There are extensive references to its medicinal properties in the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita, ancient Indian medical texts. Both Indians and Chinese regard garlic as an aphrodisiac. It aids digestion, improves respiration, and gets rid of intestinal worm infestation (Woodward, 1996).
It helps in improving qi—life energy. Charaka Samhita recommends the use of garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis too. Garlic’s effect is also said to be diuretic.
The plant is rich in vitamins C and B6, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium. The active ingredient isolated from the plant is allicin, along with a few other alkaloids. Allicin is responsible for the pungent odor of garlic.
It is a widely-researched species and is a popular herbal supplement cleared for use in the US, Europe, and across the globe. The plant is effective in reducing high blood pressure, showing promise in reducing cardiovascular risk (Ackermann et al., 2001).
Fresh garlic is effective against bacteria like Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, and Staphylococcus aureus. It is topically used to treat fungal infections like ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot, etc.
In homeopathy, the plant produces the Bryonia group of medicine that acts on the intestinal mucous membrane increasing peristalsis. It is used to treat colitis caused by pathological flora in the stomach, dyspepsia, and catarrhal affections. Homeopathy also uses the drug to treat atherosclerosis. The Bryonia group is used to treat tuberculosis.
In naturopathy, garlic is used for its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and to treat intestinal worms, fungal infections, etc. Native American tribes and other folkloric medical systems use garlic to treat cold, chest, and lung infections.