Medical Benefits of Garlic


Heirloom eating garlic

Garlic is Medicine

As well as being generally rich in nutrients, garlic provides a wide range of medicinal benefits. The research appears to recommend that raw crushed or chopped garlic is the best way to extract its medicinal compounds. The following article highlights important scientific research conducted on garlic, providing links in the footnotes to the relevant research. The scientific study of garlic is an ongoing and active area of research, and it is well established that garlic has been used throughout history and in many different cultures for its medicinal benefits. We do not explore in this article the full range of potential benefits, but as the research evolves and new knowledge and insights are gained, we will share them with you.

Most importantly, our personal experiences with garlic, as well as the organic lifestyle, have confirmed for us what science is only beginning to explore, that garlic and the organic lifestyle are enormously beneficial. We hope sincerely this will inspire you to see garlic as a positive addition to your diet not only for its incredible flavor and culinary versatility, but for the wide range of medicinal benefits it provides. We are garlic farmers, not doctors, so we are not prescribing garlic in place of your medication. See your doctor for that.

It is also important to note that not all garlic is created equal. We grow heirloom garlic that is higher in medicinal properties. Our heirloom garlic requires special care. It is all hand planted due to the nature of the type of garlic it is. Our garlic is grown by us and other small growers that grow an acre or less of high quality garlic on small organic idyllic family farms. Wisconsin is know to have some of the best nutrient rich soil in the nation. We all take special care of our soil by building our soil, adding nutrients, and growing on organic land to create a great garlic crop and tasty garlic bulbs. Our garlic is organically grown in the Mid-west, Non-GMO, not irradiated, and has fantastic flavor that is not found in grocery store garlic. In fact, when you are in the store, check the country of origin. Then, take some time to watch the Netflix series call Rotten and check out the garlic episode.

  • Based on nutrients to calories, garlic is a wonderful source of nutrition, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
    • Garlic contains manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, fiber, and quantities of iron, phosphorous, potassium, copper, and calcium.[1]
  • When a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed, sulfur compounds are formed, the most important of which is called allicin.
    • According to Pubmed.gov research paper ‘Allicin: chemistry and biological properties,’ “allicin can inhibit the proliferation of both bacteria and fungi or kill cells outright, including antibiotic-resistant strains like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Furthermore… (allicin) has a variety of health-promoting properties, for example cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering effects that are advantageous for the cardio-vascular system. Clearly, allicin has wide-ranging and interesting applications in medicine and (green) agriculture…”[2]
    • Another research paper published on Pubmed.gov informs, “Neuroinflammation is known as a risk factor for cognitive deficit and dementia and its incidence increases with aging. S-allyl cysteine (SAC) is the active and main component of aged garlic extract with anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and nootropic potential.”[3]
  • It is always best to consume raw garlic raw, crushed or chopped, rather than as supplements or capsules. Coated tablets or supplements are not nearly as effective as raw organic garlic, due to the unstable nature of allicin.
    • “The low allicin release was found to be due to both impaired alliinase activity, mostly caused by tablet excipients, and to slow tablet disintegration, which also impairs alliinase activity. Only when tablets had high alliinase activity and disintegrated rapidly did they show high allicin release.”[4]
    • “Allicin is unstable, and changes into a different chemicals rather quickly. It’s documented that products obtained even without allicin such as aged garlic extract (AGE), have a clear and significant biological effect in immune system improvement, treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, liver and other areas. Some products have a coating (enteric coating) to protect them against attack by stomach acids.”[5]
    • “In conclusion, these largely unexpected results (lower ABB for enteric tablets and higher ABB for all other products) provide guidelines for the qualities of garlic products to be used in future clinical trials and new standards for manufacturers of garlic powder supplements. They also give the consumer an awareness of how garlic foods might compare to the garlic powder supplements used to establish any allicin-related health benefit of garlic.”[6]
  • Garlic possesses positive health benefits in relation to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
    • Although additional observations are warranted in humans, compelling evidence supports the beneficial health effects attributed to AGE in helping prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and lowering the risk of dementia and AD (Alzheimer’s disease).”[7]
    • There are data on potential ability of garlic to inhibit the rate of progression of coronary calcification. Garlic as a dietary component appears to hold promise to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”[8]
    • Quantitative pooling of data in meta-analyses of the primary trials strongly suggests that garlic is an effective lipid-lowering agent.”[9]
  • Garlic’s power against the common cold virus is suggested in the research.
    • Pubmed.gov published the results of one research study: “One hundred forty-six volunteers were randomized to receive a placebo or an allicin-containing garlic supplement… The active-treatment group had significantly fewer colds than the placebo group… The placebo group, in contrast, recorded significantly more days challenged virally… and a significantly longer duration of symptoms… Consequently, volunteers in the active group were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if infected. Volunteers taking placebo were much more likely to get more than one cold over the treatment period. An allicin-containing supplement can prevent attack by the common cold virus.”[10]
    • A different study concluded, “…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.”[11]
  • Garlic is a warrior in the fight against toxic bacteria, especially antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
    • One study concludes, “Combinations of fresh garlic extract with gentamycin and ciprofloxacin inhibited both the drug sensitive and MDR bacteria… the potential use of such combinations may be beneficial, especially in inhibiting drug-resistant pathogens. The study results indicate the possibility of using garlic as a supplement used during antibiotic therapy…”[12]
    • Another study concludes, “Natural spices of garlic and ginger possess effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens and can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial diseases and further evaluation is necessary.”[13]
    • And a third, “These findings provide new insights to use A. sativum and Z. officinale as potential plant sources for controlling pathogenic bacteria and potentially considered as cost-effective in the management of diseases and to the threat of drug resistance phenomenon.”[14]
  • Garlic works to reduce blood pressure and counteract oxidative stress, especially for people who suffer from hypertension.
    • A meta-analysis of available research concludes, “Our meta-analysis suggests that garlic preparations are superior to placebo in reducing blood pressure in individuals with hypertension.”
    • One study concludes, “These findings point out the beneficial effects of garlic supplementation in reducing blood pressure and counteracting oxidative stress, and thereby, offering cardioprotection in essential hypertensives.”[15]
    • And another, “These findings suggest that dietary supplementation of garlic may be beneficial in reducing blood pressure and oxidative stress in hypertensive individuals.”[16]
    • One trial reports, “Our trial suggests that 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.”[17]
    • And another, “Present study showed significant decrease in both Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure in both dose and duration dependent manner. In each garlic treated group, significant reduction in SBP and DBP (in people who used garlic) were observed when compared with atenolol and placebo.”[18]
  • Garlic combats the negative effects of heavy metals, especially lead poisoning.
    • “The frequency of side effects was significantly higher in d-penicillamine (a pharmaceutical drug) than in the garlic group. Thus, garlic seems safer clinically and as effective as d-penicillamine. Therefore, garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.”[19]
  • Garlic might provide performance-enhancing benefits.
    • “Garlic significantly reduced heart rate at peak exercise and also significantly reduced the work load upon the heart resulting in better exercise tolerance as compared to the initial test. It appears to be a good adaptogen to be utilized in patients with coronary artery disease.”[20]
    • “Currently available data strongly suggest that garlic may be a promising anti-fatigue agent, and that further studies to elucidate its application are warranted.”[21]
  • The sheer range of garlic’s medicinal properties is staggering.
    • “Garlic exhibits hypolipidemic, antiplatelet, and procirculatory effects. It prevents cold and flu symptoms through immune enhancement and demonstrates anticancer and chemopreventive activities. In addition, aged garlic extract possesses hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, antioxidative activities…”[22]
    • “Garlic and garlic supplements are consumed in many cultures for their hypolipidemic, antiplatelet and procirculatory effects. In addition to these proclaimed beneficial effects, some garlic preparations also appear to possess hepatoprotective, immune-enhancing, anticancer and chemopreventive activities. Some preparations appear to be antioxidative…”[23]

