Skip to main content

Antioxidant activity of allicin, an active principle in garlic


Garlic has been claimed to be effective against diseases, in the pathophysiology of which oxygen free radicals (OFRs) have been implicated. Effectiveness of garlic could be due to its ability to scavenge OFRs. However, its antioxidant activity is not known. We investigated the ability of allicin (active ingredient of garlic) contained in the commercial preparation Garlicin to scavenge hydroxyl radicals (·OH) using high pressure liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method. ·OH was generated by photolysis of H2O2 (1.25–10 μmoles/ml) with ultraviolet light and was trapped with salicylic acid which is hydroxylated to produce ·OH adduct products 2,3- and 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHBA). H2O2 produced a concentration-dependent ·OH as estimated by ·OH adduct products 2,3-DHBA and 2,5-DHBA. Allicin equivalent in Garlicin (1.8, 3.6, 7.2, 14.4, 21.6, 28.8 and 36 μg) produced concentration-dependent decreases in the formation of 2,3-DHBA and 2,5-DHBA. The inhibition of formation of 2,3-DHBA and 2,5-DHBA with 1.8 μg/ml was 32.36% and 43.2% respectively while with 36.0 μg/ml the inhibition was approximately 94.0% and 90.0% respectively. The decrease in ·OH adduct products was due to scavenging of ·OH and not by scavenging of formed ·OH adduct products. Allicin prevented the lipid peroxidation of liver homogenate in a concentration-dependent manner. These results suggest that allicin scavenges ·OH and Garlicin has antioxidant activity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Rietz B, Isensee H, Strobach H, Makdessi S, Jacob R: Cardioprotective actions of wild garlic (Allium ursinum) in ischemia and reperfusion. Mol Cell Biochem 119: 143–150, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Isensee H, Rietz B, Jacob R: Cardioprotective actions of garlic (Allium sativum). Drug Res 43: 94–98, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Arora RC, Arora S, Gupta RK: The long-term use of garlic in ischemic heart disease: An appraisal. Atherosclerosis, 40: 175–179, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Foushee DB, Ruffin J, Banerjee U: Garlic as a natural agent for the treatment of hypertension: A preliminary report. Cytobios 34: 145–152, 1982

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Ernst E, Weihmayr TH, Matrai A: Garlic and blood lipids. Brit Med J 291: 139, 1985

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Kiesewetter H, Jung F, Fung EM, Blume J, Mrowietz C, Birk A, Koscielny J, Wenzel E: Effects of garlic coated tablets in peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Clin Invest 71: 383–386, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Jain RC: Onion and garlic in experimental cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis. Ind J Med Res 64: 1509–1515; 1976

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Mirhadi SA, Singh S: Effect of garlic supplementation to cholesterolrich diet on development of atherosclerosis in rabbits. Ind J Exptl Biol 29: 162–168, 1991

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Prasad K, Kalra J: Oxygen free radicals and hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis: Effect of vitamin E. Am Heart J 125: 958–973, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Prasad K, Kalra J, Lee P: Oxygen free radicals as a mechanism of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis: Effects of probucol. Intl J Angiol 3:100–112, 1994

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Steinberg D: Antioxidants in the prevention of human atherosclerosis. Circulation 85: 2338–2345, 1992

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Simpson PJ, Lucchesi BR: Free radicals and myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury. J Lab Clin Med 110: 13–30, 1987

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Prasad K, Debnath D, Kalra J, Lee P: Effects of dimethylthiourea on the cardiac function and oxyradical status in ischemia-reperfusion injury. Ann NY Acad Sci 723: 375–379, 1994

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Prasad K, Kalra J, Bharadwaj B, Chaudhary AK: Increased oxygen free radical activity in patients on cardiopulmonary bypass undergoing aorto-coronary bypass surgery. Am Heart J 123, 37–45, 1992

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Prasad K, Kapoor R, Kalra J: Methionine in protection of hemorrhagic shock: Role of oxygen free radicals and hypochlorous acid. Circ Shock 36: 265–276, 1992

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Prasad K, Laxdal VA: Evaluation of hydroxyl radical scavenging property of purpurogallin using high pressure liquid chromatography. Mol Cell Biochem 135: 153–158, 1994

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Prasad K, Laxdal VA: Hydroxyl radical-scavenging property of indomethacin. Mol Cell Biochem 136: 139–144, 1994

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Floyd RA, Henderson R, Watson JJ, Wong PK: Use of salicylate with high pressure liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection (LCED) as a sensitive measure of hydroxyl free radical in adriamycintreated rats. J Free Rad Biol Med 2: 13–18, 1986

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Tong-Mak I, Boehme P, Weglicki WB: Antioxidant effects of calcium channel blockers against free radical injury in endothelial cells: Correlation of protection with preservation of glutathione levels. Circ Res 70: 1099–1103, 1992

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Prasad K, Gupta JB: Influence of hydroxyl radical on rabbit airway smooth muscle chronically exposed to H2O2 in vivo. Am J Physiol 264: L566-L574, 1993

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Kapoor R, Prasad K: Role of oxyradicals in cardiovascular depression and cellular injury in hemorrhagic shock and reinfusion: Effect of SOD and catalase. Circ Shock 43: 79–94, 1994

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Onodera T, Ashraf M: Detection of hydroxyl radicals in the postischemic reperfused heart using salicylate as a trapping agent. J Mol Cell Cardiol 23: 365–370, 1991

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Lawson LD, Ransom DK, Hughes BG: Inhibition of whole blood platelet-aggregation by compounds in garlic clove extracts and commercial garlic products. Thromb Res 65: 141–156, 1992

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kailash Prasad.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Prasad, K., Laxdal, V.A., Yu, M. et al. Antioxidant activity of allicin, an active principle in garlic. Mol Cell Biochem 148, 183–189 (1995).

Download citation

Key Words

  • allicin
  • garlicin
  • hydroxyl radical
  • 2,3-dihydroxybenzoic acid
  • 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid
  • antioxidant