Garlic Background Information

Garlic –Allium Sativum in its binomial name - is a biennial herb which stems from the same family as onions and it’s no wonder both of these plants have immense health benefits to our bodies.

Now, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, with records showing that as far back as 4,500 B.C ancient pyramid builders in Egypt used to eat cloves of garlic each day to boost their well-being and general health status.

To add on to the importance of garlic and its wide variety of health benefits to the human body, Hippocrates himself-The father of medicine - highly recommends garlic as a means of making our bodies healthy by keeping disease-causing bacteria and even viruses at bay.

Health Benefits Of Garlic
Credit: (photo taken by Rüdiger Wölk, Münster, Germany) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

What Gives Garlic Its Health Benefits?

In every clove of garlic you will easily find sulfur, Diallyl Sulphides and Allicin among a host of other close to 400 compounds, minerals and vitamins.


Sulfur is the main contributor and generally the secret behind garlic’s tremendous health benefits. You can easily tell that a clove of garlic is high in sulfur mainly from its taste and smell.

Generally, the stronger the taste and smell of garlic, the higher the amount of sulfur that will be found in it hence the better its medicinal properties.

Diallyl Sulphides

Diallyl Sulphides on the other hand are responsible for increasing blood circulation in the body hence improving your cardiovascular health.

garlic health benefits
Credit: Garlic bulbs by Grenade via Flickr [CC-BY-2.0]


I also mentioned Allicin as one of the compounds found in garlic; Allicin, which interestingly does not become active unless you crush the clove of garlic, is an anti-biotic and anti-fungal compound which prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Another important thing to note about Allicin is that after you have crushed the cloves of garlic, you should leave them for about approximately ten minutes before you either eat them whole or use them in your food.

This is mainly due to the fact that the production of Allicin is from a chemical reaction that takes about ten minutes to get to its peak whenever a clove of garlic is crushed. After one hour however, the “power” of Allicin in your crushed cloves starts to take a dive.

For this reason therefore, it is important that you use your crushed garlic not earlier than 10 minutes and not later than one hour after you either slice or crush the cloves of garlic.

Health Benefits Of Garlic
Credit: By H. Zell (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia commons

The Health Benefits Of Garlic

The health benefits of garlic cloves that come about as a result of the presences of the compounds that I mentioned above are many but I will only mention a few and cover the rest in my other articles on the benefits and health benefits of garlic.

Some of these health benefits include:

1. Garlic Helps In Preventing Cancer

It is unfortunate but from recent research that has been conducted, about fifty percent of men and about 30 percent of women will develop cancer at some point in their lives.

The good news however, from more studies that have been conducted on garlic, is that people who take garlic at least twice a week can greatly reduce their chances of ever getting all types of cancer.

This is true as health experts strongly believe that garlic is somewhat responsible for preventing the growth of cancerous cells.

2. Garlic As A Treatment For Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that is mainly brought about by the body’s ability or inability to produce insulin.

Garlic on the other hand however helps the body to produce insulin and as a result it can be used as a treatment for diabetes and also prevent it from ever occurring altogether.

Credit: Wikimedia commons
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3. Garlic Reduces The Blood Cholestrol Level

The two different types of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein, are responsible for the buildup of cholesterol in our blood vessels.

HDL or high-density lipoprotein is responsible for making sure that plaque doesn’t build up in blood vessels –especially the arteries- while the LDL or low-density lipoprotein is the main culprit behind the buildup of cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels.

What usually happens when you take garlic is that it lowers LDL by as much as one fifth’s while at the same time it raises the amount of HDL in your blood stream.

Your cholesterol levels need to be in check as it has been found that nearly forty percent of the adult population suffers from high cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol levels comes with a host of health problems such as heart problems, strokes and the like so your cholesterol levels being in check is incredibly important.

Garlic Health Benefits

4. Garlic Will Lower Your Blood Pressure

Nearly a quarter of the adult population is affected by problems related to high blood pressure.

Now, I don’t really want to get too deep into the side effects and implications of high blood pressure which usually range from heart problems and strokes, but I am quite sure that you know why your blood pressure needs to be within healthy limits.

Studies that have been conducted in the past have shown that individuals who take garlic or garlic supplements lower their blood pressure by up to 5%.

To add on to that, if you are at risk of getting a stroke, garlic supplement can lower that risk factor by up to 40%.

5. Garlic Can Be Used In Treating Respiratory Infections

Garlic is also a known anti-catarrh (prevents inflammation of the mucus membranes) it is therefore used as an expectorant in addition to it being an anti-biotic.

For this reasons therefore, garlic is usually used in treating a wide variety of respiratory infections such as hay fever, bronchitis, sore throats, a running nose, sinusitis and the rest.

In Conclusion

As you can see, the health benefits of garlic cloves are diverse and many and for that reason garlic is used in treating a wide variety of bacterial, fungal and even viral infections.

However in case you suffer from the various ailments that we went through and still your condition does not seem to be improving even after taking garlic, I will strongly suggest that you seek medical advice.

Garlic as a condiment

Garlic as a condiment
Credit: Garlic rice by Mike Saechang via Flickr [CC-BY-ND-2.0]


Here is everything you need to know about garlic:

In A Clove Of Garlic

  • There are over 400 ingredients found in any clove of garlic
  • Sulfur, Diallyl sulphides and Allicin are mainly responsible for the health benefits associated with garlic
  • Apart from garlic improving your general cardiovascular health, it will also keep cancer at bay.
  • You only need to take two cloves of garlic a day to stay healthy, but if you don't like smelling like garlic, you can always take odorless garlic supplements.

You can read more on garlic and its health benefits HERE

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