Background: Interest in herbal medicine is enjoying a renaissance at present. Garlic (Allium sativum) is an intriguing herb with a long history of medicinal use for a variety of diseases including ringworm infections.
Methods: Antidermatophytic activity of the aqueous extract of garlic (A. sativum) was investigated against 88 clinical isolates of dermatophytes by an agar dilution technique. The isolates included Microsporum canis (50), M. audouinii (5), Trichophyton rubrum (6), T. mentagrophytes (5), T. violaceum (12), T. simii (5), T. verrucosum (1), T. erinacei (1), and Epidermophyton floccosum (2). The results were compared with the minimal inhibitory concentrations of ketoconazole.
Results: The aqueous extract of garlic, diluted 1:150 and 1:100, had inhibited 50 and 90% of the isolates tested, whereas the respective values for ketoconazole were 1 and 2.5 micrograms/mL.
Conclusions: Garlic (A. sativum) could be used as an effective antidermatophytic agent. Further purification and extraction of the active principle of garlic would give a true antidermatophytic activity comparable to standard antifungal drugs.