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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 214

Anticryptococcal activity of garlic extract - A preliminary report

Department of Microbiology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana - 141 008, India

Correspondence Address:
Department of Microbiology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana - 141 008, India

How to cite this article:
Lal M, Kaur H, Gupta L K. Anticryptococcal activity of garlic extract - A preliminary report. Indian J Med Microbiol 2003;21:214

How to cite this URL:
Lal M, Kaur H, Gupta L K. Anticryptococcal activity of garlic extract - A preliminary report. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2003 [cited 2021 Mar 5];21:214. Available from:

Dear Editor,
Garlic (Allium sativum) is considered as one of the most useful herbal remedies. It has been advocated for various ailments like headache, bites, tumours and worm infestations.[1] It has expectorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant and diuretic properties. More recently, it has been investigated for antimicrobial, lipid lowering, fibrinolytic and antiplatelet effect.[2] The principal active ingredient of garlic is Allicin, a sulphur containing compound. Allicin, along with breakdown products is responsible for its characteristic odour. Garlic has many other active compounds.[1] To elucidate the antifungal activity of garlic, a preliminary study was carried out using the aqueous extract of garlic and culture of Cryptococcus neoformans.
The extract was prepared by grinding ten average sized garlic cloves which weighed 12 grams in total, in 30mL of boiled and cooled water. It was first strained through linen and then sterilized by passing through membrane filter. Cryptococcal suspension was prepared by taking a 72 hour old growth on Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) and three tubes with five milliliter sterile saline in each. A suspension of C.neoformans was prepared in each of the three tubes to match tube No. 7 of McFarland standard.
In two tubes of C. neoformans suspensions garlic extract was added in 0.5mL and 1mL quantity each. The total volume in each tube was made to 7mL by adding 1.5mL (tube no. 1) and 1mL of sterile saline (tube no. 2) respectively. The third tube with 2mL sterile saline without garlic extract, served as a control. From each of the three tubes, subculture was done on SDA by lawn culture technique using standard calibrated loop of 0.01mL capacity. These subcultures were done after 1 hour and 4 hour of incubation at 37C and a colony count was performed. At the end of the study period the colony count was 99,000 cfu/mL in the control tube at one hour which raised marginally to 1,17,000 cfu/mL at four hours. In tube 1, with 0.5mL garlic extract, the colony count was 3,600 cfu/mL at the end of one hour and after the end of four hours there was complete inhibition of growth. In tube 2, with 1mL of extract, the colony count of C. neoformans was mere 300 cfu/mL at the end of one hour and there was complete inhibition of growth at the end of four hours.
A 96.4% decrease in colony count of C. neoformans was seen when the suspension was exposed to 0.5mL garlic extract for 1 hour and a 97.7% decrease was observed in the tube with 1mL extract at 1 hour. A 100% reduction in the colony count was seen following exposure for four hours both in tube no. 1 and 2. Thus an aqueous extract of garlic was found to have anticryptococcal activity with a definite decrease in the colony count of the organism. The decrease was reciprocal to the time of exposure and to amount of garlic extract.
Medicinal plants are an important source of practical and inexpensive drugs for people throughout the world. Garlic use also has the potential for inducing bronchospasm, vomiting, diarrhoea, hypoglycaemia and contact dermatitis.[3] An in vitro synergism of concentrated Allium sativum extract and amphotericin B has been demonstrated against C. neoformans in a study at Albuquerque.[4] Antifungal effect of garlic extract has also been demonstrated against Aspergillus species involved in otomycosis.[5]
Our study highlights the antifungal property of garlic by its inhibitory effect on C. neoformans. An attempt has been made to standardise the procedure, however extensive trials using different types of extract and determination of minimum inhibitory concentration would make interesting in vitro study. Considering the potential toxicity of existing antifungal drugs, a possible therapeutic or additive role of garlic in treatment of cryptococcal infections is envisaged and hypothesised. 

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1.Mansell P, Reckless J. Garlic - Effect on serum lipids, blood pressure, coagulation, platelet aggregation and vasodilatation. British Med J 1991;303:379.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Reynolds EF. Martindale: The extra pharmacopoeia: 31st ed. (The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, London) 1996.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Candula V, Mongil J, Carracosa M, Docio S, Cagigas P. Garlic: Always good for the health. British J Dermatol 1995;132:161-162.   Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Davis LE, Shen J, Royer RE. In vitro synergism of concentrated Allium sativum extract and amphotericin B against Cryptococcus neoformans. Lett Appl Microbiol 1995;20:14-18.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Pai ST, Platt MV. Antifungal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract against the Aspergillus species involved in otomycosis. Clin Microbiol 1992;30:2881-2886.  Back to cited text no. 5    
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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

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