GARLIC - THE BEST DOCUMENTED MEDICINAL PLANT IN THE PREVENTION OF CARDIO-VASCULAR DISEASES
The development of modern antibiotics has changed the use of garlic. By the increase in general life span as well as cardiovascular diseases, garlic has been changed to a remedy with antiatherosclerotic indications.
Already in the 1920s the blood pressure lowering effect and in the 1930s the lipid lowering effect of garlic had been shown experimentally. In the 1970s the first publications appeared proving the lipid-lowering effect of garlic in humans. At that time the dosages were still extremely high with a daily uptake of up to 60 g of fresh garlic. In addition epidemiological comparisons of different population groups consuming garlic in different quantities confirmed the correlation between the amount of garlic uptake and the total cholesterol level in blood.
In several European countries garlic is a registered drug (Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Greece, Luxemburg, etc.). In Germany for example garlic has a registration for the indication hyperlipidaemia in conjunction with dietary measures and in the prevention of age-related vascular disease. The mean daily dosage was fixed at 4 g of fresh garlic or preparations comparable. The German monograph is based on the scientific literature before 1988 (Monograph Allii sativi bulbus, 1988). At that time point only few relevant placebo-controlled double-blind studies were available. In addition the garlic preparations were not standardized on the amount of active ingredients. Therefore there is an ongoing discussion regarding the question, whether garlic is effective in lowering blood cholesterol. While critical authors (Kleijnen, 1989, Schwandt, 1992) argue with older publications using high dosages and non-relevant study designs, other authors (Mansell, 1991, Brosche, 1991) conclude that relevant placebo-controlled double-blind studies exist, which prove the effectiveness of garlic in lowering blood cholesterol, mentioning that further investigations are to be expected.