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What is the health benefit of garlic? Uses and side effects

Garlic is one of the most widely used herbs since ancient times. Especially due to its anti-bacterial effect, it is used in the treatment of many diseases. It contains so many vitamins and minerals. It prevents the development of many diseases, especially heart disease and high blood pressure. Since it also has antifungal and antioxidant properties, garlic is one of the leading plants against cancer. It is a very valuable root plant for bone, skin and hair stamina, a rich source of vitamins. It is scientifically proven that it boosts the immune system. Therefore, it is a protective food especially from winter diseases such as colds and flu. It can be consumed raw or cooked, and can be added to any meals with vegetables and meat.

What is garlic?

Garlic is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times for the purpose of healing as well as for its taste in all world cuisines. Belonging to Alliaceae plant family (onion family), it contains many vitamins and minerals. As an annual plant, it includes 33 kinds of sulfur compounds, 17 kinds of amino acids, minerals such as manganese and zinc as well as vitamin A, vitamin B vitamin E and plenty of vitamin C.

This medicinal plant with its antibiotic properties has antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic effects. Therefore, it has been proven to be beneficial for flu, cold, asthma, cough, bronchitis, tonsil, rheumatism and joints.

Nutritions and vitamins in garlic

It contains high amounts of manganese and B6, sufficient amount of vitamin C, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium. It has flavonoid compounds and amino acids known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Many benefits of garlic are due to a sulfur compound, Allicin (which gives smell and flavor to it).

Health benefits of garlic

Most of the researches investigating the effects of it on health are made with garlic supplements (such as garlic oil, powder extracts and capsules). According to the scientific studies, the main benefits are:

Garlic and diabetes

  • Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems increase when adiponectin (a hormone secreted by fat cells) decreases in the blood. It increases the level of adiponectin in the blood and lowers the level of fasting blood glucose.
  • It prevents diabetes complications such as nephropathy.
  • It is effective in reducing insulin resistance.
  • Garlic oil can help protecting diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy (abnormal expanding or stiffening heart muscle disease).
Garlic is a very strong anti-bacterial

It is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial

It has antimicrobial properties due to its sulfur compounds. Diallyl sulfide is effective in the treatment of intestinal infections caused by Campylobacter bacteria. Garlic extract inhibits the development of 7 pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. The allicin compound is also effective against malaria carrying parasites.

It has been proposed for the treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and giardiasis, and in the prevention of drug-resistant microbial diseases. Garlic essential oil can be effective in eliminating microbes by disinfecting the lungs and bronchi. In the case of a splinter in finger, place a piece of cut garlic on the damaged area and cover it with a plaster. In the case of bites and bee stings, it is therapeutic to apply it to area. Garlic oil can also be used for ear infections.

Garlic and fungal infections

It prevents the multiplication of fungal lesions and relieves itching. It is one of the most effective methods for the fungi nested especially under the nails.

  • Treatment of toenail fungus: Fungus grows in warm and humid areas. Compress the fungus-affected area with a warm, wet and clean cloth. This opens the pores and gets the fungus to the surface. Thus, treatment is more effective. Then mix the two cloves crushed garlic and 2 tbsp olive oil and apply this mixture to the infected toenail, wrap your toe with a bandage. Wait a few hours and then wash it away. Repeat this process until your condition is over.

Although it is recommended to use garlic in the treatment of vaginal fungi, the research does not support it. It may also be dangerous to put it in such a sensitive area.

Garlic is effective against cold and flu

Compounds such as allicin in it are very effective against cold and flu infections. In a study conducted on humans, one group received garlic supplementation, other group received placebo, and fewer cases of cold and flu were observed in people who received garlic supplement. Having a garlic drink which you boil a few cloves in water is very effective in the treatment of influenza. Its effect of perspiration is beneficial against fever and cough.

Garlic and blood pressure

According to scientific studies,it helps reduce blood pressure in more than 80% of patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). It is also proven to be as effective as Atenolol as a hypertension drug. The active sulfur compound DADS in it has the ability to reduce blood pressure. Therefore people with low blood pressure should not consume garlic! Also consuming it regularly increases the elasticity of blood vessels and reduces blood vessel damage caused by inflammation.

Garlic and cholesterol

In a 12-month study conducted with high cholesterol patients who regularly use garlic, it was found that there was a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It is also safer than cholesterol drugs.

Garlic and heart health

  • The aged garlic extract reduces plaque formation in coronary artery vessels in patients with metabolic syndrome.
  • It can slow the progression of atherosclerosis
  • It can reverse the early stages of heart disease
  • Diallyl sulfide in garlic helps to protect the heart.
  • Chemical compounds in it reduce blood clot formation.
  • It is effective in preventing health problems such as heart attack, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure by preventing thrombosis.
  • Allicin compound in garlic has tremendous benefits to the cardiovascular system and circulatory system.

Garlic cleans the body from toxins

  • Diallyl disulfide (DADS) as its organosulfur compound provides protection against alcohol-induced liver damage.
  • Sulfur compounds protect the body from symptoms such as headaches caused by heavy metal toxicity and increased blood pressure, and organ damage,.
  • It was found that 3 doses of garlic per day was more effective than Penisilamin-D in preventing symptoms.
  • It helps to remove accumulated toxins in the body, caused by air pollution, cigarette smoke and chemicals.

Garlic protects bone health

It helps protecting osteoblast cells from any damage (bone cells that help produce new bone matrix). It lowers osteoarthritis levels, especially in women. The consumption of 2 grams of raw garlic per day significantly reduces the symptoms of estrogen deficiency in women during menopause.

Garlic protects cognitive function

Researchers have concluded that the enzyme called SAC in the aged garlic extract can be used in drug development to treat Alzheimer and dementia.

