GarlicIn olden ages garlic was considered as a good luck, was worshiped and was used as a protection against evils and vampires. The bold aromatic smell of garlic when used as a seasoning or main ingredient in culinary, tends to make a meal healthy. Garlic bulb has many cloves that are small and separate. Garlic is a member of Allium or lily family, and is rich in sulfur containing compounds like sulfoxides (alliin), thiosulfinates (allicin), dithiins (ajoene) that are responsible for its pungent odor and health promoting effects.
Besides these compounds garlic is also a good source of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and selenium.
Supplements of garlic have been used for various therapeutic conditions like blood pressure reduction, high cholesterol cure, diabetes and certain cancers.
Health and garlic
- Consumption of garlic for 4-12 weeks may help reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels. This may also help to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis and thus maybe beneficial to prevent further heart attacks.
- Garlic has anti-final properties and used for tropical application on skin to treat fungal infection and yeast infections.
- Garlic may have blood thinning effects due to its effects on platelet aggregation.
- Regular garlic consumption may help reduce the risk of several types of cancers including colorectal and gastric malignancies. However these results are based on garlic intake with other supplements to treat cancer, so it is difficult to isolate the effects of garlic alone.
- Garlic consumption can lower the blood pressure by small amounts and may also improve blood circulation in legs by small amounts.
- Garlic can reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infection and can be used as a tick repellent to reduce tick bites in people.
- Garlic may be used for people with diabetes as it helps release insulin and lowers blood sugar levels.
Side effects of garlic
To gain maximum benefits from this herb and avoid any complications, take it in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional.
- Many people avoid garlic because of its pungent body odor and bad breath.
- Garlic can cause skin rash or burns and should not be applied on infants, children and adults with allergy from garlic.
- Garlic can also cause dizziness, headache, itching, increased sweating, abdominal pain, fullness, poor appetite, belching, nausea, vomiting, gas, irritation of stomach lining, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, fever, chills, running nose and asthma flares.
- Effects of garlic on blood platelets and fibrinolysis can increase the risk of bleeding, especially after a surgery. So dietary supplements of garlic should be used with caution prior to surgery, during pregnancy and people with any bleeding disorders and using medications for the same.
- Patients with diabetes or on medications or herbs for the same should use garlic with caution as it can reduce the blood glucose levels further.