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Keywords:

  • Complementary and alternative medicine;
  • dietary supplements;
  • effectiveness;
  • herbal medicine;
  • systematic review

Abstract

Background

Many authors have explored the intriguing possibility that the regular intake of Allium sativum (garlic) might reduce cancer risk. Most of this evidence is based on epidemiological data which, by its very nature, may not be fully convincing in establishing causality.

Objective

To critically evaluate the evidence of effectiveness of garlic extract for reducing cancer risk.

Methods

Five electronic databases and the authors' own departmental files were searched for relevant studies. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were included if they tested the effectiveness of garlic extracts or garlic compounds on cancer risk or related variables. The quality of included trials was determined using the Jadad score.

Results

Four eligible RCTs were identified. The quality of studies was mixed. The findings from these trials were not uniformly positive.

Conclusions

Evidence from RCTs lends little support to the notion that garlic reduces the risk of cancer.