Garlic is an herb of the onion genus, Allium. The scientific name for garlic is Allium sativum. It has been used for over 6,000 years for its culinary and medicinal properties in Asia. Both fresh cloves and garlic supplements can be used to treat and prevent various diseases. Garlic’s very powerful and distinct odor comes from a substance in garlic called called allicin. Allicin is the main component that makes garlic an effect herb for treating and prevent health conditions. Allicin is only released from garlic cloves when they they are crushed, and is not present in whole cloves. Cooked garlic does not contain allicin either, it must be consumed raw.
Benefits of Garlic Supplements
Although raw garlic cloves contain the most allicin, garlic supplements can be a good alternative for those those that don’t constantly want garlic breath. It is also difficult to eat enough garlic consistently to get continual health benefits from it.
Garlic is most useful for treating conditions related to the heart and blood. Some of these conditions include:
high blood pressure
It may also have properties useful for preventing specific types of cancer including:
Garlic is also used as a treatment for Bladder cancer and prostate cancer.
Garlic is a powerful anti-oxidant and a purifying herb that cleanses the arteries and in-turn aids in lowering blood pressure. Garlic can help break up blood clots that have already formed.
Garlic is used by many people to treat and prevent the common cold and has been used as a remedy for infections, especially chest problems, due to its anti-bacterial properties. It can aid the body in fighting bacteria such as streptococcus (the bacteria that causes step throat) and staphyloccus (the bacteria that causes staph infections)
Garlic is high in vitamin C and contains the minerals selenium and germanium.
Garlic Side Effects
Garlic is a safe supplement but may cause some side effects for a small percentage of people which can include:
burning sensation in the stomach
increased risk of bleeding
Odorless Garlic Capsules
Although garlic capsules don’t usually cause noticeably bad breath for most people, odorless garlic capsules are an available option. There is a catch though. Since allicin is not a stable substance, manufacturers of odorless garlic supplements can age their garlic, so the allicin will degrade and loss its odor. The problem with these supplements is that contain very little allicin, if any, making them less effective.
When buying garlic capsules its important to choose a supplement that has an enteric coating so the garlic is not dissolved in the stomach, but rather the small intestine. It is also important to check the allicin level on the label of garlic supplements. Many garlic supplements will not include this information.