Allium sativum

A bulbous perennial growing to 1-3ft (1m) in height. It is usually divided into several cloves within a multilayered membranous coat which later dries to form a papery protective layer. The leaves are long, narrow and flat resembling grass. The flowers rise directly from the bulb at the end of the stalk, whitish in colour and grouped together in a globular head. The seeds are usually fertile but garlic is usually grown in cloves.

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Garlic is a key herb in Sustain and Immunity

Habit and cultivation: Now grown throughout the world, garlic originates from Asia. The cloves are usually planted midwinter as garlic requires a chilly period (below 10C) before the warmer weather of spring and summer sets in. It flourishes best in rich, moist, sandy soil, free from weeds and is harvested the following summer.

Actions (known for): Anti-microbial, anti-hypertensive, anti-tumorigenic, anti-thrombotic, anthelmintic, hypolipidaemic, expectorant, hypocholesterolaemic, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue and diaphoretic.


Garlic was largely consumed by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Ancient Greeks who ate garlic were not allowed into the Temples of Cybele. An old Mohammedan legend says that when Satan entered the Garden of Eden after the fall of man, garlic sprang up where he placed his left foot and onion where his right foot touched. Many superstitions in Europe grew with regard to keeping competitors at bay in running races and horse races by having eaten garlic or tying it to the body or horse. It has been mentioned since Ancient Greek times for its medicinal value. Traditionally used as a treatment for worms, tumors, arthritis and heart disorders, an ancient ‘cure-all’. It was used to dress wounds during the First World War.

Parts used:


Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Volatile oil about 2% including sulphur containing compounds accounting for over 90% of the volatile oil – alliin, allicin, ajoene and various other sulphides.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: A, B1, C and E.


Treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis, elevated blood lipids and thrombosis. Reduces blood pressure, decreases blood viscosity. Hypertension, phlebitis, varicose veins, hyperlipidaemia, respiratory infections including throat and tonsils, influenza, asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis, recurrent colds and whooping cough. It is also anti-microbial to the gut, stimulates digestive secretions and promotes regular peristaltic action and can be useful in the treatment of typhoid, cholera, worms, dysentery, food poisoning, and flatulence. Increases assimilation of B1.


Liquid extract (1:1): 40-80ml per week. Fresh: 2-5g pieces bruised, crushed or chewed bulbs.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Over 1000 research papers have been published on the medicinal effects of garlic. It has been proven to lower cholesterol, keep the blood thin and prevent against blood clots, to have antibiotic activity and to lower raised blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Increases Natural-Killer cells, improves the treatment of leprosy, increases the potential to kill tumour cells and improves the treatment of tuberculosis.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Has been known to cause GI upset, heartburn, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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