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Hypertension and Garlic

Updated on January 5, 2012

Garlic: The Stinking Rose of the Ancients


Garlic's amazing abilities to curb many health ailments and lower blood pressure naturally (including pulmonary hypertension), have been documented for over 5,000 years; thus making it one of the most effective herbs to lower blood pressure and increase your overall heart health.

Even without first-hand scientific proof, people throughout the ages have been benefiting from these marvelous cloves of the earth.

Ancient civilizations used the stinking rose (as garlic has sometimes been called) to enhance physical vigor, fight infections, and increase a soldier's strength in battle. In fact, references to garlic have been found among ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Indian medical texts.

Garlic was so prized by the ancient Egyptians, infact, that it was buried with their royalty. Six, very old and less-than-stinky, bulbs, for example, were discovered in the tomb of the young King Tut.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that the power of garlic has finally been proven to lower high blood pressure and the propensity for other cardiovascular disease.

Yes, garlic helps control blood pressure naturally and reduces the risk for other cardiovascular illness. Here's the science.

Alliin, Allinase and Allicin: The Building Blocks of Arterial Health

Allicin (a polysulfide) is the primary biological compound found in garlic and is widely accepted as the principle substance responsible for garlic's ability to lower high blood pressure and curb subsequent cardiovascular problems. So if you or someone you know or love suffers with high blood pressure, consider adding one of the best foods that lowers blood pressure to your/their diet: garlic.

Discovered by an Italian chemist, C.J. Cavallito in 1944, allicin is formed through the combination of two inherent garlic compounds, alliin and allinase. Both of which are considered sulfides.

When crushed, garlic bulbs go into defense mode by releasing small amounts of these sulfides to produce the powerful antimicrobial compound allicin.

Located in different parts of the bulb, alliin and allinase have no odor separate from each other. Only when combined do they produce garlic's trademark smell and subsequent health benefits.

In short, allicin is the garlic plant's primary immune system; thus keeping it safe from the myriad of soil microbes eager to feast on the tasty bulbs.

No wonder garlic has similar benefits for us.

Allicin, Hydrogen Sulfide, and Blood Pressure:


According to a recent study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), garlic's ability to lower high blood pressure has been isolated to a stinky sewer gas, hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

Although toxic in large amounts, H2S is naturally produced by the body to serve a very beneficial purpose: to control blood pressure naturally.

In a sort of paradoxical way, the same gas that offers the pungent smell of rotting eggs and odiferous sewers is now attributed to reducing hypertension. This is amazing science.

Apparently, when allicin is released into the blood stream through ingesting garlic, it triggers red blood cells to release small amounts of H2S.

Once released, the H2S targets unique cell-membrane channels to begin smooth muscle relaxation up to 72% in laboratory animals. Such results therefore classify H2S as a local signaling gas: eg. a gas acting as a catalyst within a cell.

This in turn increases blood flow resulting in lower blood pressure naturally.

Typically, such hardline evidence is difficult to ignore. But for the millions of people living with hypertension or other forms of cardiovascular disease, it is most-welcome news.

However, the power of garlic doesn't end with allicin.

Previous research has also demonstrated the ability of red blood cells to convert other sulfur compounds to H2S. And since garlic contains a few of these compounds, it's status as a heart-healthy powerhouse is further enhanced.



Outside its obvious cardiovascular benefits, garlic has been used for a slew of other physical and mental ailments. A short list includes the following:

  • General lethargy

  • GI Tract disorders

  • Arthritis

  • Constipation

  • Symptoms of Influenza and Colds

  • Antibacterial and Wound Dressing

  • Skin Protectant

  • The Plague

  • Worms

Facts Concerning Garlic and Allicin You Need to Know:

Even though the cardiovascular benefits if allicin and H2S have been documented, it's important to understand the limits to their benefits. The following list contains the principle guidelines.

  • Allicin is primarily produced by crushing garlic, not slicing.

  • The reaction between alliin and allinase takes between 10-15 minutes to produce allicin. So let your fresh garlic rest for just a while before using.

  • Allicin levels in garlic remain active up to 48 hours after released; so fresh garlic is considered best.

  • All garlic plants do not produce the same amount of allicin. Levels depend on climate and soil conditions. Recent studies have shown that Asian garlic has some of the greatest concentrations of allicin-producing compounds.



