Allium sativum

scientific name: 
Allium sativum L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Herbaceous plant with bulbs divided into cloves which are enveloped in a whitish skin.  Scape about 50 cm long.  Leaves smooth, 2 to 3 cm wide.  Umbel dense;flowers pink; ovary oblong-ovoid.








  bulb, crushed, poultice, applied locally3


bulb crushed, added to bath or rubbed on skin1

skin infection:

bulb crushed, added to bath or rubbed on skin1


bulb crushed, added to bath or rubbed on skin1


bulb, decoction, taken orally1-6,74,75


bulb, decoction, taken orally3


bulb, decoction, taken orally1-6,74,75


bulb, applied locally1-2

stress (mala sangre):

bulb, crushed, applied to forehead2


bulb, decoction, taken orally2-4

intestinal parasites:

bulb, decoction, taken orally4,74

The bulb of Allium sativum is widely used for human consumption.

The garlic bulb for medicinal purposes should be taken together with meals, so as to prevent gastro-intestinal problems71.

For fever, gastric bloating, nausea, flatulence and intestinal parasites:

Prepare a decoction with 2 to 5 grams of fresh garlic71 (1 to 2.5 cloves) or 2 to 4 grams of dried garlic71 in 1 cup of water (250 mL), boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot.  Cool and drink 1 cup 3 times a day.

For other forms of administration of garlic bulb, the daily consumption doses recommended by OMS71 are: for oil: 2 to 5 mg; for extracts, 300 to 1000 mg (as solid material).  Other type of pharmaceutical preparations should meet alliine values of 4-12 mg or allicine values of 2-5 mg71.

For treatment of skin conditions, pruritus, candidiasis, toothache, and earache:

2 to 5 g (1 to 2.5 cloves) of peeled fresh garlic; wash thoroughly and crush, then apply to the affected area twice a day.

Use for “bad blood” is a traditional cultural use of our communities and is not classified in the TRAMIL Program.

According to published and other information:

Use for skin conditions, pruritus, candidiasis, gastric bloating, nausea, flatulence, and intestinal parasites is classified as REC, based on significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and published scientific information.

Use for toothaches, earaches, and fever is classified as REC, based on significant traditional uses (OMS/WHO)7 documented by TRAMIL surveys.

The bulb can cause reactions of hypersensitivity.  For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

Due to the possibility that an earache could signal a middle or inner ear infection, immediate medical evaluation is recommended.  Do not use if there are secretions from the ear and/or possible perforation of the eardrum.  If the patient’s condition worsens or if the earache persists for more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

Contraindicated for use in hyperthyroidism8. The extracts from garlic interact with anticoagulant, antihypertensive and antidiabetic treatments.

Trabajo TRAMIL72 (will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

El bulbo fresco pelado y machacado, por vía tópica (parche con 6 mL/6 cm2 de piel/4 horas), modelo de irritabilidad dérmica aguda de Draize, a conejos albinos Nueva Zelanda (3 machos), se retiró el parche a las 4 horas y se lavó el área, se hicieron las lecturas de eritema y edema a 1, 24, 48 y 72 horas, mostró un índice de 0.55 que clasifica como ligeramente irritante.

Trabajo TRAMIL73 (will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

La decocción de bulbo fresco machacado sin pelar al 30% (rendimiento: 4,46 mg/mL), vía oral (volumen máximo de 2 mL/100 g de peso corporal; equivalente a 6 g de material vegetal/kg y a 928 mg/kg del contenido de sólidos totales extraídos), en rata, en el modelo de clases tóxicas agudas, no provocó muerte ni signos evidentes de toxicidad en las primeras 24 horas ni durante los 14 días de observación, ni evidenció cambios en los estudios histopatológicos.

The LD50 of the bulb extract administered orally, intraperitoneally or intravenously, was 30 mL/kg62.

An aqueous extract of the bulb caused uterotonic activity in pregnant female mice46.

An extract of the bulb administered in rats (2 g/kg) 5 times a week for 6 months showed no evidence of toxic effects63.

An aqueous extract from the bulb administered orally to male and female rats for 3 months (100 mg/day) did not cause changes in body weight or show any evidence of pathological alterations in the kidney, the heart, or the seminal vesicles (of the male).  The white and red blood cells count showed no change after treatment64.

The juice of the bulb added to the drinking water (5%) of rats caused no evident toxic effects65.

Externally, cataplasms with high concentrations of the bulb extract can cause necrosis of the skin66 and allergenic activity67.  Allergenic activity has also been reported upon internal oral administration of the aqueous extract, in rats and in humans with sensitivities68.

The oral administration of the bulb can cause irritation to the urinary tract in people who show specific sensitivity69.  Dosages of 350 mg/person (both sexes, ages 30 to 62) administered twice a day did not produce any toxic manifestations70.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or lactating women.

The bulb has been widely studied and it has, among other components, sulfur-containing compounds: ajoene and derivatives9, allicin10, allyl-methyl trisulfide and derivatives11-12, cycloalliine and derivatives13-14, diallyl-disulfide and derivatives, dimethyl sulfide15, allyl-methyl-disulfide and derivatives16, dimethyl thiosulfonate and derivatives17; sulfuric amino acids: alliine (which undergoes enzymatic oxidation and is converted into allicin, which is the intermediate product in the formation of the disulfurated derivatives of allyl, the final constituents of the essential oil)13, 5-butyl-cysteine-sulfoxide and derivatives18; lipids: cerebrosides19, prostaglandins A, B, E, and F20; alkaloids: phosphatydyl choline20, nicotinic acid21; diterpenes: gibberellin A-3 and A-722; carbohydrates: fructans of allium23-24; saponins: derivatives of eruboside25, sativoside, and tigonin26.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of the bulb27: calories: 117; water: 67.8%; protein: 3.5%; fat: 0.3%; carbohydrate: 27.4%; fiber: 0.7%; ash: 1%; calcium: 18 mg; phosphorus: 88 mg; iron: 1.5 mg; sodium: 18 mg; potassium: 373 mg; carotene: 0 µg; thiamine: 0.24 mg; riboflavin: 0.05 mg; niacin: 0.4 mg; ascorbic acid: 10 mg.

