For centuries, garlic’s health benefits have been recognized. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed it to treat all kinds of illnesses. At present, modern medicine is embracing garlic’s healing properties too.
Garlic contains sulfur compounds like allicin which is formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It also has diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine which also play a role in garlic’s health benefits. These important components enter the body from our digestive tract and travel to the different parts of our body, where they exert their potent biological effects. (1) (2) (3)
This herb which is grown around the world is most commonly used for conditions related to the heart and blood system – including high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Its chemical compound called allicin is what seems to make garlic work for certain conditions. (4)
Garlic and Cardiovascular Health
Garlic may help lower our risk of heart diseases. Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found that Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack. Aside from this, researchers also believed that diallyl trisulfide could be used as a treatment for heart failure. Moreover, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that garlic oil may help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged, and/or stiffened. (5)
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most important drivers of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. Human studies have found garlic supplements to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. In a 24-week period study, it was found that 600–1,500 mg (That’s the equivalent of roughly four cloves of garlic a day) of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol at reducing blood pressure. (6)
What’s more? Researchers also found that garlic oil works as an anti-inflammatory. For those suffering from sore and inflamed joints or muscles, we may benefit from rubbing the oil. (7)
The result of a study also revealed that garlic protects from the common cold. Participants of the study have been examined during a period of 12 weeks, in the cold season from November to February. Experts found that those who took garlic were less prone to catching a cold or endured the cold easier than those who were given a placebo. (8)
Garlic may also relieve toothache pain. Its allicin content has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help kill some of the bacteria associated with toothaches. (9)
Garlic Preparations (10)
May be fried, roasted, or soaked in vinegar for 30 minutes or blanched in boiled water for 5 minutes. Take two pieces three times a day after meals.
For toothache, pound a small piece and apply it to the affected area.
Caution: Garlic should be taken on a full stomach to prevent stomach and intestinal ulcers.
We need to know that it takes a while for the benefits of garlic to kick in. Its vitamins and minerals should build up first in our body for us to be able to enjoy its benefits. Adding it to our daily routine is a healthy way to develop a lifelong habit that can benefit our health year after year.