[1] FoodData Central (usda.gov)

[2] Allicin: chemistry and biological properties – PubMed (nih.gov)

[3] Garlic active constituent s-allyl cysteine protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced cognitive deficits in the rat: Possible involved mechanisms – PubMed (nih.gov)

[4] Low allicin release from garlic supplements: a major problem due to the sensitivities of alliinase activity – PubMed (nih.gov)

[5] Allium sativum: facts and myths regarding human health – PubMed (nih.gov)

[6] Allicin Bioavailability and Bioequivalence from Garlic Supplements and Garlic Foods – PubMed (nih.gov)

[7] Garlic reduces dementia and heart-disease risk – PubMed (nih.gov)

[8] Garlic (Allium sativum L.) and cardiovascular diseases – PubMed (nih.gov)

[9] Garlic: its cardio-protective properties – PubMed (nih.gov)

[10] Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey – PubMed (nih.gov)

[11] Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention – PubMed (nih.gov)

[12] Antibacterial properties of Allium sativum L. against the most emerging multidrug-resistant bacteria and its synergy with antibiotics – PubMed (nih.gov)

[13] Antibacterial effect of Allium sativum cloves and Zingiber officinale rhizomes against multiple-drug resistant clinical pathogens – PubMed (nih.gov)

[14] Biological activities of Allium sativum and Zingiber officinale extracts on clinically important bacterial pathogens, their phytochemical and FT-IR spectroscopic analysis – PubMed (nih.gov)

[15] Garlic supplementation prevents oxidative DNA damage in essential hypertension – PubMed (nih.gov)

[16] Effect of garlic supplementation on oxidized low density lipoproteins and lipid peroxidation in patients of essential hypertension – PubMed (nih.gov)

[17] Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension: a randomised controlled trial – PubMed (nih.gov)

[18] Effects of Allium sativum (garlic) on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension – PubMed (nih.gov)

[19] Comparison of therapeutic effects of garlic and d-Penicillamine in patients with chronic occupational lead poisoning – PubMed (nih.gov)

[20] Effect of garlic (Allium sativum) oil on exercise tolerance in patients with coronary artery disease – PubMed (nih.gov)

[21] Garlic as an anti-fatigue agent – PubMed (nih.gov)

[22] Clarifying the real bioactive constituents of garlic – PubMed (nih.gov)

[23] Intake of garlic and its bioactive components – PubMed (nih.gov)