Researchers have found that allicin, a chemical found in garlic that gives it its flavor, could be used to fight cancer. A previous study also found that allicin can fight MRSA, or staph infection. Although allicin is toxic, it breaks down quickly and harmlessly when eaten. The chemical is not present in unbroken cloves of garlic, but is produced when the clove is broken.
It is through this natural chemical reaction that allicin may be able to fight cancer. Researchers recreated the toxic reaction between alliinase and alliin (the two components that covert to allicin) at tumor sites by using an antibody that had been programmed to recognize tumor cells. The antibody was bound to alliinase and injected into the bloodstream to find cancer cells.
Alliin was also injected, and when the two components come together to form allicin, the reaction penetrates and kills the tumor cells.
Researchers say the finding is encouraging, and believe the method could work for most types of cancers as long as an antibody could be designed to recognize different types of cancer cells.
BBC News December 31, 2003
Garlic is one of my favorite foods, and it is one food that you should be eating every day. Previous studies have shown that garlic may have a potential role in lowering one’s cholesterol levels and now more studies prove that garlic may help prevent cancer.
It is important to note that the garlic MUST be fresh. The active ingredient allicin is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic. When you use the garlic it will be important to compress the garlic with a spoon prior to swallowing it if you are not going to cook it with food or juice it. If you swallow the clove intact you will not convert the allicin to its active form.