From: rpautrey2 on 21 Dec 2007 21:17
The Anti-fungal and
Anti-viral effects of Garlic
by Peter Josling B. Sc. (Hons.) first published in Mostly Garlic
The antibiotic properties of garlic have earnt it the popular name
"nature's antibiotic" but this incredible stinking rose can provide a
"full house" of activity against fungi, yeast's and viral infections.
The antifungal properties of garlic have long been used in folk
medicine for the treatment of Candida infections, especially those of
The first serious published evidence was produced by Schmidt and
Marquardt in 1936 when they demonstrated the extraordinary fungistatic
and fungicidal action of freshly pressed garlic juice and dried garlic
with epidermophyte cultures. Later, American and Russian authors
reported similar findings almost simultaneously, and since then,
numerous studies have appeared in which the inhibition of fungal
growth by garlic and/or its constituents, mainly allicin, is
Further evidence that allicin is responsible for the anticandidal
activity of garlic has been demonstrated in a study where pure allicin
was found to be highly active - with a minimum inhibitory
concentration (MIC) of only 7 ug/mL. The study also showed that
several varieties of onion had much less anticandidal and
antibacterial activity than garlic (Hughes & Lawson, 1991).
Growth and respiration are also inhibited by garlic juice in Candida
albicans, Trichophyton cerebriforme, and T.granulosum. At a dilution
of 1:1000, garlic juice had no harmful effect on tissue cultures, such
as chicken embryos or kidney cells; however, it completely inhibited
the growth of yeast.
Effect of allicin on various
Microorganisms are much more sensitive to the active constituents of
garlic than are higher organisms. In 1960 several workers carried out
some model experiments with various yeast strains (Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, S.ellipsoideus, S.carlsbergensis) and enzymatically-
produced allicin. Total growth inhibition occurred with the original
strains, but not with some mutants of the yeasts. Some of the
dermatophytes against which garlic is effective are Microsporum
gypseum, Trichophyton terrestre, Malbranchea pulchella, and
Chrysosporium tropicum. Effectiveness against Aspergillus parasiticus,
Aspergillus ochraceus, Penicillum patulum, P.roqueforti, and
P.citrinum has also been reported. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida
albicans, Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and T.rubrum
are further species responding to garlic.
Activity was also observed against Candida albicans, Aspergillus
parasiticus, A.flavus, and A.ochreus. At dilutions of 1:200 to 1:1600,
garlic juice exhibits fungistatic activity to Aspergillus niger,
A.orzae, Rhizopus nigricans, and Mucor racemosus. At higher
concentrations it is effective against Didium lactis, Penicillium
glaucum, and P.notadum.
American Researchers tested 139 species of pathogenic fungi and
yeast's for their in vitro sensitivity to aqueous garlic extract. The
results were quite variable, since many microorganisms did not grow at
all while others grew well. From these results, it can be seen that
the antifungal effect is specific and not general. On several yeast's
which grow on foods or are used industrially, it was observed that
even very small amounts (25 ppm) of garlic oil have a strong
Annually, about 120 Americans fall victim to coccidiosis ("valley
fever"), an intestinal disease caused by certain pathological fungi,
including Coccidioides immitis, Auxarthron zufiiaanum, and
Uncinocarpus resii. All of these fungi are sensitive to garlic
extracts. Furthermore the effectiveness of an aqueous garlic extract
against a series of human pathogenic fungi and yeasts, which
originated from patients with infectious vaginitis containing Candida,
Cryptococcus, Rhodotorula, Torilopsis, and Trichosporon were all
inhibited or killed by garlic extract at a dilution of 1:1024.
Upadhyay and colleagues in 1980 tested the susceptibility of fresh
garlic juice of a large number of fungi and yeasts isolated from the
tears of patients with eye diseases. A remarkable antimycotic activity
was observed, and the authors recommended the application of juice in
Aqueous garlic extracts have been shown in China to have good success
in curing patients of life-threatening cryptococcal meningitis (Hunan
Medical College, 1980).
In poultry farming, the addition of 2-5% garlic (chips or extract) to
the feed is used for the prevention of mycocis in the animals. Garlic
was also effective against Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus.
In veterinary practice, garlic extract is used for treatment of
infected wounds, in calves, for example, and for promotion of wound
healing. In India, a garlic preparation is used for scabies in pigs!
Comparative studies on the effects of garlic juice and the
pharmaceutical preparations, nystatin, griseofulvin, and amphotericin
B against Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Goetrichum
candidum, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Epidmophyton mentagrophytes have
shown that the antimycotic activity of garlic exceeds that of ALL the
How garlic exerts this incredible activity against Candida albicans is
still much of a mystery. However it is known that garlic extract
caused damage to the outer surface of the fungal cells and caused
several alterations in the fat content. It is also probable that
garlic may reduce the adhesion of Candida cells to the mouth.
