Garlic is a wonderful gift from mother nature. It is both food and medicine. People have been using the fragrant herb for thousands of years to treat various health conditions. Modern science supports many of these traditional claims, proving that garlic is indeed as beneficial as our ancestors believed. There are more than 3000 scientific studies (1) to date backing up garlic’s potency in the treatment of several diseases. Below is a review of the health benefits of garlic that have been scientifically proven.
What Is Garlic?
Garlic is an herb that has been cultivated across the globe for centuries. Even though it originates from Siberia, after thousands of years, this herb managed to become a regular cooking ingredient around the globe. Garlic is familially related to chives, leeks, shallots, and onions.
Despite its prominent place in the kitchen, garlic’s uses extend far past culinary uses. The use of garlic for treating various health problems is becoming more and more popular. People use it for managing diabetes, traveler’s diarrhea, to treat the enlarged prostate, swine flu, regular flu, yeast infection, and increased blood pressure during late pregnancy. Here is the scientific proof behind these popular garlic uses:
1. Stronger immunity
According to several pieces of research (2), garlic boosts the immune system in more than one way. One research concluded that it improves immune responses against bacteria and viruses. Another study found that garlic increases the production of interleukins, which improves the immune response against pathogens.
2. Lowers heart disease risk
Garlic has the potential to protect against heart disease, according to this study (3). The herb affects several risk factors associated with heart diseases, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and atherosclerosis markers (fat build-up in the arteries). All this can decrease the occurrence of heart disease.
3. Lower cancer risk
Garlic has been traditionally used for preventing various types of cancer like breast, rectal, prostate, stomach, and lung cancer. These claims have been supported by studies. Based on studies (4), fresh homemade garlic extract can be useful for preventing various types of cancer.
4. Dealing with diabetes
According to research (5), garlic can help people with diabetes manage their condition. A study found that raw garlic improves insulin sensitivity and decreases metabolic syndrome, which helps in diabetes management.
5. Better bone health
One study (6) investigated the effects of the consumption of two garlic tablets a day for 12 months and found that osteoporosis levels decrease as a result. Another study (7) found a link between garlic consumption and bone loss in postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis, seeing positive results after the consumption of garlic tablets twice a day for eight months.
According to studies (8), garlic has powerful neuroprotective properties that are excellent for treating headaches.
7. Oral health
Some people use it as a mouthwash or toothpaste. It may seem strange, but according to research (9), garlic can help prevent oral bacteria and tooth cavities.
8. Skin disease
Several clinical looked at the efficacy of garlic in treating several skin conditions, such as warts, venous ulcers (10), and skin wounds. One of the clinical trials (11) found that taking two garlic extract tablets a day was more effective in treating warts than other methods. Another found an improvement in wound healing (12) when garlic extract is used.
9. Fights fungus and parasites
Studies (13) also show that the fragrant herb also has potent therapeutic benefits, including fighting several types of fungi such as candida, in addition to also fighting several parasites.
10. Fights viruses and microbes
The traditional use of garlic to treat the common cold and the flu has been backed up by some studies that showed anti-viral and anti-microbial properties of the herb