Garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa) : a review of their relationship to cardiovascular disease

Kendler, B.S.

Preventive Medicine 16(5): 670-685


ISSN/ISBN: 0091-7435
PMID: 3317392
DOI: 10.1016/0091-7435(87)90050-8
Accession: 040193997

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Garlic and onion have been used for millenia in the traditional medical practice of many cultures to treat cardiovascular and other disorders. Both Allium species, their extracts, and the chemical constituents of these plants have been investigated for possible effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors--both definite (hyperlipidemia, hypertension and hyperglycemia) and suspected (platelet aggregation and blood fibrinolytic activity). Action of these Allium species on blood coagulability is more clearly defined than their effect on the other risk factors. While many of the studies have serious methodological shortcomings, there is some evidence to suggest that use of certain formulations of garlic and/or onion is accompanied by favorable effects on risk factors in normal subjects and in patients with atherosclerotic disease. The possibility of toxicity resulting from acute and chronic ingestion of large amounts of these plants or their extracts is unresolved. Accordingly, further clinical and epidemiological studies are required before the role of these plants in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disorders is understood and can be realized. Additional research in this area is recommended.