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Garlic Health Benefits

Various garlic health benefits have long been claimed and the "stinking rose" treatment has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) down the centuries. Many of the claims are best unproven, however there are some very positive garlic health facts that are now widely accepted. Amongst the most interesting potential applications are suggestions that garlic might be able to assist some people in the management of blood pressure cholesterol levels.

Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant "superbugs".

Some studies have also shown that garlic - especially aged garlic - can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants can help to protect the body against damaging free radicals. There are claims that fermented black garlic contains even higher antioxidant levels than normal cloves.

People who want the claimed health benefits without the taste might prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding the side effect of garlic breath.

Dosage

So how much garlic should you eat or otherwise consume to maximise the health benefits? That's difficult to say - much of the research is still patchy and different people have different needs and tolerances. However a World Health Organization (WHO) monograph says:

"Unless otherwise prescribed, average daily dose is as follows (7): fresh garlic, 2-5g; dried powder, 0.4-1.2 g; oil, 2-5mg; extract, 300-1000mg (as solid material). Other preparations should correspond to 4-12mg of alliin or about 2-5mg of allicin). Bulbus Allii Sativi should be taken with food to prevent gastrointestinal upset."

This information is referenced from "Bradley PR, ed. British herbal compendium, Vol. 1. Bournemouth, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992."

 

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