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Garlic as Therapeutic Treatment Against Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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This article aims to provide a benefit assessment for a garlic therapeutic properties as traditionally indicated for “respiratory diseases” within the current frame of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In the case of COVID-19, this is facilitated by glycosylated spike (S) proteins, which cover the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and attach to the host cell receptor. A type 2 serine protease located on the host cell membrane then promotes virus entry into the cell. Once in the cell, the viral RNA is replicated and structural proteins are synthesised, assembled and packaged in the host cell, after which more new viral particles are rerelease (Huang Y, Yang C, Xu X-F, et al. Structural and functional properties of SARS-CoV-2-spike protein: potential antivirus drug development for COVID-19. (Acta Pharmacol Sin 2020;41:1141–1149. doi:10.1038/s41401-020-0485-4).

The clinical spectrum of the infection goes from mild upper respiratory tract illness to the so-called ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome’: respiratory failure, shock, and multiple organ failure (Bai et al., 2020; Zhou et al., 2020); and may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, diarrhea, and lymphopenia (Rothan and Byrareddy, 2020), and high incidence of cardiovascular symptoms (Zheng et al., 2020).

Some preventative approaches such as lock-down of communities, social distancing, and quarantine-type for those suspected to be infected can, at least in part, slow the COVID-19 spread and, so, enable the health systems to cope. However, these measures are palliative, and people tend to ignore them after a few days of isolation, mainly those in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

The worldwide search for a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, news about “alternative remedies against COVID” have been disseminated. Laboratory studies that included the use of a lung model showed that it is theoretically possible to deliver allicin to the entire inner surface of the lung using an aqueous solution in a nebuliser, with obvious implications for the treatment of pulmonary ininfection(Reiter J, Levina N, van der Linden M, et al. Diallylthiosulfinate (Allicin), a Volatile Antimicrobial from Garlic (Allium sativum), Kills Human Lung Pathogenic Bacteria, Including MDR Strains, as a Vapor. Molecules 2017;22:1711.doi:10.3390/molecules22101711). However, there is no controlled studies involving nebulised allicin have yet appeared in the scientific literature. Allicin appears to be safe, cheap and freely available, and the use of this material in nebulised form could be worthy of further scientific investigation.

The presence of sulfur-containing phytochemicals in garlic (Allium sativum L.) provides substantial immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antitumor, antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, and cardioprotective features. The most important of sulfur constitutes (~ 82%) of garlic thiosulfinates (allicin), S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide (alliin), ajoenes (E- and Z-ajoene), vinyldithiins (2-vinyl-(4H) -1,3-dithiin, 3-vinyl-(4H)-1,2-dithiin), and diallyl (di and tri) sulfide. Also, there are some alliin-derived organosulfur compounds (OSCs) in garlic such as S-allyl-cysteine, S-ally-mercapto cysteine, and N-acetylcysteine [3]. The antiviral potential of garlic against a number of viruses like influenza B, HIV (type 1), vesicular stomatitis virus, herpes simplex virus (types 1 and 2), coxsackievirus species, and gammaretrovirus was earlier demonstrated (Chakraborty D, Majumder A. Garlic (Lahsun)–an immunity booster against SARS-CoV-2. Biotica Res Today. 2020;2(8):755–7.)

The strongest anti-coronavirus activity is expressed in allyl disulfide and allyl trisulfide, which account for the highest content in the garlic (51.3%). The results suggest that the garlic is a valuable natural antivirus source, which contributes to preventing the invasion of coronavirus into the human body.The results suggest that the garlic is a valuable natural antivirus source, which contributes to preventing the invasion of coronavirus into the human body.

The evidence-base for such treatments is non-existent or not yet proven. However, often strong, unsubstantiated claims are made about the pros and cons of herbal medicines, which will also result both in false hopes or strong fears of those at risk or ill with COVID-19.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Azurclesea

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