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Garlic and health; the development of high quality garlic and its influence on biomarkers of artherosclerosis and cancer in humans for disease prevention


The product of garlic (Allium sativum L) in Europe is concentrated in Mediterranean countries, Spain, France and Italy. The price of European garlic is high, especially in comparison with Chinese garlic. This price deference could severely threaten the European garlic growers if there was a free market in Europe for garlic. However, to protect the European garlic growers the European Commision issued in 1993 a regulation that only 12000 tons of Chinese garlic can be imported annually. The aim of the plant part of this project is to develop methods, through improved seed technology and genetics, which will enable the European garlic growers to meet the internal demand for high quality products and to compete on the international level. Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are by far the leading causes of death and morbidity in the EU. The health cost spent on the treatment of these diseases reaches many billion EURO. Garlic has been used for a long time as a food with many therapeutic effects. Its beneficial effects are directly linked to its sulphur metabolic. Detailed studies on the mechanism underlying cancer and cardio-vascular diseases are lacking and especially studies with defined garlic preparations and compounds are poorly found. Therefore in this project we will focus on the role of garlic for the prevention of chronic diseases like atherosclerosis and cancer.

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