention of viral infections.
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