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Why Garlic? Health Benefits of the Popular Herb

Updated on October 12, 2015


Garlic, also known as Allium sativium, has been used to treat many ailments throughout history. It is even mentioned in the bible. The first written account of this popular herb dates back to 1500BC in an Egyptian papyrus.

Heart Health

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States, are due to heart disease. It is also a very expensive condition. Coronary heart disease costs the U.S. $108.9 billion each year.

Garlic is rich in compounds that lower blood cholesterol and decrease platelet aggregation. In other words, the platelets do not stick together as much. It helps keep the blood vessels clean and free of plaque which can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease. This offers a very cost-effective way to ensure heart health.

Garlic Health Benefits Quick View

  • Decreases plaque in arteries
  • Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, Anti-parasites
  • Powerful Antioxidant
  • Protects the liver
  • Does not cost $108.9 billion/year

Strengthens Your Immune System

Garlic has been used to treat fungal, bacterial and viral infections. The active ingredient of garlic, Allicin, attacks candida (yeast) cells by breaking through its surfaces. Allicin also stimulates the immune system. Garlic has also been shown to destroy intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms.

One of the properties which make garlic so beneficial is its ability to kill pathogenic cells without harming the natural cells of the body. It is able to differentiate our own cells from harmful ones through recognizing glutathione, a molecule present in our own healthy cells. This makes it favorable to antibiotics, which cannot make that differentiation. This is why antibiotics are associated with many negative side effects.



Garlic makes for a powerful antioxidant tool. In addition to having vitamin A, C and selenium which are antioxidants, it also contains sulfhydryl (sulfur and hydrogen). Sulfhydryl helps to excrete toxic heavy metals from the body and protects against oxidants and free radicals.

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) has been shown to not only increase antioxidant potential, but also protects against DNA damage and keeps blood vessels healthy. It prevents fats from being oxidized and dumped into the tissues and arteries. This prevents unwanted clogging of the blood vessels and eventual heart disease. It can also guard against radiation and sun damage.

Garlic can also prevent liver damage. The liver is the main detox organ of the body. Keeping it happy and healthy is the first step in detoxification.

Parsley Sprig
Parsley Sprig | Source

Preparing Garlic

The Worlds Healthiest Foods Organization discusses the best way to prepare garlic. They mention that the best way to release the Allicin out of garlic is to chop, mince or press it then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. It also says to cook it no longer than 15 minutes to limit the loss of valuable nutrients.

Side note, Allium happens to be celtic for pungent. To avoid the infamous garlic breath, try eating a fresh parsley sprig. Now there’s no excuse not to eat it!

For more information visit the following website:

A How To Guide For Preparing Garlic


Zimmermann, M. (2001). Burgerstein’s handbook of nutrition: Micronutrients in the prevention and therapy of disease. New York, New York: Thieme.

Kamhi, E., Zampieron, E.R. (1999). The natural medicine chest: Natural medicines to keep you and your family thriving into the next millenium. Oyster Bay, New York: Natural Alternatives Health, Education & Multimedia, Inc.

Kamhi, E., Zampieron, E.R. (2006). An alternative medicine definitive guide to arthritis: Reverse underlying causes of arthritis with clinically proven alternative therapies (2nd Ed.). Berkeley California: Celestial Arts.

Balch, P.A. (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing Fourth edition A practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements. New York New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc..

Do you use garlic when cooking?

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    • HealthGuru1248 profile image

      HealthGuru1248 5 years ago

      Thank you milyas32!

    • HealthGuru1248 profile image

      HealthGuru1248 5 years ago

      Hi lifetips123- Thank you for commenting! I really appreciate your feedback. Writing it still pretty new to me and its nice to know I'm doing something right :)

    • HealthGuru1248 profile image

      HealthGuru1248 5 years ago

      jpcmc- Thank you for your comment! Most people don't realize cooking time is important to get high nutritional value with almost anything, especially meats and veggies. I love garlic too it's delicious.. It's a good thing it's healthy for us!

    • lifetips123 profile image

      Praveen P.V. Nair 5 years ago from Trivandrum

      Hi healthguru, It is a great and informative one and is well explained too. I agree with JPCMC also. Keep in touch. voted up and useful

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is really fascinating. I know that garlic is healthy. But your told me why. I love garlic in almost anything I eat. It's good to now that I have to watch how long I cook it to get the most out of it. So et the time to 15 minutes and nothing more. Voted Up and shared.