Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, here we present information from human and rodent medical studies on how and why it benefits wellness.
Garlic contains antioxidants and other active compounds that may help prevent many diseases including dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, hypertension, colds/flu and cancers. There are some compounds in garlic that are only beneficial when garlic is fresh and raw, and others that become more abundant when aged.
We at Propelling Wellness Research consume both raw and aged garlic as both help in propelling wellness. There are many varieties of garlic which have different tastes and traits such as some being more potent/peppery and others keeping or lasting much longer. Propelling Wellness Research has been organically growing 7 varieties of seed garlic for over 5 years, increasing planting and harvests each year. We love the stuff and do not get flu or colds often. If we feel a cold or throat lump coming on due to infection, we chew some raw garlic for a while (we eat it raw too!) and most times we do not get a cold/flu.
The antioxidants in garlic may neutralize free radicals which cause many of the diseases noted above. The antioxidants found in garlic may also help prevent free radicals which contribute to the aging process. Additionally, the two main classes of organosulfur compounds found in whole garlic cloves, L-cysteine sulfoxides and γ-glutamyl-L-cysteine, have been shown to have anti-bacterial properties.
There are many scientific studies investigating the potential benefits of garlic on health and wellness that can be found on Pubmed. Here is an informative study discussing historical use of garlic disease prevention and treatment from a 2001 publication in the Journal of Nutrition. I found this quote noting compounds found in garlic offer health benefits, from a 2001 publication, ''some garlic preparations also appear to possess hepatoprotective, immune-enhancing, anti-cancer and chemopreventive activities. ''
In a very interesting 2006 study, scientists conclude that garlic reduces dementia and heart disease risk.
More support for antioxidant activity is found in this 2008 study, where researchers concluded that ingestion of garlic, ''increased activities of some antioxidant enzymes, which indicates that consumption of garlic decreases oxidation reactions. It is quite possible that reduced peroxidation processes due to garlic consumption may play a part in some of the beneficial effects of garlic in elderly subjects.''
In this 2011 study, researchers note ''beneficial effects of garlic supplementation in reducing blood pressure and counteracting oxidative stress, and thereby, offering cardioprotection in essential hypertensives.''
Here are three scientific publications showing evidence of garlic lowering lipids and hypercholesterolemia:
There are several publications reporting that garlic lowers hypertension and blood pressure.
In this 2010 study, researchers conclude, ''aged garlic extract is superior to placebo in lowering systolic blood pressure similarly to current first line medications in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension.''
From a 2013 study, researchers note that ''People taking garlic tablets had significantly decreased blood pressure vs. those on placebo.''
In a 2001 study, researchers found that people taking a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared to a placebo and concluded those on garlic ''were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if infected.''
This interesting study from 2012 reported that people taking daily garlic supplements had 61% less days of flu or colds compared to those not taking garlic. The researchers conclude,''These results suggest that supplementation of the diet with aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu.''
From this 2016 study looking into garlic and immune health, clinicians noted that those taking garlic had less severe colds and flu and they suggested less inflammation. Here is a quote from their findings, ''These results suggest that AGE supplementation may enhance immune cell function and may be partly responsible for the reduced severity of colds and flu reported. The results also suggest that the immune system functions well with AGE supplementation, perhaps with less accompanying inflammation.'' AGE is aged garlic extract.
This 2017 publication discusses how garlic reduces inflammation and cognitive deficiencies by attenuation of oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.
One clove (3 grams) of raw garlic contains:
More garlic information including uses, storage, side effects and interactions: