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Garlic benefits

January 15, 2021
Benefits and properties of humble garlic

Who has not heard about the benefits of garlic? This spicy bulb is not only a king in the kitchen, it is also an exceptional ingredient in traditional alternative medicine. Like other vegetables in the Allium family, garlic is rich in very special compounds , which are attributed excellent healing and healthy properties.

Keep reading below to learn about the most studied benefits of garlic , what its properties are due to , what the scientific evidence says and what is the best way to take advantage of it , among other details.

Benefits and properties of humble garlic: what is it for?

Although many do not like the spicy taste and strong breath after eating garlic , both characteristics are closely linked to its healthy power. Garlic, and other close relatives such as onion , leek , chives, and shallots , owe their smell and incredible pungent taste to the presence of numerous sulfur compounds , including thiosulfinates, sulfoxides, sulfides, diallyl polysulfides, vinyldithiines, ajoenes, peptides and amino acids.

Scientific evidence suggests that these organosulfur compounds have the ability to react positively in our body and play an important role in the prevention of various diseases, from infections and inflammatory processes to diabetes and cancer.1 2.

Thanks to its content of sulfur, antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals, garlic has been attributed the following properties :

  • Anticancerígenas
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial and antifungal
  • Digestive
  • Immunoprotective
  • Antidiabetics
  • Anticoagulants

Raw garlic and its secret weapon: allicin

One of the most important compounds in garlic is allicin , which is formed from alliin after the garlic has been cut or crushed3 . The vast majority of studies and research on the medicinal power of garlic agree that allicin is precisely itsactive compound par excellenceand that the most relevant health benefits are due to it4.

When we cut or crush garlic, the alliin comes into contact with the enzyme allinase and this causes the formation of allicin. Allicin is not only responsible for the pungent smell of garlic, but also for its health benefits.

After analyzing different publications, studies, testimonials and findings, here is a summary with 15 proven benefits of garlic5 6:

1. Helps prevent heart disease

According to statistics, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death today 7 . More and more research advises consuming garlic on a regular basis to prevent and combat different cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, hypertension and diabetes. It has been observed that thanks to itsantioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, garlic prevents and helps slow the advance of these conditions8.

Probably the most important benefit in this regard is its ability to reverse early heart disease by  removing plaque build-up in the arteries . A 2016 study found that aged garlic extract helped reduce plaque build-up in the coronary arteries effectively9.

2. Helps prevent and stop cancer

It is believed that Allium vegetables  , especially garlic and onion, can influence each of the stages of cancer formation and affect many of the biological processes that modify the risk of developing it10.

According to statements from the  NIH National Cancer Institute , “several studies show an association between increased garlic consumption and the prevention of certain types of cancer , such as stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreatic and breast cancer.” Apparently, the anticancer effect of garlic may be due to its antibacterial properties and its ability to block the formation of carcinogens, improve DNA repair and reduce cell proliferation.

Its use has also shown promising results in the treatment of cancer . Some in vitro experiments have observed that the application of garlic compounds (DATS, DADS, ajoene, S-allylmercaptocystein-SAMC) serves to induce cell cycle blockage and apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancer cells. On the other hand, giving liquid garlic extract and S-allylcysteine ​​(SAC) orally has been reported to increase cancer cell death in animals with oral cancer11.

3. Regulates high blood pressure levels

Various researches have shown that garlic can help control high blood pressure. A study in people under medical treatment for uncontrolled hypertension found that the administration of aged garlic extract as a complementary treatment (960 milligrams a day for 3 months), was able to lower blood pressure by an average of 10 points12.

Another study published in 2014 found that garlic has “the potential to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals in a similar way to standard medication.” 13.

4. Fight the flu, colds and other common infections

Various researches have shown that garlic, specifically some of its compounds (allicin, ajoene), is very effective in fighting microorganisms responsible for infections such as colds and flu. In one study, it was observed that people who took garlic supplements during the winter (between November and February) were less likely to catch the cold, and in case of contagion, they had milder symptoms and managed to recover faster14 . People who did not take the garlic supplement (placebo group) had a higher rate of infection, being able to suffer more than one cold during the treatment period.

Allicin and ajoene are also known to exhibit strong antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties , hence they help fight other common infections, such as herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus (warts).15.

5. Offers natural protection against Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that deprives a person of their ability to think clearly, perform everyday tasks, and even remember who they are. Scientists have reported that daily consumption of garlic can be very beneficial in preventing this disease. Its antioxidant content helps activate the mechanisms that protect us against oxidative damage in the brain, an important cause that leads to the development of these cognitive diseases.

A study published in the  Journal of Neurochemistry  found ” neuroprotective properties ” in aged garlic extract and its active compound S-allyl-L-cysteine ​​(SAC)16 . From this finding, the researchers concluded that aged garlic extract can be used in the development of drugs to help treat dementia and Alzheimer’s in the future.

6. Helps control diabetes

Garlic is an excellent ally for people with diabetes. Its active compounds not only have a regulating effect on blood sugar  levels, but also help prevent many of the diabetic complications17 18.

7. Protects bone health

Diallyl disulfide, a compound present in garlic, has been shown to help suppress enzymes that degrade matrix and lead to bone damage . There is some evidence that garlic supplementation reduces the risk of osteoarthritis during menopause19.

8. Strengthens the immune system

Several investigations have discovered that the consumption of garlic helps to increase the number of immune cells in the body and therefore, our immunity20 . Likewise, it is known that garlic contains phyto-nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for the elimination of toxins and free radicals, hence it helps us avoid diseases and DNA mutations.

