Friday, June 30, 2000

Researchers target garlic mystery

Scientists are to attempt to discover once and for all whether garlic does protect against heart disease and cancer.

If they can verify anecdotal evidence that garlic can protect against Europe's two biggest killers, they will then attempt to pin down the chemical process by which this is achieved.

For years there has been a widespread belief that garlic promotes good health. But, there is little scientific data to support these stories.

The new four-year, pan-European study will attempt to remedy this.

Most tests will be carried out on human cell cultures and animals.

However, some tests, for instance on how garlic is absorbed into the gut, will be carried out on volunteers.

Dr Brian Thomas, of the UK-based Horticulture Research International (HRI), will play a leading role in the study.

He said: "Once we can identify the compounds that help prevent these two diseases within the garlic plant, we can maximise their potential."

"We are focusing on the interaction between the sulphur compounds within the garlic and human cardiovascular disease and cancer.

"When we are able to pinpoint the specific sulphur compounds and the genes that are responsible, we should be in a position to breed new garlic plants that can provide the ingredients for high quality health care.'

Source BBC News



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