Research: RIVLIN, Strang Cancer Research Laboratory and Department of Medicine,

Listed in Issue 138


RIVLIN, Strang Cancer Research Laboratory and Department of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA,, has discussed the question whether garlic is an alternative medicine.

Abstract: Garlic has been used medicinally since antiquity. In virtually every early civilization known, such as ancient India, Egypt, Rome, China, and Japan, garlic was part of the therapeutic regimen for a variety of conditions. Therefore, the ancient medicinal tradition of garlic use would qualify it as a folk medicine or as an alternative or complementary medicine. But is garlic an alternative to established methods of disease prevention or treatment? Scientists from around the world have identified a number of bioactive substances in garlic, both water-soluble ones (for instance S-allyl methylcysteine) and fat-soluble ones (for instance diallyldisulfide). Mechanisms of action are being elucidated by modern technology. Preventive and therapeutic trials of garlic are still in early stages. There are many promising lines of research suggesting the potential effects of garlic. The current state of knowledge does not recognize garlic as a true alternative, but it will likely find a place for garlic as a complement to established methods of disease prevention and treatment. Our goal should be to examine garlic together with other agents to evaluate its possible efficacy and toxicity for use in humans.






Rivlin RS. Is garlic alternative medicine? 136 (3 Suppl): 713S-715S, Mar 2006.


There already a fairly well-established body of research literature regarding efficacy of garlic for many conditions, including the following numerous research updates on the following search page of the PH website:

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