Garlic is a highly nutritious vegetable with very few calories. It is a natural medicinal ingredient, both as a fresh plant and supplement, can strengthen immune function and boost overall well-being.
It is a delicious flavor and its health benefits have led to a steady increase in demand. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, a healthy adult can safely consume up to four cloves of garlic each day, with each one weighing about a gram.
The thing that gives the distinctive taste and smell to garlic is its active ingredient allicin. The body-strengthening effects of this herb are also due to this ingredient. Whether you take your garlic powdered, salted, or minced or in supplement form, you can reap the surprising benefits of this multipurpose herb for optimal health.
- Treats acne
It may not be found in the acne products as an ingredient, but is very useful in treatments to get rid of blemishes. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so rub a sliced clove of garlic on the pimple for an effective topical treatment.
- Treats hair loss
It is extremely high in sulfur and keratin, the protein hair is made of. This stimulates fortification and growth. You hair may smell like garlic, but that could help in the treatment of hair loss.
- Fights common cold
Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system. One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo. Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%.
- Lowers blood pressure
Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes are the world’s biggest killers. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications.
- Garlic conquers cold sores
A popular cold sore home remedy involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore; its natural anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce pain and swelling. Garlic supplements may also speed up the healing process, according to ecosalon.com.
- Enhances physical performance
Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances. It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of labourers.
Subjects with heart disease that took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a reduction in peak heart rate of 12% and improved their exercise capacity.
- Improves bone health
No human trials have measured the effects of garlic on bone loss. However, rodent studies have shown that it can minimise bone loss by increasing estrogen in females. One study in menopausal women found that a daily dose of dry garlic extract (equal to 2 grams of raw garlic) significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency. This suggests that this garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women.
Foods like garlic and onions have also been shown to have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis.