No other herb has served as many culinary and medicinal roles in as many cultures as garlic (Allium sativum L). Indeed, over the past 20 years, there have been more than 2000 papers published on garlic chemistry, pharmacology and clinical applications (Koch HP and Lawson LD, Garlic: The Science and Therapeutic Application of Allium sativum L. and Related Species, Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1996).
Garlic is rich in antioxidant phytochemicals such as organosulphur compounds and flavonoids, both capable of scavenging tissue-damaging free radicals (Cancer J, 1990; 3: 20-1). Although the mechanisms of all garlic components are not known, many of its heart-protective, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antiageing effects are thought to be due to these antioxidant actions (Planta Med, 1994; 60: 417-20; Planta Med, 1992; 58: 468-9; J Pharm Pharmacol, 1993; 49: 908-11; Neurochem Int, 1996; 29: 135-43).
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