Tests for possible application of garlic oil and recently available
stabilised allicin [more details] to control various phytopathogenic
fungi in agriculture have revealed a considerable activity against
these pests. In a field study with peanut and mung bean plants, garlic
oil (50-10,000 ppm) was found to be protective. Gibberella zeae, a
parasite of maize, is inhibited by garlic oil (8,000-10,000 ppm) more
effectively than by pesticides. The larvae of Trogoderma granarium
Everts, another parasite on maize kernels, can be controlled by 1-2%
garlic oil. Other Allium species, especially onion and leek, inhibit a
variety of rot fungi.
Aqueous extracts of garlic and Chinese chive (Aspergillus tuberosum)
have good fungicidal properties but do not inhibit plant growth. There
is evidence that certain plant phenols are involved in pathogen
resistance of roots.
Aged garlic extract, which contains no allicin or allicin-derived
compounds, was found in vitro to have no anticandidal or other
antifungal activity. (Hughes & Lawson, 1991)
Garlic oil (steam-distilled) is also an effective remedy against wood-
destroying fungi such as Lenzites trabea, Plyporus vesicolor and
Lentinus lepideus. Therefore, it has been suggested that garlic should
be planted between railroad ties and along fences, in order to prevent
premature decay of the wood. Of course, the antifungal components of
garlic also protect garlic itself from fungal infestation!
Currently relatively few publications exist to show the activity of
garlic and its components against viral infections. However the
evidence that does exist shows clearly that garlic, or more
accurately, allicin, has significant in vitro and in vivo activity.
Among the viruses that are sensitive to garlic extracts are the human
cytomegalovirus, influenza B, herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2,
parainfluenza virus type 3, vaccinia virus, vesicular stomatitis virus
and human rhinovirus type 2.
It was reported that, during an influenza epidemic, the former Soviet
Union once imported 500 tons of garlic for the acute treatment of the
Garlic therefore acquired the name "Russian Penicillin". Indeed it was
also reported that Radio Stations in Moscow advised their listeners to
go out and buy more garlic to eat during the epidemic! In eastern
Europe and in the South and East Asian countries (India and China),
garlic is used as a substitute for the probably more effective, but
often much too expensive, western medications.
Before the development of vaccines against poliomyelitis, garlic was
used successfully as a prophylactic against polio. It was also
observed that garlic was very effective against viral influenza A.
In the UK recently, we have shown that pure stabilised allicin has
demonstrated significant activity against herpes simplex type 1 after
only a few topical applications. Patients report a slight stinging on
application, but interestingly the smell disappears extremely
For any readers with a young family, this author and co-workers have
also demonstrated that allicin can conquer a troublesome viral
infection known as molluscum contagiosum. This is a very distressing
condition often found in young children between the ages of 2 and 5
years old. A rash appears on the trunk or genitals and eventually
nasty wheals, that burst, and often leave scarring can really upset
young children. No prescribed pharmaceutical agent works at all. Yet
after only a few applications of allicin liquid directly to the spots,
they disappear without leaving any significant marks!
A further allicin type preparation for parenteral use has also claimed
activity against viral infections, among them AIDS. A patent has even
protected this application!
Significant activity against influenza viruses was also shown with
intranasal and intramuscular application of an aqueous garlic extract
in mice. Prophylactic application prolonged the survival time of the
animals. Sodium fluoride enhanced the antiviral effect of garlic
A single report is available on the effectiveness of garlic against
rickettsia. Kumar and co-workers (1981) conducted an experiment with
Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent for Q fever, in chickens. Among
the results were delayed and weaker antibody reaction for the
prophylactically treated chickens (daily fed 2g chopped cloves per
animal) and faster recovery than the animals of the control group.
From these results, the authors inferred that garlic is also effective
against the whole group of viruses of this type.
Several compounds from garlic as well as several types of commercial
garlic products have been investigated for virucidal activity toward
several viruses. Ajoene was more active than allicin and other
thiosulfinates, while no activity was found for alliin. Only
commercial products capable of producing allicin showed any virucidal
With the FDA and the UK authorities recently granting a pharmaceutical
license for the new GlaxoWellcome anti flu drug, Relenza this presents
an ideal marketing opportunity for the drug industry. Since here is a
drug that may reduce the symptoms of flu by a mere 2 days, yet will
cost up to $45 for a course of only 30 tablets. This amount will buy
an awful lot of garlic and I for one know which I would choose for the
flu this winter!
Peter Josling - Garlic Center - If you use this article anywhere
please quote The Garlic Center as the source of your material -
Email garlic(a)mistral.co.uk if you would like to join our list of free
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