Garlic – a helpful little bulb!

Garlic has so many wonderful properties and uses – not just for keeping Vampires at bay, it has been part of our kitchens for centuries!

For thousands of years, before this bulb was used to flavour our favourite dishes, it was used as a medical treatment in ancient cultures.

The health benefits of garlic were used by Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman civilisations.  To quote the often-called father of western medicine, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

What is garlic?

Being one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, garlic is a hardy perennial belonging to the Liliaceae family. Onions, chives, and leeks also boast membership to this family.

The bulb is the most commonly used part of the garlic plant and is typically composed of eight to twenty individual teardrop-shaped cloves enclosed in a white, parchment-like skin.

Known for its distinctive flavour and pungent aroma it has curative and medicinal properties because of its antibacterial and antiseptic nature.

The beneficial compound found in garlic is called Allicin, but it is also rich in minerals such as:

  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Thiamine

Let us take a look at five of the health benefits of this wonderful little bulb:

  1. Is good for bone health.

A 2018 study measured the effects of garlic on bone health, specifically in women after menopause.  These women were given a 12-week garlic supplement and was found to reduce pain in overweight women with knee osteoarthritis.

Animal studies have shown that garlic may minimise bone loss by increasing oestrogen.

Research has also shown that it contains a compound called diallyl disulphide which helps to maintain bone density and therefore can potentially delay the onset of bone-related ailments like osteoarthritis!

  1. Can boost your immunity.

Your body’s immunity is what keeps it from getting sick in the first place, it also aids in the fight against illness.

Research has shown that aged garlic extract (AGE) can give a much-needed boost to your immune system.

This particular study found that people who took AGE supplements for three months during the cold and flu season experienced less severe symptoms and fewer days missed off school or work!

  1. Can lower blood pressure.

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes are responsible for more deaths that almost any other condition.

High blood pressure is the cause of 13.5% of deaths worldwide and because of this, addressing one of the primary causes – high blood pressure, is extremely important.

A study found that taking garlic supplements reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.  Researchers linked this effect to a 16-40% reduced risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease.

The research also noted that the effect of garlic was similar to some blood pressure medications but with fewer side effects.

  1. Has anti-biotic properties

Garlic has a long history of use as an infection fighter against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.  This is probably due to the fact that garlic contains allicin.

Allicin is a bioactive antibiotic that can help fight infections and bacteria, when sliced squashed or diced.  It has been shown to supress the growth of:

  • Fungi
  • Protozoa
  • Viral infections
  • Bacteria e.g., salmonella
  1. May help you live longer!

This one is rather tongue in cheek as the potential effects of garlic on longevity are basically impossible to prove in humans!

But given the fact that it has beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer!

On a final note ……

It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any supplements as some people may be allergic or have a medical condition which prevents them from being able to eat garlic.

It can also give you bad breath and may also affect your body’s blood-clotting ability.  If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medications, talk with your G.P. before increasing your garlic intake.

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or [email address=””