Garlic

GARLIC (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus.

It has been used in food and medicine for more than 5000 years. Garlic is native to central Asia and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to ancient Egyptians, and has been used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

High doses of raw garlic have been found to have a profound effect in reducing the glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.1 Several studies on garlic have found alterations on a number of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors including blood pressure, plasma viscosity, platelet activity, and serum lipid levels.2 Garlic, administered in a daily dose of 2 x 2 capsules (each capsule containing ethyl acetate extract from 1 g peeled and crushed raw garlic), reduced significantly total serum cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased significantly HDL-cholesterol and fibrinolytic activity.3 Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.4 A Czech study found garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals.5 Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits.6 Supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.7

Garlic can prevent and treat plaque buildup in the arteries. It is typically taken in capsules, but fresh garlic is also effective. Clinical trials have found that consuming fresh garlic or garlic supplements can “lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots and destroy plaque,” says the University of Maryland Medical Center. Garlic might be most beneficial to women in preventing and treating atherosclerosis, according to studies cited by the University of Michigan Health System. Both the main active component of garlic called allicin and the constituent ajoene are responsible for preventing blood clots by reducing the “stickiness” of blood platelets, the University of Michigan points out. Also, taking aged garlic extract instead of raw garlic might prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol,” which can prevent the development of atherosclerosis and plaque buildup in arteries, the University of Michigan says. The University of Maryland recommends taking 900 mg per day of garlic powder supplements that are standardized to contain 0.6 percent allicin.