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Garlic: a Superior Antimicrobial

Dear Friends,

Can you name this Beautiful Creature?

Over the next couple of weeks we will be looking at garlic as a medicinal food and why we have chosen it for our Therapeutic Foods line. It is fascinating to see how smart nature is—so read on to discover how garlic is effective in treating Klebsiella pneumoniae and other pathogens. Learn the simplicity and elegence of natural foods. Nature does not require processing to create beauty and health.

The Allium family is one of the most successful genera is the plant kingdom with 700 different species in the family. One of the major reasons for their success as a genus is that they have developed a very effective means of protecting themselves from pests such as bacteria, protozoa, fungus, molds and larger critters like insects and foraging animals. Instead of thorns, they use secondary metabolites for protection. What are secondary metabolites?

“Secondary metabolites are specialized substances considered to be dispensable, although their influence on the environment of the plant can be profound, allowing the plant to survive and thrive.” (Block, 2010) The Allium genera (garlic, onions, leeks, etc), when damaged or attacked by a pest, produce a group of compounds (secondary metabolites) called thiosulphanates, which have very strong antimicrobial properties.

The predominate thiosulphanate in fresh crushed garlic is allicin—comprising about 70 to 80%. The other thiosulphanates also have antimicrobial properties but we tend to focus on allicin because it is abundant and most importantly the most potent antimicrobial as measure by MICs. But there is some confusion about which of the thiosuphanates is the most potent. In the following calculations I hope to dispel some of that confusion.

There are some in the marketplace that promote ajoene as the most active of the three heavily researched allicin metabolites. What they are in fact saying is that when crushed garlic reacts with oil, the bi-product of the reaction is the production of three metabolites—ajoene, dithiins and allyl sulfides; and of these three metabolites, ajoene, is the most potent. They are not saying, and can’t say, that ajoene is more potent than allicin because it is not. Crushed garlic without the oil does not have ajoene or dithiins present because the allcin would need oil to react with to produce these compounds. If you let crushed garlic sit, the allicin gradually transforms into allyl sulfides, but not to ajoene or dithiins.

Allicin is a much more powerful antimicrobial than ajoene. If we look at the MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) for each, it becomes apparent. The MIC is the lowest concetration of an antimicrobial that will inhibit the visible growth of a microoganism. An MIC is generally regarded as the most basic laboratory measurement of the activity of an antimicrobial agent against an organism. The lower the MIC the more powerful the antimicrobial. The MIC for allicin with Staph aureus is 27, and the MIC for ajoene is 55. Allicin is twice as potent. The MIC for allicin with E. coli is also 27, and the MIC for ajoene is 150. Allicin is five times more potent. We normally don’t consider a substance as a serious antimicrobial with an MIC of 50 and above. The reason that garlic does not kill Lactobacillus and Bifido genera is that its MIC is over 200. The genius of Nature!

Next week I will continue our discussion on garlic. Below in the clinical notes I have listed some more of the MIC values for allicin as an antimicrobial. The numbers demonstrate the very powerful antimicrobial effect of whole garlic. Add it to your diet to spice up your food, take extra capsules of the Freeze Dried Organic Garlic to stop a cold, and treat against mold, virus and bacteria. The beauty of garlic is that it is both tasty and therapeutic.

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note:

MICs For Allicin

Bacteria (gram negative)—Helicobacter pylori 6-30, Klebsiella pneumoniae 8, Pophyromonas gingivalis 1.7, Pseudomonas aeruginosa 15, P. nigrescens 0.4.

Bacteria (gram postive)—E. faecalis 28, Proteus mirablis 15, Staph aureus 12-28, pyogenes 3.

Fungi—Aspergillus niger 32, Candida albicans 0.3, C. glabrata 0.3, C. krusei 0.3.

Parasitic protozoa—Entamoeba histolytica 30, Giardia lamblia 30, Leishmanial strains 5-30.

The Last Quiz Answer: In case you have figured this one out this is a girraff kissing a squirel. It is part of a collection that come from National Geographic Best Photos 09. Next week I will show you the whole set. They are wonderful.

I got this book for Dohrea as she is in school combining the disciplines of Social Justice and Literature and analyzing the ongoing conversation among different societies. Check out Isobel Coleman Paradise Beneath Her Feet – How Women are Transforming the Middle East (2010). I have included here the link to an interview with Coleman.

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