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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

Garlic is the ripe bulb of Allium sativum Linn., belonging to family Liliaceae.






Allium; Lasan (Hindi).


Biological Source


Garlic is the ripe bulb of Allium sativum Linn., belonging to family Liliaceae.


Geographical Source


Garlic occurs in central Asia, southern Europe, and United States. It is widely cultivated in India.


Cultivation and Collection


The cultivation of Garlic is similar to that of onion. It is generally grown as an irrigated crop throughout the year. It can be grown under a wide range of climatic conditions but it succeeds best in mild climates without extremes of heat and cold. It is grown on a wide variety of soils. It requires a rich well-drained clay loam to grow well. The land is well ploughed to a fine tilth, beds, and channels are made. Garlic is planted during October–November in plains and during February–March in the hills. The cloves are separated and pressed lightly into the soil. Garlic requires heavy manuring.




It is a perennial herb having bulbs with several cloves, enclosed in a silky white or pink membraneous envelope.


                                    Allium sativum

Chemical Constituents


Allicin, a yellow liquid responsible for the odour of garlic, is the active principle of the drug. It is miscible with alcohol, ether, and benzene and decomposes on distilling. The other constituents reported in Garlic are alliin, volatile and fatty oils, mucilage and albumin. Alliin, another active principle, is odourless, crystallized from water acetone and practically insoluble in absolute alcohol, chloroform, acetone, ether, and benzene. Upon cleavage by the specific enzyme alliinase, an odour of garlic develops, and the fission products show antibacterial action similar to allicin. Essential oil (0.06–0.1%) contains allyl propyl disulphide, diallyl disulphide, and allicin. γ-Glutamyl peptides are isolated from the Garlic. The amino acids present in the bulb are leucine, methionine, S-propyl-L-cysteine, S-propenyl-L-cysteine, S-methyl cysteine, S-allyl cysteine sulphoxide (alliin), S-ethyl cysteine sulphoxide, and S-butyl-cysteine sulphoxide.





Garlic is carminative, aphrodisiac, expectorant, stimulant, and used in fevers, coughs, febrifuge in intermittent fevers, respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. It is also used in atherosclerosis and hypertension.


In Germany, garlic is consumed as a complement in the diet of hyperlipidemic patients and for the prophylaxis of the vascular changes induced by ageing. The garlic can cause gastrointestinal distress and alters breath and skin odour. Garlic or its constituents exhibit various biological activities, such as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antitumor, and antidiabetic effects.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Lasuna (Himalaya Drug Company) and Lashunadi bati (Baidyanath).


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