Garlic is effective against hair loss

Garlic gel has been tested on people who use corticosteroids (a hormone secreted from the adrenal glands) in the treatment of alopecia areata disease, known as ringworm, and it could be beneficial to use it together with coconut oil. In addition, massaging the scalp with garlic oil can prevent hair loss.

It is good for skin diseases

It protects the skin from the effects of free radicals, and gives the skin elasticity by slowing down the collagen loss. When applied topically, it provides protection against skin diseases such as acne and eczema.

Garlic delays aging

Many scientific studies have shown that it affects our genes and delays aging by preventing cell destruction in DNA sequencing. While stress, grief, inactivity can increase cell destruction, this herbal medicine reduces destruction.

Does garlic protect from cancer?

Research shows that it has anti-cancer properties. According to different studies done:

  • Brain cancer: Organo-sulfur compounds in it gave positive results in the treatment of glioblastoma, a lethal brain tumor.
  • Colon cancer: Women who consume a lot of garlic have a 50% lower risk of distal colon cancer than those who consume less.
  • Esophagus and stomach cancer: Frequent consumption of it and various onion species reduces the risk of esophageal and gastric cancer.
  • Prostate and pancreatic cancer: Garlic and green onion consumption can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 50% and pancreatic cancer by 54%.
  • Skin cancer: Garlic extracts can be beneficial when applied to some skin tumors. According to one study, when ajoene (a substance in garlic) was applied to the skin for 1 month, an average of 47% decrease in tumor size was observed.
  • Thyroid cancer: The organic sulfur in it suppresses thyroid cancer cells.

Does garlic help to lose weight?

Consuming one clove of garlic a day helps to lose weight. It helps to accelerate metabolism and remove toxins in a short time. For slimming down, you can make a tea with garlic, ginger and lemon.

Garlic ginger lemon tea recipe


  • 3 cloves of garlic, a small piece of ginger root
  • 4-5 drops of lemon juice, 2 glasses of water.

Preparation: Boil water. Crush ginger and throw it in. Add peeled garlic after water boils and continue boiling it. After cooling it down a bit, filter it and add lemon juice for the bad odor. Do not have it for more than 15 days as a cure. If you have a chronic condition, do not use it without consulting your doctor.

Benefits of eating raw garlic

Swallowing raw garlic facilitates digestion, increases the body’s resistance, gives energy and provides protection against cold. But swallowing on an empty stomach is not recommended. Gastrointestinal and digestive system patients should not consume it.

How should garlic be consumed?

Most of the health benefits of garlic stem from the sulfur compounds that are released when garlic cloves are chopped, crushed or chewed. It is recommended to wait 2-3 minutes after crushing or cutting to take advantage of the enzymes in it. The use of raw garlic in meals is the most nutritious consumption method. Cooking leads to a decrease in the anti-cancer and antimicrobial potential of it.

It can be used to marinate red and white meats together with thyme and olive oil. It can be added to meals as a spice. Dry garlic can be grilled. It can be added to soups for flavor and healing. It can be chopped into tomato and yogurt sauces. It can be added to salad dressings with oil and vinegar.

How does the smell of garlic go?

Chewing cloves, chewing some parsley, drinking lemon juice and chewing a peppermint gum will get the garlic smell away from your mouth. You can rub your hands with raw potatoes to remove the smell from your hands or you can soak your hands in a bowl of lemon juice for 2-3 minutes.

Benefits of black garlic

To make black garlic, white garlic heads are fermented by heat treatment for 2 weeks. This process gives the garlic black color, and the familiar garlic smell disappears. It has a plenty of antioxidant properties. It is a source of energy, vitamins, proteins and minerals. Comparing to white garlic, it is more effective against bacteria, virus and fungus originated diseases. Black garlic can help regulate the stomach acid balance, has antiallergic properties, and is a natural protector of the stomach.

A garlic recipe

Garlic soup recipe


  • 20 + 10 cloves of garlic, 1 onion
  • Half cup of whipped cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tbsp butter
  • 3.5 ~ 4 cups of water, 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, blackpepper


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Half coffee spoon of red flake peppers

Preparation: Put 20 unpeeled cloves of garlic on a tray, add salt, black pepper and olive oil, then cover them with an aluminum foil. Bake them in the oven at 170 degrees celcius until they get brown. Heat the butter in a pot with olive oil. Add the chopped onion and flour, and stir them. Mix it by adding water. Take the garlic from the oven and peel the shells and add to the pot. Mix it with a blender, and boil it for another 5 minutes. Add the cream, salt and pepper and mix it again. After a few more minutes on the fire, remove it from the stove. Serve it with a sauce of red flake peppers fried in the oil.

Side effects of garlic

  • When it is applied to skin for a long time, serious problems such as chemical burns, contact dermatitis and bronchial asthma may occur.
  • In some cases, it can cause allergies ranging from mild irritation on skin to potentially life-threatening problems.
  • If you have any gastrointestinal problems, pay attention. People with ulcers should stay away from raw garlic.
  • Raw garlic may cause burning sensation in the mouth or stomach, bad breath, heartburn, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, body odor and diarrhea.
  • If you have low blood pressure, thyroid problems, or ongoing health problems, talk to your doctor before eating it.
  • The consumption of it during pregnancy and breast-feeding should be first checked with your doctor.
  • It should not be given to children in high quantities.
  • Eating it on an empty stomach can cause heartburn, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • It can lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin.

Who should not eat garlic?

Asthma patients, people who are undergoing surgery, and people who are taking the following drugs:

  • Blood thinning drugs (coumadin, warfarin et al.)
  • Isoniazid (Nydrazid)
  • Birth control pills
  • Cyclosporine
  • Medications for HIV / AIDS (saquinavir, ritonavir et al.)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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