Garlic is closely related to the onion, shallot, and leek. Alternate names



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Garlic (Allium sativum)




Garlic is closely related to the onion, shallot, and leek.

Alternate names


  • None

Native to

Medicinal parts used


  • The portion of the plant most often consumed is an underground storage structure called a head

  • A head of garlic is composed of a dozen or more discrete cloves

  • Garlic actually creates the chemicals that give it its sharp flavor when the plant’s cells are damaged, as when the clove is broken by chopping, chewing, or crushing

Uses


  • High cholesterol (evidence is mixed)

  • Atherosclerosis

  • High blood pressure (evidence is mixed)

  • Possibly useful in preventing certain types of cancer, including stomach cancer, although no clinical studies have proven this

How it works

Side effects and warnings


  • Most adults can use garlic safely

  • People taking insulin need to use caution when consuming medicinal amounts of garlic, because garlic may help to regulate blood sugar levels

  • Use with anticoagulants could increase risk of bleeding

  • If preparing garlic-oil combination, it is important to store properly—not at room temperature—and to always add acid to prevent botulism spores from growing



References and recommended readings


MedlinePlus. Garlic. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/300.html. Accessed March 29, 2011.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Garlic. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/garlic/ataglance.htm. Accessed March 29, 2011.

Review Date 5/11



G-1644

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