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Garlic Remedies for Health Conditions

What Is Garlic?

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a plant closely related to onions, leeks, and chives. Extracts of the bulb and clove are sometimes used medicinally.

Uses for Garlic

In herbal medicine, garlic is typically used to treat or prevent these conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Colds

    Benefits of Garlic

    Research suggests that garlic may help fight the following health problems:

    1) High Cholesterol

    A number of studies have shown that regular intake of garlic may lead to moderate changes in cholesterol levels. In a 2009 review that analyzed the results of 29 clinical trials, for instance, researchers found that garlic appears to reduce total cholesterol to a modest extent. A study published in 2000, however, indicates that although garlic is superior to a placebo in lowering total cholesterol levels, the use of garlic in treatment of high cholesterol is of “questionable value.”

    2) High Blood Pressure

    Garlic preparations are more effective than a placebo when it comes to reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension, according to a 2008 review and analysis of 25 studies. However, another review (published in 2009) concluded that garlic should not be recommended as a blood pressure-lowering remedy for hypertensive patients.

    3) The Common Cold

    Garlic may help fend off colds, suggests a 2001 study. For 12 weeks during cold season, 146 volunteers took either a daily garlic supplement or a placebo. By the end of the study period, 24 colds were reported in the garlic group, compared to 65 in the placebo group.

    4) Colorectal and Stomach Cancer

    In a 2001 review of 19 studies on garlic consumption and cancer incidence, researchers found that regular intake of garlic (in raw, cooked, or supplement form) may help prevent stomach and colorectal cancers.

    Is Garlic Safe?

    While garlic is generally considered safe, possible adverse effects include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • DiarrheaSince garlic thins the blood, it’s important to discontinue use at least seven days before undergoing surgery. Garlic may also interact with a number of medications, including insulin, anticoagulants, immunosuppressive agents, and protease inhibitors.

    How to Use Garlic

    Garlic supplements (as well as topically applied garlic oils, often used in treatment of ear infections) are sold in many health food stores and drugstores. Eating chopped or crushed raw garlic may also offer medicinal benefits.


    Fleischauer AT, Arab L. “Garlic and cancer: a critical review of the epidemiologic literature.” J Nutr. 2001 131(3s):1032S-40S.

    Josling P. “Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey.” Adv Ther. 2001 18(4):189-93.

    Reinhart KM, Talati R, White CM, Coleman CI. “The impact of garlic on lipid parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutr Res Rev. 2009 22(1):39-48.

    Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP, Fakler P, Sullivan T. “Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008 16;8:13.

    Stevinson C, Pittler MH, Ernst E. “Garlic for treating hypercholesterolemia. A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.” Ann Intern Med. 2000 19;133(6):420-9.

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    November 20, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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