Health Benefits of Garlic
English Name: Garlic
Latin Name: Allium sativum
What is Garlic?
Garlic is a bulbous plant in the same family as onions, leeks, shallots and chives. All these plants share a similar strong aroma and flavor, and they have all been used for centuries in the cuisines of many cultures around the globe. Native to central Asia, it is cultivated and consumed worldwide, though China produces about 80 percent of the world’s garlic supply. Several species of garlic growing wild in North America and Britain are considered weeds. Though the plant includes tall green stalks and delicate pink to white flowers, the bulb is generally the most desired part; in most species, the bulb is divided into several fleshy sections known as cloves. Garlic has long been associated with folk beliefs of warding off evil spirits, from demons to werewolves and vampires, but in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, garlic is thought to heighten libido and stimulate aggressive behavior1.
How does Garlic work?
Garlic contains sulfur compounds that create its strong odor when the bulb is chopped or crushed, and those compounds come from allicin, one of the main active ingredients of the plant2. Allicin has long been thought to be the source of garlic’s healthful benefits — perhaps because the compound is rare in other edible plants — but garlic is rich in many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for good health. Plus it is low in calories, making it very nutrient dense. It is an excellent source of magnesium and zinc as well as folate, niacin and vitamins A, C and B6. This potent combination of nutrients mean garlic nourishes the body while supporting the immune system, regulating digestion, promoting optimal organ function and fighting off infections3.
What are the benefits of Garlic?
The strongest scientific evidence for garlic’s health benefits pertains to helping the heart work efficiently. Studies have shown that taking garlic can lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and some evidence indicates it may be helpful in managing blood sugar levels2. Garlic is also widely known to help alleviate symptoms related to the common cold, including sinus congestion and cough, and its boost to the immune system can mean fewer instances of cold as well as a shorter duration of cold symptoms. Some evidence indicates that garlic’s high levels of S-allylmercaptocysteine — a powerful antioxidant — can help prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and support a healthy liver3.
Products Featuring Garlic
InstaClear Sinus Relief™ for Sinus Comfort
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
 Leech, Joe, MS. "11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic." Healthline. June 18, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic#section3.
 Calderone, Julia. "The Health Benefits of Garlic." Consumer Reports. April 19, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://www.consumerreports.org/diet-nutrition/the-health-benefits-of-garlic/.
 Patil, Kiran. "25 Interesting Benefits of Raw Garlic." Organic Facts. September 12, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-garlic.html.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke