Antileishmanial and Immunomodulatory Activity of Allium sativum (Garlic): A Review

J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):141-155. doi: 10.1177/2156587215623126. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


Leishmaniasis is caused by an obligate intracellular protozoa belonging to Leishmania genus. The current drugs for treatment of leishmaniasis possess many disadvantages; therefore, researchers are continuously looking for the more effective and safer drugs. The aim of this study is to review the effectiveness, toxicities, and possible mechanisms of pharmaceutical actions of different garlic extracts and organosulfur compounds isolated from garlic against Leishmania spp. in a variety of in vitro, in vivo and clinical trials reports. All relevant databases were searched using the terms "Allium sativum," "Garlic," "Allicin," "Ajoene," "Leishmania," "in vitro," "in vivo," and "clinical trial," alone or in combination from 5 English databases (Web of Science, PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Google Scholar) and 3 Persian databases (Scientific Information Database, Iran Medex, and Magiran) from 1990 to 2014. In summary, garlic with immunomodulatory effects and apoptosis induction contributes to the treatment of leishmaniasis.

Keywords: Allium sativum; Leishmania; ajoene; allicin; garlic; organosulfur compounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antiprotozoal Agents* / chemistry
  • Antiprotozoal Agents* / pharmacology
  • Disulfides / chemistry
  • Disulfides / pharmacology
  • Garlic*
  • Humans
  • Leishmania / drug effects*
  • Leishmaniasis / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Extracts* / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Sulfinic Acids / chemistry
  • Sulfinic Acids / pharmacology
  • Sulfoxides


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Disulfides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfinic Acids
  • Sulfoxides
  • allicin
  • ajoene