Leslie Helou and Ha M Harris

Summary

Garlic possesses a variety of beneficial pharmacological properties affecting most notably the cardiovascular system (lipid management, decreased blood pressure, platelet inhibition, and decreased fibrinolytic activity), and the immune system as an antineoplastic and immunostimulant agent. It is also a potent antioxidant. Although its effects are modest in some clinical applications, its inherent safety and culinary benefits usually support its use when a mild clinical effect is acceptable. There is the potential for interactions with drugs possessing antiplatelet and anticoagulant effects. Additionally, potential induction of various cytochrome P450 enzymes warrants closer monitoring of drugs metabolized through this pathway when garlic is concomitantly administered.

Key Words: Allium sativum; antilipemic; platelet inhibition; antioxidants; cancer prevention; P450 enzyme induction.

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