The bulb extract (25 mg/mL) and the alcoholic extract (0.01%)in vitro caused inhibition of epinephrine-induced platelet aggregation, determined by the higher production of nitrous oxide at intracellular level; the 0.01% aqueous extract showed a weak effect28.

Antifungal effects of the bulbin vitro have been documented, particularly against dermatophytes and pathogenic yeasts in humans29.  Other antifungal effects include inhibition of the synthesis of macromolecules of Candida albicans30 and antiviral activity against Herpes simplex and Influenza B, but not against Coxsackie31.

An aqueous extract of the bulb was active in vitro against Escherichia coli, Pasteurella multocida, Proteus sp and Staphylococcus aureus; but was inactive against Pseudomonas aeruginosa32.  Also, in vitro it inhibited the growth of Criptococcus neoformans33 and Aspergillus parasiticus34.

A hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) from the fresh crushed bulb (20 or 50% weight/volume), in concentrations of 50 and 100 µL/well, showed significant antifungal activity in vitro against Candida albicans, Epidermophyton floccosum, Trichophyton metagrophytes, andT. rubrum, and antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa35.

The hydromethanolic extract from the bulb (1:1)36 and an ethanolic tincture (10%) of the dried bulb (30 µL/disc) showed activity against gram + and gram - microorganisms 37.  In addition, the tincture was active against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa37.

The aqueous and methanolic extracts of the bulb (10 mg/mL) showed weak activity against Toxocara canis38.

The aqueous extract from the bulb (173 and 204 mL/kg) administered orally to rabbits was active against experimentally-induced shigellosis, after three days of treatment39.

A butanolic extract of the bulb (200 mg/kg) administered orally to mice showed vermifuge activity against Aspiculurus tetraptera40.

An ethanolic extract (95%) of the bulb (125 mg/kg) administered orally to mice was active as an antiasthenic41.

An aqueous extract (2 g/kg) administered orally to rats, in the granuloma pouch model and in the formalin model, showed weak anti-inflammatory activity42.

Intraperitoneal administration of the hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) in the carrageenan-induced pedal edema model in rats showed anti-inflammatory activity43.

An aqueous extract of the bulb administered as part of the diet of rats caused a decrease in cholesterol levels and protected against experimental atherosclerosis44.

The bulb showed antihepatotoxic activity in vivo and in vitro in rats45 , and has been reported to cause uterine stimulation in pregnant rodents46.

The bulb juice, applied externally to rabbits, showed antifungal activity against Microsporum canis47 and Sporotrichum shenkii48, and against the genera Epidermophyton, Trychosporum, Trichosporon, Rodotorula, and Torulopsis49.

In preclinical studies, oral administration of the bulb showed the following effects: coronary vasodilating, negative chronotropic and inotropic50-51 diuretic52-53, systemic vasodilating, platelet anti-aggregating, and hypocholesterolemic54.

Oral administration of the bulb has shown antihypertensive activity, reported in rats and in humans49-51.

A 4 g dose of the bulb administered orally to humans stimulated the synthesis of nitrous oxide28.

In a clinical study with 20 patients, the raw bulb increased fibrinolytic activity by 72% within 6 hours, and the cooked bulb increased it by 63%55.

In a sample of 29 patients with bloating, flatulence and nausea, the bulb (0.64 g/person) administered orally twice a day for two weeks showed carminative effects56.

In a clinical study with 564 cancer patients and a control group of 1131 people, a significant reduction of the risk of stomach cancer due to consumption of the bulb was reported57.

In a clinical study, the hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) of dried crushed bulb (20-50% weight/volume) applied topically twice a day for four weeks in 60 patients (15-60 years) both male and female, with mycologic diagnosis (direct and culture) of dermatophytes showed significant antimycotic effect, in comparison with 3% salicylic acid as control58.

The alcoholic extract of the bulb administered orally to rabbits showed hypoglycemic activity in 59% of the animals treated, in comparison to the group that received 500 mg of tolbutamide.  In a glucose overload test in rats, the extract of the dried bulb decreased the initial hyperglycemia; the powder of cured garlic increased levels of insulin in rat blood.  In a randomized, controlled study, the extract of dried garlic powder in non insulin-dependent diabetic patients caused an 11.6% decrease of the glycemia, versus 0% in the placebo group59.

In phytotherapy, garlic is used as an anti-infection agent, useful in the treatment of cholera and tuberculosis; generally speaking, as an antiseptic or a fungicide for dermatosis caused by pathogenic yeasts, especially Candida albicans, and as a vermifuge.  It also has the following effects: hypotensor; arteriolar and capillary vasodilator (peripheral and cerebral); negative chronotropic; hypolipidemic; antiatheroesclerotic; fibrinolytic; anticoagulant; coronary vasodilating; diuretic; platelet antiaggregating (due to the blocking action of the synthesis of thromboxane A2 via the inhibition of thromboxane-synthetase); antispasmodic; analgesic; neurotropic, eupeptic and choleretic60.

Oral administration in rabbits (1 g/kg) has revealed anticoagulant activity61.


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The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.