Garlic was first discovered in central Asia and derived its name from two separate words ‘Gar’ and ‘Lac’ that mean spear and plant, respectively. It got this name simply because of the spear-shaped cloves. Currently, China is the largest producer of Garlic in the world, and Chinese cuisine is largely dependent on the flavors of garlic.
Did You Know
In ancient times, Garlic was used to treat wounds because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. But its use was limited once penicillin was discovered in 1928. However, in WWII, the shortage of penicillin led to the use of garlic for treating wounds, and it was nicknamed as Russian Penicillin(1) by the Russian Doctors.
Composition of Garlic
Studies(2) conducted show that the garlic plant mainly constitutes of organosulfur compounds, such as allicin, diallyl disulfide, S-acetylcysteine, and diallyl trisulfide. The composition of raw garlic is 59% water, 33% carbohydrates, 6% protein, 2% dietary fiber, and less than 1% fat.
Detailed below are the health effects of garlic. Its health benefits range from weight loss to lowering cholesterol levels.
1. Alleviates Cold and Cough
The presence of Allicin present in garlic helps in treating cold and cough. Allicin naturally has antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps in defending viruses in humans. A study(3) found that a group of people prone to cold who consumed garlic every day for 3 months had a significant decrease in the occurrence of cold compared to those who didn’t.
2. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Research(4) suggests that a systematic intake of garlic in any form can reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the human body that are responsible for cardiovascular diseases. The allicin present in garlic is responsible for deactivating cholesterol producing enzymes and thus reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
3. Reduces Hypertension
Hypertension is a condition in the body where the blood pressure in your arteries is continuously high. The presence of organosulfur compounds in garlic lowers hypertension by increasing the Hydrogen sulfide concentration.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar
Garlic is a rich source of vitamin B-6, which plays a significant role in controlled carbohydrate metabolism. The B-6 in garlic ensures that the rate of metabolism is under check. The sulfur compounds present in garlic are also responsible for increasing the insulin levels in the blood, helping in proper metabolism of the food. All these reasons are responsible for the increased use of garlic for diabetes.
5. Heals Wounds
When the skin suffers a wound, the body’s defense mechanism kicks in and starts the healing process by the formation of connecting tissues and regrowing epithelium, which is a thin tissue that forms the outer layer of the skin. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties present in garlic aid this process is leading to faster healing.
6. Weight loss
Garlic for weight loss is used because of its ability to increase blood circulation, metabolism rate, and as an appetite suppressant. Garlic is also rich in antioxidants, which help flush out all the toxins from your body, cleaning your digestive system, and enhancing the digestive process. However, eating raw garlic for weight loss is good only as long as it’s taken in moderate quantities.
7. Acts as Immunity Booster
Research(5) shows that consuming garlic regularly can result in lowering the probability of falling sick in the first place, and if it all you do fall sick, it helps you recover faster. All this is because of its ability to boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells.
8. Inhibits the Growth of Cancer Cells
Garlic is one of the most researched medicinal plants. It contains an active compound alliin that produces allicin, which is known to have anti-cancer properties. Its presence is known to kill off cancer cells in multiple studies. One study(6) showed that people consuming garlic had a lower risk of stomach cancer than those whose diet did not contain garlic.
9. Relieves Toothaches and Ear Infection
Garlic for toothache – Garlic for tooth infection is used because of its antibacterial properties that help kill the bad bacteria in your mouth, which may be the cause of your toothache. Chewing on garlic helps relieves the pain by killing the pain-causing bacteria.
Garlic for ear infection – Garlic for ear infection can be used in two ways, you either place the clove directly in the ear (not recommended for children) or make garlic oil and put 2-3 drops in your sore ear. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties help get rid of the pain-causing bacteria or fungus, thus relieving the pain.
Garlic for Skin-Related Issues
Garlic is said to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that help with a lot of skin conditions like acne, rashes, etc. Garlic for acne is specifically used because of its amazing antibacterial properties from allicin that kill the acne-causing bacteria.
Additionally, Garlic helps treat the following:
1. Garlic for fleas
Mixing some amount of garlic in any form in your pet’s diet makes their blood unpalatable to fleas, thus acting as a flea repellent. However, the dosage should be given only for a week and should be reduced every day; otherwise, it can be harmful to the pet.
2. Garlic for Pinworms
Pinworms are tiny, thin worms that affect the human colon and intestine. The worms lay eggs in the folds of skin near the anus that cause intense itching. Eating a clove of garlic or applying a paste (minced garlic mixed with petroleum jelly) topically is said to kill the existing eggs.
[Read: Garlic for Pinworms]
3. Garlic for Haemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids or piles are swollen and inflamed blood vessels in or around the anus and rectum that causes discomfort and pain during bowel movements. Many physicians recommend taking garlic orally as it aids the digestive capability of the stomach, and its anti-inflammatory properties help in alleviating any inflammation along the alimentary canal.
4. Garlic for Warts
Warts are caused by viruses in the HPV (human papillomavirus) family. It is a small growth that can appear on any part of the body. Because of the antiviral properties of allicin present in garlic, it is suggested that garlic be applied on warts topically to get rid of them.
5. Garlic for Herpes
Herpes affects the area around the mouth or genitalia. All herpes medications have only been known to reduce the effects of herpes. Thus, applying garlic mixed with olive oil topically on herpes sore may give you temporary relief but will definitely not cure it.
