All About Garlic
What is Garlic?
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a persistent flowering plant arising from a bulb (round and bulgy part) having a stingy smell. The bulb has thin outer leaves which enclose the inner sheath containing cloves. The bulb contains ten to twenty cloves that vary in shape and size, except for the central part. The bulb has a sharp pungent taste.
The garlic plant is indigenous to Central Asia but grows wild in Southern France and Italy. Garlic is a popular spice in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Facts of garlic
- Garlic is used worldwide as a seasoning substance to enhance the food flavor.
- Garlic has health benefits both in raw and cooked form
- For centuries, garlic has been utilized for medicinal purposes
- Modern science has confirmed many health benefits of garlic
Nutritional information about Garlic
One clove (3 gram) of raw garlic consist of the following
- Vitamin C-1% DV(daily value)
- Vitamin B6-2% DV
- Manganese-2% DV
- Selenium-1% DV
- Fiber-0.06 grams
- Protein -0.2 grams
- Carbohydrate-1 gram
- Garlic contains a sulfur compound known as allicin that contributes to significant health benefits.
- When garlic is crushed or chopped, the alliinase enzyme gets activated and converts alliin(present in uncut garlic)to allicin.
- Allicin is an unstable substance that converts to other sulfur compounds, such as diallyl polysulphides and ajoenes, with antimicrobial properties.
- Allicin gives the taste and smell of garlic
Health benefits of Garlic
Garlic is beneficial for a number of health conditions such as
- Promotes wound healing
- Prevents common cold
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improving cardiac health
- Improving bone health
- Helps preventing mental diseases
- Increasing longevity
- Reduces fatigue
- Detoxifying heavy metals
Garlic helps in wound healing
- Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and increases the rate of wound healing. it oil soothes painful joints and muscles and reduces swelling and redness also it reduces the risk of infection
Protection against the common cold
- Garlic improves the body’s ability to fight infections, It decreases the risk of common cold infection and also decreases the recovery time for people with the common cold
Reduces blood pressure
- High doses of garlic supplements decrease blood pressure in high blood pressure patients and reduces the risk of strokes
Improves the heart health
- Garlic decreases the total cholesterol level in the blood
- It decreases the low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol ) with no effect on high-density lipoprotein (the good cholesterol) decreases any risk of heart diseases
Improves bone health
- Garlic increases the levels of estrogen in menopausal woman. It reduces the risk of fractures (bone breaking) However, more research is warranted to prove the effect of garlic on bone health.
Prevents mental diseases
- Garlic has antioxidant properties that nullify the free radical in the body and prevents cell damage and aging. It decreases the risk of mental diseases such as dementia and alzheimer’s
- Garlic helps fight infections in chronic diseases, it lowers the risk of mortality causes viz; high blood pressure, high sugar
Reduces fatigue and improves athlete’s performance
- It decreases fatigue and improves the working capacity of individuals
- It enhances the exercise performance However, further research is warranted to validate the fact
Detoxifies heavy metals
- Garlic at high doses reduces the lead toxicity
- It protects the body against organ damage from heavy metals
- It also reduces the toxicity symptoms such as blood pressure and headache
Dosage of Garlic
The recommended daily doses of garlic are as follows
- Fresh raw garlic-2 to 5 grams
- Dried garlic powder-0.4 to 1.2 gram
- Aged garlic extract-2400 milligrams
- Garlic extract as solid material-300 to 1000 milligrams
- Garlic extract (for blood pressure)-300 to 2400 milligrams for 14 days to 6 months However, it is best to consult a physician to know the correct dose.
Forms of Garlic available commercially are:
- Whole clove
- Smooth paste
- Powdered form
- Garlic oil
- Tablet form
Side effects of Garlic
- Bad breath
- Body odor
- Stomach gas
- Stomach problem
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling around the face, mouth, tongue, throat
- Skin rash
- Eye inflammation
- Nasal inflammation
- Shortness of breath
Side effects of raw garlic when applied on the skin
- Skin irritation
- Burning sensation
- Skin damage
Garlic supplements are generally well tolerated, but it is best to consult a physician while taking garlic supplements for any medical condition daily.
Some rare side effects of Garlic supplements are as follows
- Appetite loss
- Extreme tiredness
- Muscle pain
- Skin rash
- Difficult breathing
One should avoid taking garlic in following conditions:
- Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should not consume garlic as a medicinal supplement due to a lack of information on the safety and efficiency of the supplement in these groups.
- People on blood thinning medicines
- Who have undergone any surgery (as it may delay healing time and might lower the blood pressure)
- People planning for a surgical operation (as it might lower blood sugar levels)
Interactions of Garlic
- Saquinavir is a drug for HIV(human immunodeficiency virus) infection
- Taking garlic and saquinavir together decreases the blood levels of saquinavir. It decreases the efficiency of the drug
Medicines broken down by the liver
- Garlic, when taken together with medicines broken by the liver viz; cytochrome P 450, might delay the body’s drug-breaking time
- It might also decrease the drug’s effectiveness and increase its side effects.
Anticoagulant medication (Medicines slowing the blood clotting process)
- Garlic slow downs the process of blood clotting
- Taking garlic and anticoagulant medicines viz; warfarin together might increase the risk of profuse bleeding as it decreases the drug’s effect
Antihypertensive medicines (blood pressure lowering medication)
- Garlic reduces the blood pressure
- Taking garlic and blood pressure medicines together might further dip the blood pressure causing lightheadedness and fainting.
Diabetic medications (blood sugar lowering medication)
- Garlic lowers the blood sugar
- Taking garlic and diabetic medication together might drastically decrease the body’s blood sugar level, causing sweating, lightheadedness, and confusion.
- Protease inhibitors are medications to treat HIV infection
- Taking garlic and protease inhibitors together decreases the blood levels of the medicine
- It reduces the effect of the medicine
- Atazanavir is a drug for treating HIV infection
- Taking garlic and atazanavir together decreases the blood levels of atazanavir.
- It reduces the drug’s efficiency
- Sofosbuvir is a drug to treat hepatitis C infection
- Taking ginger and sofosbuvir together increases the sofosbuvir quick flush out from the body which reduces the drug’s effect.
- Tacrolimus is a drug to prevent organ rejection
- Taking garlic and tacrolimus together decreases the liver’s ability to break down tacrolimus and increases the chances of side effects of the drug
- Isoniazid is an antibiotic that acts by preventing the growth of bacteria
- Taking ginger and isoniazid together decreases the blood levels of isoniazid and lowering the drug’s efficiency
Storage of Garlic
- One can refrigerate garlic but not freeze it, as it affects its flavor and shape.
- One can keep garlic in the stock room’s cool, dry, and dark places
- It can be stored for around eight weeks when kept correctly
- Garlic is a potential ingredient with multiple health benefits, and modern science is also revealing it.
- Garlic can cause skin lesions. So it is best to wear gloves while handling vast amounts of raw garlic to avoid skin irritation.
- People on blood thinning medication should always consult a physician about garlic intake in increased amounts to avoid potential side effects.