Throughout the centuries, garlic has proven to be one of the most beneficial and healthiest herbs in existence. Its flavor has been long been treasured along with its numerous cardiovascular health benefits and should therefore be included in every person's diet; and especially for people on a specific blood pressure diet.

No longer is the stinking rose of the ancients primarily used to embellish grandma's pasta sauce or ward off the palefaces of the night.

On the contrary, garlic is a powerful herb with powerful abilities to lower your blood pressure naturally, aid in pulmonary and other forms of hypertension, and assist your overall cardiovascular health.

So begin or continue your affair with these cloves of the earth today. Your heart and mind will love you for it.

But the vampires won't. LOL




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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I didn't know about those individual chemicals in garlic: Alliin, Allinase and Allicin, and how they work together in reducing high blood pressure. You explained the process very well. Even to the point of mentioning that slicing garlic doesn't work as well as crushing it.

    • conradofontanilla profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Diallyl disulfide gives the pungent odor of garlic; it reduces cancer initiation, promotion and progression. I have a Hub ""Wards Off Dracula," Garlic Treats Hypertension and More."

    • mmzh786 profile image


      7 years ago from Kerala

      good information.

      nice posting

    • yolanda yvette profile image

      yolanda yvette 

      8 years ago


    • profile image

      Jun Flores 

      8 years ago

      difficulty of breathing is one of the signs that we experience when this disease attacking to you seek medical advice immediately before worse thing scenario happens God Bless and More Power.

    • fitman profile image


      8 years ago from Ankara,Turkey

      I used it when I had high blood pressure. I don't know how much helped me but doctors recommend garlic and onion to their patients with high blood pressure.

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 

      9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Garlic rocks! When both me and my husband eat it, neither of us can smell it on the other but when only one eats it the other one knows. So I think everyone should eat it, that way we wouldn't have to defend.

    • queen cleopatra profile image

      Roselyn Mendoza 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      I've always crushed the garlic cloves first before mincing them. Someone told me that I'm wasting the tasty juices but now that I've read about the benefits of crushing the garlic, I have something to tell that nosy someone. Thanks! :)

    • Stayathomejobs profile image


      10 years ago from NC

      This is good to know. I have been using garlic for some time myself!

    • Prophecy Teacher profile image

      Prophecy Teacher 

      10 years ago from Dallas Texas

      I was a slicer not a crusher - but I've reformed my ways.

      Thank you for saving me Rob - and thanks for joining my HUB. I'll be sure to look for more of yours and read what else you have. God Bless.

    • Rob Jundt profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob Jundt 

      10 years ago from Midwest USA

      Hello everyone and thanks for the kind comments. Garlic really is a wonder plant with awesome taste to boot. I think I've even seen a garlic-flavored ice cream. That may be a stretch.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Awesome hub! When I do my herbal medicine page on my website, I'll definitely be linking to this hub.

      Thumbs up!

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't know if it's true but I once heard that in China garlic is sold at movies the way we sell popcorn...if so they are certainly doing the right thing, although I must admit I prefer the smell of buttered popcorn. :) thanks!

    • dayzeebee profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      garlic is a must in most of the dishes in our country. very informative hub. good job.

    • premsingh profile image


      10 years ago

      I love garlic in my dishes. I found all this information very useful and interesting.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Great job Rob,

      Informative and useful hub here. Thanks for sharing. C.S. Alexis

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I eat garlic in everything and I actually love the scent it has. Of course I have to brush my teeth afterwards because other people do not like the smell of garlic. Thanks for the interesting hub.

    • gjcody profile image


      10 years ago

      I take garlic eveyday. I didn't know it is better crushed. I will make sure I do that from now on when I use it for cooking or eating.

      You have a great hub ....and a lot of information ..I appreciate your research ...and will be back ...My best to you and your health!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks for all the clear cut info, Rob. I have always been a fan of garlic, but didn't know the specifics of how it works for better health. Now I know to crush and not slice. I always slice!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      I totally agree with you about garlic and I am a real fan of it....but there is one more herb that is also most benificial to us and that is ceyenne pepper. I take a capsule everyday. It makes all your organs work at full well as is a healing device for cuts and bleeding, and stomach ulcers and on and on.

      Great hub and thanks for the refreshing way you wrote it. G-Ma :o) hugs


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