Friday, November 30, 2001

Garlic 'fights malaria'

Compounds in garlic have been shown to be an effective treatment for malaria.

The finding provides yet more evidence that eating the humble bulb is an effective way to ward off a range of diseases.

Research has shown that garlic may tackle heart disease, cancer, the common cold and fungal infections.

The new work was carried out by a team from the University of Toronto.

Researcher Dr Ian Crandall said: "Does eating garlic influence the outcome of malaria? There is evidence that yes, it may."

The compounds, called disulfides, occur naturally in garlic, onions and mahogany trees, and are known to have antifungal, anticancer and antibacterial properties.

Source BBC News

Curry 'may slow Alzheimer's'

A spicy ingredient of many curries may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, say researchers.

A team from the University of California at Los Angeles believes that turmeric may play a role in slowing down the progression of the neurodegenerative disease.

The finding may help to explain why rates of Alzheimer's are much lower among the elderly in India than in their Western peers.

Previous studies have found that Alzheimer's affects just 1% of people over the age of 65 living in some Indian villages.

Clove extract neutralises asbestos fibres

Cloves are legendary for their power to numb toothache and, unlikely as it seems, the aromatic spice looks destined for a role in removing asbestos, the fibrous mineral once used routinely to fireproof buildings.

Alternatives to conventional techniques are desperately needed. Usually buildings have to be sealed off during mechanical removal, with air pressure differentials imposed to stop the deadly fibres escaping into the air.

Workers must wear protective clothing to avoid breathing in the lethal fibres, which cause lung cancer and mesothelioma - a cancer of the lung cavity. Even with these precautions, fibres can linger in the air for more than four years, according to research by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Now Italian chemists have neutralised the lethal fibres using an extract of cloves. When the liquid extract touches the surface of asbestos, it instantly hardens into a polymer similar to lignin, which gives wood its strength. All the potentially hazardous fibres are harmlessly embedded in the polymer and can't float off into the air.

Source New Scientist