Garlic has been used for thousands of years to help improve one’s health. In Chinese traditional medicine, it is widely regarded as an antibacterial agent that can help cure many common illnesses. In particular, it is known to have very strong anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to be beneficial for the heart and circulatory system, fighting off arteriosclerosis and lowering blood pressure.
Garlic has long been known for its ability to lower cholesterol levels and help fight heart disease. In recent years, we have seen a trend for increased interest in natural, alternative medicine. Garlic, like allium, has a wide range of health benefits. Let’s look at just some of these benefits:
Acne. Garlic has been used for acne treatment in Asia for thousands of years. Studies in the US suggest that the sulfur compounds present in garlic can reduce the risk of acne. Two ingredients, in particular, seem to work – allicin hydrochloride. Allicin is the pungent compound in garlic that produces a distinctive flavor. It also seems to have strong antibacterial properties.
Clove In throat. Garlic has a reputation as a good cough suppressant. Some of its active ingredients, allicin hydrochloride, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. A clinical trial comparing a garlic clove with an aspirin tablet showed that the former had a greater efficacy rate when it was taken shortly after a cough (versus the latter) that was caused by either influenza or cough arising from exposure to chemicals such as chlorine or chlorhexidine. This same study also showed that the clove was more effective than aspirin in preventing a burning sensation in the throat when you swallow a clove of garlic.
Diarrhea. Garlic may be beneficial in dealing with diarrhea. Preliminary studies seem to indicate that garlic oil may help reduce the incidence of diarrhea associated with antibiotic drugs such as penicillin. Although garlic may act as a soothing agent for irritated stools and stimulate peristalsis (the movement of bowels), it’s not clear why this is.
Immune system health. Garlic is highly nutritious, containing vitamin C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and various B vitamins. It also contains trace amounts of vitamin A, pyridoxine, thiamine, and folic acid. This nutrient profile makes garlic one of nature’s richest sources of nutrition, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Hypertension. There is no arguing the benefits of garlic in lowering blood pressure. Garlic, or “clove” as it is known in the medical community, contains a high concentration of allicin, an anti-inflammatory compound that appears to help lower blood pressure. The powerful antioxidant activity of allicin is thought to work by neutralizing the free radicals that form when your body is exposed to harmful agents such as cigarette smoke and air pollution. Eating a clove of garlic daily can result in lower blood pressure without the potential side effects of potentially harmful chemicals.
Aging. As we age, our diets tend to become deficient in many of the beneficial nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Fortunately, garlic has natural bioactive compounds that can help our bodies to naturally replenish these important nutrients. Adding aged garlic extract to your diet can help prevent the onset of numerous diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
Liver Problems. Allicin is one of the most powerful natural antioxidant compounds found in all kinds of garlic. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties also seem to possess liver-friendly (fatty acid) and copper-friendly (sulfur) characteristics. Some scientists have speculated that the medicinal properties of allicin may help prevent certain types of hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver. Adding a fresh clove of garlic to your diet or taking a garlic capsule once daily may help prevent disease progression or complications. Keep in mind though, before adding any of these supplements to your health regime, you should talk to your doctor first.
The common cold. Although garlic may not cure a cold like prescription medication, it can certainly help to reduce the symptoms. Many studies have shown that a reduction in the common cold was seen in people who ate at least five servings of raw garlic each day. Garlic is considered adaptogenic, meaning it boosts the immune system and helps the body to fight off and control various diseases and conditions
Cancer Risk. Although not directly related to garlic consumption of other organic products rich in allicin, it seems to be something to consider when considering the possibility of increased cancer risk. Many studies have shown a connection between garlic consumption and increased prostate cancer risk. However, the link between illicit and cancer risk has been less firmly established.