The susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias under the conditions of cardiac ischemia and reperfusion was investigated in the Langendorff heart preparation of rats fed for eight weeks a standard chow enriched with 2% of pulverized wild garlic leaves. The isolated hearts were perfused with a modified Krebs-Henseleit solution. The incidence of ventricular fibrillation (VF) during 20 min occlusion of the descending branch of the left coronary artery (LAD) was significantly reduced in the wild garlic group as compared to untreated controls (20% vs 88%). The same holds for the size of the ischemic zone (33.6% vs 40.9% of heart weight). In the reperfusion experiments (5 min after 10 min ischemia), ventricular tachycardia (VT) occurred in 70% of the wild garlic group vs 100% in untreated controls and VF in 50% vs 90%. The time until occurrence of extrasystoles, VT or VR was prolonged. No significant alterations in cardiac fatty acid composition could be observed. Although the prostacyclin production was slightly increased in hearts of the wild garlic group, inhibition of cyclooxygenase by acetylsalicylic acid (ASA; aspirin) could not completely prevent the cardioprotective effects suggesting that the prostaglandin system does not play a decisive role in the cardioprotective action of wild garlic. Furthermore, a moderate angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibiting action of wild garlic was found in vitro as well as in vivo that could contribute to the cardioprotective and blood pressure lowering action of wild garlic. Whether a free radical scavenging activity of wild garlic is involved in its cardioprotective effects remains to be established.