Biologically Active Organosulfur Compounds from Garlic and Onions: The Search for New Drugs

  • Eric Block
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 197)


Garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa), members of the well known and widely appreciated genus allium were valued by the early Egyptians and Romans both as
important dietary constituents and as medicinals for the treatment of many disorders, for example as evidenced by the discovery of garlic cloves and wooden models of onions among the relics found in the burial chambers of the pharaohs and as reported in the writings of the 1st century Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder1 Pliny wrote: “Garlic has very powerful properties, and is of great utility to persons on changes of water or locality. The very smell of it drives away serpents and scorpions, and, according to what some persons say is a cure for wounds made by every kind of wild beast, whether taken with the drink or food, or applied topically. ... Some persons have pre-scribed boiled garlic for asthmatic patients; while others, again have given it raw. ... Three heads of garlic, beaten up in vinegar, give relief in toothache; and a similar result is obtained by rinsing the mouth with a decoction of garlic, and inserting pieces of it in the hollow teeth. ...” Pliny also claimed onion to be effective against 28 different diseases.


Organosulfur Compound Diallyl Disulfide Garlic Chive Onion Extract Remarkable Transformation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Block
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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