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Year : 1978  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 98-102  

Some observations on the mechanism of fibrinolytic enhancing effect of garlic during alimentary lipaemia in man

KK Sharma1, SP Sharma2, RC Arora3,  
1 Department of Pharmacology, M.L.B. Medical College, Jhansi.-284128., India
2 Department of Pathology, M.L.B. Medical College, Jhansi.-284128., India
3 Department of Medicine, M.L.B. Medical College, Jhansi.-284128., India

Correspondence Address:
K K Sharma
Department of Pharmacology, M.L.B. Medical College, Jhansi.-284128.


An increase in plasma cholesterol and fibrinogen and a decrease in blood fibrinolytic activity (BFA) was observed during alimen­tary lipaentia produced by an ingestion of a fatty breakfast by healthy volunteers. Addition of garlic in its both raw and boiled forms to fatty breakfast was found to prevent the rise in cholesterol end fibrinogen in blood and to produce an enhancement of BFA. Fibrinolytic enhancing effect of garlic seems to be mediated through an increase in blood activator of fibrinolysis. A decrease in blood cholesterol may also contribute to this action indirectly as increased concentration of this lipid was found to decrease the BFA.

How to cite this article:
Sharma K K, Sharma S P, Arora R C. Some observations on the mechanism of fibrinolytic enhancing effect of garlic during alimentary lipaemia in man.J Postgrad Med 1978;24:98-102

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Sharma K K, Sharma S P, Arora R C. Some observations on the mechanism of fibrinolytic enhancing effect of garlic during alimentary lipaemia in man. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1978 [cited 2023 Jan 29 ];24:98-102
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Full Text


Fibrinolytic enhancing effect of garlic (Allium sativum Linn) and an essential oil fraction of it has recently been reported. [2],[3] According to Fearnley, [7] a sub stance which enhances blood fibrinolytic activity (BFA), to be an useful therapeutic agent, must do so by increasing the blood activator rather than by de ,creasing the inhibitors of fibrinolytic Such an information is not available for garlic. The present study was under taken to investigate the mode of fibrinolytic enhancing effect of this dietary vegetable. Further an attempt has also been made to compare the hypocholesterolaemic and fibrinolytic enhancing effect of raw and boiled garlic. The latter infor­mation is important because of the reason that garlic is rarely consumed as raw, and is usually used as boiled or fried as such or with other food articles.

 Material and Methods

The study was carried out on eight healthy volunteers. Their ages ranged between 20 and 40 years and weights, 50 and 55.5 kg. All were non-smokers. Three serial experiments were performed on alternate days after an overnight (14 hr) fast. On day 1, at 9 A.M., after the fasting blood samples were collected, all subjects were given a fatty breakfast containing 100 g. butter with 6 bread slices (60 g) and 2 and 4 hour post­prandial blood samples were collected. In subsequent experiments, same procedure was repeated but 30 g of raw and boiled garlic cloves were added to the fatty breakfast on day 3 and 5, respectively. For administering boiled garlic, peeled garlic cloves were boiled for 30 min in distilled water (1:2 W/V). On both occasions garlic cloves were given as an aqueous extract. Blood samples were collected with strict low temperature technique, [7] and tests for estimation of BFA were undertaken within 30 minutes by the method of dilute blood clot lysis time (DBLT) of Fearnley et al [8] with the use of acetate buffer as diluents [5] and euglobulin clot lysis time (ELT) as des­cribed by Copley et al. [6] Determination of total cholesterol and fibrinogen were carried out in plasma by the methods described by King and Wootton. [14] To avoid the inverse relationship of clot lysis time and fibrinolytic activity, both DBLT and ELT were expressed in arbitrary units by multiplying the re­ciprocal of lysis time by 10,000. [4]


The results are recorded in [Table 1]. The ingestion of fatty breakfast produced a rise in plasma cholesterol and fibrino­gen by 15 and 21.8 per cent, respectively, whereas there was a decrease in DBLT by 30.2 per cent after 4 hr. When com­pared to respective fasting values these changes were found to be significant (p [7] Probably an anti-activator is also present. [21] Thus it contrast to DBLT, ELT is not influenced by an increase in blood lipids, [21],[23] in. creased concentration of some component of which is known to inhibit in vivo BFA. [10],[11],[12],[13],[15],[17] It has been reported that during hyperlipaemia one or more of the components of lipids such as cholesterol or triglycerides may act as antiplasmin. [17] This explains a decrease in BFA with rise in plasma lipids such as cholesterol when measured by DBLT. Another corollary of this interpretation is that a substance found to enhance the blood fibrinolysis when estimated by ELT, is re­garded to increase the level of blood activator of plasminogen [7],[22] as here fibrinolysis is measured in the absence of inhibitors. If it is accepted that physio­logical fibrinolysis is due to the presence of plasminogen activator and not due to free plasmin, [21] the results of the present study would suggest that fibrinolytic en­hancing effect of garlic is mediated via an increase in plasminogen activator activity. A reduction in blood cholesterol may also indirectly contribute to this action, as in­creased concentration of this lipid acts as an inhibitor of BFA. [10],[11],[12],[13] However it is not clear whether active principle of garlic by itself acts as an activator or in­creases the rate of release or formation of it in vivo. The latter action seems to be unlikely as the effect of garlic appeared within two hours.

An increase in plasma fibrinogen ac­companying hypercholesterolaemia was also reduced by garlic. This effect may be a consequence of hypocholesterolemic effect of garlic, [11] or may be due to an in­crease in plasminogen activator, which by enhancing the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin increases the lysis not only of fibrin but also of fibrinogen [1],[9] as seen in pathological fibrinolytic syndromes associated with hyperplasminaemia. [9],[21]

The observation that the effect of raw and boiled garlic were similar shows that the active principle for these effects is heat stable and water insoluble. How­ever, this conclusion does not concur well with the observation of Bordia et al, [2],[3] who found that a sulphur containing es­sential oil fraction is the active principle for the hypocholesterolaemic and fibrino­lytic accelerating effect of garlic, since all essential oils are volatile in nature and get evaporated off or destroyed on heating. We do not have a satisfactory explanation for this but it seems convincing at this stage to argue that the active essential oil is bound with some other constituent(s) of garlic in situ in the form that it is heat stable until isolated by chemical fraction­ation. This is in agreement with similar heat stable and water insoluble nature of the active principle of onion, [16],[18] is another family member of garlic, which has also been reported to produce fibrinolytic en­hancing effect during experimental hyper­lipaemia. [3],[11],[13],[16],[19],[20]


The authors would like to appreciate the help of Dr. (Mrs.) Sushma Gupta, Lecturer, Deptt. of Physiology, MLB Medical College, Jhansi in preparing this manuscript.


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