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Garlic

Also indexed as:Allium sativum
Garlic: Main Image© Steven Foster

Related Topics

Botanical names:
Allium sativum

Parts Used & Where Grown

Garlic has been used since time immemorial as a culinary spice and medicinal herb. Garlic has been cultivated in the Middle East for more than 5,000 years and has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The region with the largest commercial garlic production is central California. China is also a supplier of commercial garlic. The bulb is used medicinally.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Atherosclerosis
900 mg daily of a powder standardized for 0.6% allicin 3 stars[3 stars]
Garlic has been shown to slow down the process of the arteries hardening. Aged garlic extract has been shown to prevent oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, a significant factor in atherosclerosis development.
Warts
Rub cut clove onto area nightly and cover until morning, or apply oil-soluble extract twice per day3 stars[3 stars]
Studies have shown topically applied garlic to be effective at clearing common warts.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
1 ml aged extract per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight daily2 stars[2 stars]
A special garlic extract (Kastamonu Garlic) reduced prostate size and significantly improved urinary symptoms in one study.
Breast-Feeding Support
Follow label instructions2 stars[2 stars]
Infants have been shown in some studies to nurse longer when their mothers ate garlic. However, some infants may develop colic from garlic in breast milk.
Common Cold and Sore Throat
Follow label instructions to take a product containing stabilized allicin2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, taking garlic during the winter months reduced the occurrence and duration of colds.
High Cholesterol
600 to 900 mg a day of a standardized herbal extract2 stars[2 stars]
Taking garlic may help lower cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries.
High Triglycerides
600 to 900 mg daily of a concentrate standardized for 5,000 to 6,000 mcg of allicin2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with garlic may help keep triglyceride levels in check.
Hypertension
600 to 900 mg of a daily herbal extract 2 stars[2 stars]
Taking garlic may improve heart and blood vessel health and may help lower blood pressure.
Influenza
2.6 grams per day2 stars[2 stars]
Healthy volunteers who supplemented with an aged-garlic extract for 90 days decreased the number of days on which severe cold or influenza symptoms occurred by 58%.
Intermittent Claudication
400 mg of a standardized extract twice per day2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, people given a garlic powder extract could walk a significantly greater distance than those given a placebo.
Athlete's Foot
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The compound ajoene, found in garlic, is an antifungal agent that has been shown to be effective against athlete's foot. Crushed, raw garlic applied topically may also be effective.
Chronic Candidiasis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Garlic has been shown to have significant anti-Candida activity.
Ear Infections
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Ear drops with mullein, St. John's wort, and garlic in an oil or glycerin base are traditional remedies used to alleviate symptoms, particularly pain, during acute ear infections.
HIV and AIDS Support
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Garlic may help combat opportunistic infections. In one trial, an aged garlic extract reduced the number of infections and relieved diarrhea in a group of patients with AIDS.
Infection
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Garlic is an herb that directly attack microbes.
Parasites
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Garlic has been shown to kill parasites, including amoeba and hookworm, in test tubes and in animals. Other studies support the use of garlic to treat roundworm, pinworm, and hookworm.
Peptic Ulcer
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Garlic has been reported to have anti-Helicobacter activity in test-tube studies and may be helpful for peptic ulcers.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one trial, patients with sickle cell anemia who were given folic acid plus aged garlic extract, vitamin C, and vitamin E saw significant improvement and less painful crises.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions, including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy. Its use in China was first mentioned in A.D. 510. Louis Pasteur studied the antibacterial action of garlic in 1858.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

 
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