9. Fight fungal infections

The oils from fresh garlic are highly effective against fungal infections, especially if they are caused by the Candida fungus.21 22 . In fact, garlic has traditionally been used as a natural remedy to treat vaginal yeast infections, nail fungus, and ringworm.

10. Helps to lose weight (lose weight)

Maintaining a regular consumption of garlic has been reported to inhibit the expression of adipogenic tissues, increase thermogenesis, and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Researchers have indicated that all this favors a greater burning of fats , a better assimilation of nutrients and therefore, a more efficient weight loss23.

11. Serves as a remedy for ear infections

Garlic’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it one of the most popular home remedies for treating ear infection. This usually consists of preparing  garlic oil to drop into the ear. Note: it is not recommended to do this without a doctor’s approval.

12. Helps fight acne

This benefit is due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties . Since acne is caused by excessive accumulation of toxins, clogged pores and the presence of germs under the skin, garlic can be used natural treatment to combat its symptoms and improve the appearance of the skin.24.

13. Helps eliminate intestinal parasites

The allicin and ajoene present in garlic have strong antiparasitic properties that help kill parasites such as amoeba, pinworms, and hookworms.25 . Almost always afinely choppedgarlic syrupwith honeyis preparedto drink 1-2 tablespoons on an empty stomach.

It may interest you: Garlic with Honey – Benefits, Recipe, Dosage and Frequently Asked Questions

14. Offers relief from hemorrhoids

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, garlic is considered one of the best home remedies to reduce the pain and inflammation of hemorrhoids. Taking garlic  every day (raw, in capsules) helps to strengthen intestinal vascularity , relieves pain, discomfort, and reduces the frequency of exacerbation of symptoms26.

15. Helps fight some cases of gastritis

At least 50% of the world’s population is said to have H. pylori in their digestive tract, a bacterial strain that causes the vast majority of gastritis cases. It has been recognized that consuming  raw garlic on an empty stomach  can be a natural and effective way to calm inflammation in the stomach lining by eliminating this bacteria.27.

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Forms of consumption: how to make the most of garlic?

Many people use garlic on a daily basis, but are sadly not making the most of its benefits. And I say this because it is no secret that the vast majority of us prefer to eat cooked garlic , not raw.

Although benefits can also be obtained when we consume garlic as an ingredient in a meal, the truth is that eating it raw is the best way to take advantage of its healthy and healing properties.

It has been observed that the cooking process of garlic can affect its content of vitamins (B, C), minerals (manganese, calcium) and precursor enzymes of allicin.

A fundamental step to maximize the benefits of raw garlic is to let it rest. Chopping the garlic cloves finely and letting them rest for 10 minutes before using is all you need to get the highest allicin content.

Ideas to include raw garlic in meals

  • Finely chop a clove of garlic and mix it into your dressings .
  • Spread small pieces of fresh garlic in salads , pasta , soups and creams .
  • Chop thin slices of garlic and let them infuse in olive oil and then spread it on the bread.

Ideas for taking raw garlic as a remedy

  • Chop raw garlic into slices to drink with water on an empty stomach as if it were a pill (without chewing).
  • Make a garlic vinegar toner . Place several cloves of fresh minced garlic in a glass container, cover with apple cider vinegar, add 1 teaspoon of honey and mix everything well. Cover the jar and let it sit in a dark place for at least a week, shaking daily. After that time, strain the mixture to remove the garlic and you will have a tonic to strengthen your defenses during the cold and flu season. It is recommended to take 1 tablespoon on an empty stomach.
  • Make a honey garlic syrup . Combine several cloves of minced garlic with 1 cup of pure honey; Let stand 1-2 days in a glass container with a lid and take 1 tablespoon 2 times a day to relieve cough, sore throat and congestion.

Recommended: Take Garlic Fasting – Beneficial for Health vs Not Recommended

5 Useful Tips to Take Advantage of the Healthy Benefits of Garlic

  1. Always use minced, crushed, or crushed garlic that has been sitting for at least 8-10 minutes. Remember that this triggers the enzymatic reaction that creates allicin, its main healthy compound. Heat is known to inhibit such a reaction.
  2. When cooking garlic, avoid subjecting it to temperatures above 60 ° C or 140 ° F. Higher temperatures can affect the allicin content , so it is best to add it to your recipes once the cooking has finished.
  3. The fresher the garlic, the higher its concentration of nutrients and active compounds. When shopping, choose plump bulbs with tight skin that don’t look too dry, moldy, or frayed. Also avoid garlic whose cloves have already sprouted.
  4. Make sure to store the garlic in a dark, well-ventilated place . This prevents mold or mildew from growing very quickly.
  5. The smell of garlic can linger on your breath 1-2 days after eating it. Is said to be mixed with milk or chewing fresh mint leaves and eat apple and fresh lettuce, can help neutralize the sulfur compounds responsible for this effect.

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Does eating raw garlic have contraindications / adverse effects?

The most important caveat to keep in mind about consuming raw garlic is to moderate the amount . It is not necessary to maintain an exaggerated consumption of raw garlic to see its benefits.

Eating it excessively can cause several side effects , including:

  • Stomach ache
  • ardor
  • swelling
  • flatulence
  • diarrhea
  • bad breath
  • body odor

Some people also experience itchy skin and other allergy symptoms. People with a known allergy to garlic, or another vegetable of the Allium family, should be very cautious with its consumption, either as a remedy or as part of the meal.

In general, the daily consumption of raw garlic is not recommended in :

  • People with a sensitive digestive system
  • People on anticoagulants
  • Women in pregnancy and lactation

It is recommended:

  • Start with small doses to see how your body reacts.
  • Consult your doctor before taking raw garlic for medicinal purposes, especially if you have a health condition or are under medical treatment.

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Learn more about garlic and other bulbs!



My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.