6. Garlic for Ringworm
Ringworm is a skin infection that occurs because of fungi that live on the dead tissues of your skin, hair, and nails. Since garlic contains allicin, which is known to exhibit excellent antifungal properties, its topical application can drive ringworms away.
[Read: Home Remedies for Heal Ringworm]
7. Garlic for Cold Sores
Cold sores are blister-like lesions formed near the lips on the chin and cheeks and cause pain, itching, and a burning sensation.
Garlic has excellent antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that work wonders on cold sores.
Cut a clove of garlic into two pieces and place it on your cold sore, allowing the juices to be in contact with the affected area.
8. Garlic for Bronchitis
Bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes is inflamed. Studies(7) have shown that garlic inhibits the growth of the Infective Bronchitis Virus (IBV). Its antiviral properties are responsible for limiting the IBV and thus providing relief to the patient.
9. Garlic for Hair Loss
When the presence of certain germs and bacteria damage the scalp, it results in hair loss or inhibits hair growth. The antimicrobial properties of garlic help get rid of these bacteria, thus helping with hair loss.
[Read: Essential Oils for Hair Loss]
10. Garlic for Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is a fungal infection that gets into the nail because of cuts and cracks near the toe skin. One can treat this fungus by cutting a garlic clove into two pieces and placing it on the impacted area.
11. Garlic for Arthritis
Arthritis is basically inflammation of joints that cause pain and stiffness and is an irreversible condition. Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties that effectively reduce the production of pro-inflammatory compounds.
12. Garlic as an Aphrodisiac
The compound allicin present in garlic is said to increase blood flow. The increased blood flow results in open arteries and leads to lasting erection and stamina. In ayurvedic medicine, garlic is considered an aphrodisiac because of its ability to increase the production of semen in men.
In Palestine tradition, it was believed that if a bridegroom placed a clove of garlic in their rear, they were likely to have a successful wedding night.
Health Benefits of Garlic and Honey
Garlic and honey both have been widely researched and have a lot of healing properties. When taken together, they prove to be an effective home remedy.
The study suggests that garlic and honey together help stop the growth of a certain type of bacteria. They had the same effect on the bacteria individually but worked even better when used together as a combination.
Side Effects of Garlic
1. Bad Odour
Garlic contains organosulfur compounds, which are responsible for its bad odor. Garlic smell lingers in your mouth long after brushing too, and bad breath is a turn off like no other.
2. Liver Damage
Studies show that excessive consumption of garlic may affect the liver. Though garlic is rich in antioxidants, it can put the liver in damage. Garlic for the liver is known to increase toxicity.
Consuming garlic on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea. It is known to be a gas-producing herb that may trigger diarrhea. It should always be consumed in moderate quantities and mostly as part of the diet.
4. Skin Rashes
Garlic contains a compound called alliinase, which is the cause of skin rashes. Excessive consumption of garlic may lead to irritable skin and rashes.
5. Toxic for Pets
Garlic is good for getting rid of fleas from your pets, but care should be taken that it is not used in concentrated amounts as it can cause severe toxicity in cats and dogs.
Consuming raw garlic is known to trigger headaches. According to studies, it stimulates the trigeminal nerve to release neuropeptides that then go and the membrane covering the brain and trigger a headache.
Myths About Garlic
1. Garlic is a Good Mosquito Repellent
It is believed that garlic is an active mosquito repellent. People would consume garlic before stepping out, hoping to keep the mosquitos away. However, garlic consumption definitely doesn’t keep mosquitoes away. In theory, it works because mosquitoes get repelled by strong smells.
2. Wearing Garlic Can Prevent Cold
Yes, garlic is good for cold, but wearing it on you does not help. It has to be consumed for its antibacterial and antiviral properties to show effect.
Historically, garlic has been used for treating numerous health conditions like wounds, hypertension, blood sugar, etc. Modern medicine has also conducted its own successful research to prove some of the effects of making garlic one of the most well researched medicinal herbs in the world.
1. How to insert garlic for yeast infection?
Garlic for yeast infection is only a myth, and it is not advisable to put anything other than medicated creams/ointments in your body’s sensitive private parts.
2. How long does it take for garlic to cure a yeast infection?
It’s a misconception that garlic can cure yeast infection. Yes, it has antifungal properties, but there is no proof that it can be used for treating vaginal yeast infections. Please consult a gynecologist if you are experiencing any kind of infection.
3. Is garlic good for high blood pressure and cholesterol?
Yes, garlic indeed is very good for high blood pressure and cholesterol. It contains allicin that reduces the formation of plaque-like substance in the walls of your cardiovascular system, thus preventing any blockages and eliminating any risk of stroke and heart attack.
4. How much garlic for high blood pressure?
Garlic can be consumed every day for high blood pressure. One can either have a couple of raw cloves of garlic or introduce it in the diet.
5. How to use garlic for a sore throat?
Garlic for sore throat is as good as garlic for cold or garlic for flu because of its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Take a clove of raw garlic and chew on it or take a piece of garlic and suck it for 15-20 minutes allowing the juices to soothe the throat.
6. Is garlic good for acne?
Garlic is good for acne because of its antimicrobial properties that kill the acne-causing bacteria.
7. Is garlic good for weight loss?
Garlic benefits for weight loss by increasing the metabolism rate and is also a great hunger suppressant that aids the process of shedding weight.
8. Is garlic good for the stomach?
It is believed that garlic helps in the digestion process, but there are no studies or research to comprehend that garlic for stomach related issues is beneficial.