Garlic Shown to Be Effective Therapy for Heart Conditions

Drug Topics, May 20, 1991 | Go to article overview

Garlic Shown to Be Effective Therapy for Heart Conditions


Garlic, that potent herb, may be taking a leap from the kitchen to the medicine cabinet.

A recent press conference in New York City sponsored by Corapolis, Pa.-based Lichtwer Pharma U.S., unveiled the results of recent studies among European doctors and university sites. This research showed garlic to be an effective agent for reducing high cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure; results showed as well that garlic has a positive effect on blood circulation, plasma viscosity, dilation of arteries, platelet aggregation, and intermittent claudication.

Garlic, like all plants, is a complex compound containing more than 200 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and other components, explained Lichtwer. Allicin, a garlic chemical reaction byproduct, is the plant's most documentable biochemically active component, Dennis McNamara, professor of pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine, told the press conference. Allicin is produced in the body when garlic's two components, alliin and allinase, are digested.

With this in mind, Lichtwer developed Kwai Highly Concentrated Garlic Tablets, containing a standardized amount of alliin and allinase that will convert easily to allicin in the body. "In a clove of raw garlic, there's no way to ascertain the right ingredients are there," Joe Veilleux, v.p.-general manager of Lichtwer Pharma, told Drug Topics. "And our tablets yield no odor." Kwai tablets are designed to be swallowed whole; chewing them produces a garlic odor.

Each Kwai tablet contains 100 mg of compressed garlic powder. Doses above 300 mg (three Kwai tablets) were effective in the studies at producing clinical effects. At doses above 600 mg, the effects were more pronounced, but the incidence of garlic odor also increased. Therefore, the recommended dosage is one to two tablets three times daily, said Lichtwer.

In the studies reported at the press conference, Kwai tablets or their equivalent proved to have definite medicinal values. A study conducted by the German Association of General Practitioners found:

* Cholesterol. In this study, 261 patients were randomized and received either 800 mg of garlic tablets, equivalent to Kwai, per day (standardized to contain 1.3% alliin), or placebo; they maintained this therapy for four months. In patients receiving the garlic powder, cholesterol levels were reduced by 12% and triglyceride levels by 17%. The patients with higher baseline levels of cholesterol achieved greater cholesterol lowering.

Studies at either Aachen or Hom-Burg/Saar universities in Germany showed the following:

* Blood pressure. …

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