Garlic, we all have it in our homes, probably consume it on a daily basis, but may not be aware of the many benefits it has on heart health as well as other aspects of health and wellness. With respect to heart health, adequate consumption of garlic (in the right forms and doses) can help to reduce elevated blood pressure. It can also help to correct cholesterol levels by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and raising good cholesterol (HDL). Garlic can also be used as part of a plan to address atherosclerosis, intermittent claudication, and prevent blood clots. In addition to its effects on heart health, garlic is also known for its antimicrobial action, effective against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It further helps fight infection by stimulating the immune system. Garlic can also be used for its liver protecting properties and to help manage blood glucose.
In addition to dietary sources, garlic is available in various forms including tinctures, dry powdered and as an extract of active ingredients, which can be found in liquid, powder, capsule and tablet forms. Different compounds found in garlic can have different effects and benefits so it is important to select the right form for the condition being addressed. When fresh garlic is crushed, the compound allicin is activated. Allicin’s primary effect is as an antimicrobial and a blood thinner. Aged garlic extract is produced through a process that breaks down allicin into different stable compounds. These compounds lack some of the effects of allicin but they do have cardioprotective properties and are effective at managing cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and preventing arterial plaque formation.
It is important to consult with a naturopathic doctor before using a garlic supplement to determine the right form and dose for your specific needs. Caution should be used in people with sulphur allergies or those receiving other forms of blood thinners or undergoing surgery.