Tree Disease Could be Cured by Garlic Extract

 Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic is widely used around the world not only as a cooking ingredient but also as a medicine in many cultures for thousands of years. It is considered to be one of the most powerful natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents. It contains a compound called allicin, which is believed to be the key molecule responsible for its antimicrobial properties.

Recent findings suggest that, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of garlic can be used in the treatment of infected trees. The affected trees were treated with a garlic extract to cure them from deadly diseases. Oak trees with acute oak decline – which eventually kills the tree – have improved after being treated. In laboratory conditions allicin kills the pathogen chalara which is responsible for ash dieback.

The experimental injection device is made up of a pressurised chamber and eight “octopus” tubes. The pressure punches the solution through the tubes and through special injection units in to the tree’s sap system. The needles are positioned in a way to get allicin evenly around the tree. The disease is destroyed almost instantaneously once the active agent starts to encounter the disease. The poison is organic and isn’t rejected by the tree. The garlic extract is pulled up through the trunk, out along the branches and in to the leaves by the process of transpiration along with the flow of water.

Tree consultant Jonathan Cocking is involved with the development and deployment of this treatment. He has treated 60 horse chestnut trees suffering badly with bleeding canker over last four years. All of the trees were cured, showing a 100% success rate. Then he applied this treatment further on 350 trees all over the country, with a success rate of 95%.

The garlic extract is commercially prepared by a company in Wales following a patented method. Organic cloves of garlic are crushed and the concentration of allicin in the extract is increased.  Some preservatives and stabilisers are also added to stabilise the extract because allicin is quite unstable and breaks down in about 5-10 minutes in normal environmental conditions.

BBC has reported that though this method of treatment is costly and impractical still, it can be used to save trees of historic or sentimental value.


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Arunima Maiti

Arunima Maiti

Biomedical scientist with special interest in reproductive biology.

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