What is Garlic?
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the lily family that is cultivated worldwide. The garlic bulb is the most commonly used portion of the plant and is composed of individual cloves enclosed in a white, parchment like skin.The teardrop-shaped garlic bulbs vary in size; however, they usually average around two inches/5 cm in height and two inches/5 cm in width at their widest point. Elephant garlic has larger cloves and is more closely related to the leek.
Intensely aromatic and flavorful, garlic is used in virtually every cuisine in the world. When eaten raw, it has a powerful, pungent flavor to match the truly mighty garlic benefits. Garlic is particularly high in certain sulfur compounds that are believed to be responsible for its scent and taste, as well as its very positive effects on human health.
Garlic benefits rank only second to turmeric benefits in the amount of research backing this superfood. At the time of this article’s publication, there were more than 5,100 peer-reviewed articles that evaluated garlic’s ability to prevent and improve a wide spectrum of diseases.
Eating garlic regularly is not only good for us; it has been linked to reducing or even helping to prevent four of the major causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections.The National Cancer Institute does not recommend any dietary supplement for cancer prevention, but it does recognize garlic as one of several vegetables with potential anticancer properties.
Other than the most extreme, rare situations, I believe every person on the planet should consume garlic. It’s extremely cost-effective, super easy to grow and tastes absolutely fantastic. So find out more about garlic benefits, garlic uses, garlic research, how to grow your own garlic and some great-tasting garlic recipes.
Native to Central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Its usage predates written history. Sanskrit records document the use of garlic remedies approximately 5,000 years ago, while the Chinese have been using it for at least 3,000 years. The Ebers Codex, an Egyptian medical papyrus dating to about 1550 B.C.E., mentions garlic as an effective remedy for a variety of ailments. Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Pliny cited numerous therapeutic uses for garlic. Garlic has been used throughout the world to treat atherosclerosis, coughs, dandruff, diarrhea, diphtheria, dysentery, earache, hypertension, hysteria, toothache, vaginitis, and many other conditions.
Stories, verse, and folklore, such as its alleged ability to ward off vampires, give historical documentation to garlic’s power. Sir John Harrington, in The Englishman’s Doctor, written in 1609, summarized garlic’s virtues and faults:
Garlic then hath power to save from death Bear with it though it maketh unsavory breath, And scorn not garlic like some that think It only maketh men wink and drink and stink.
Currently, China, South Korea, India, Spain, and the United States are among the top commercial producers of garlic.
Garlic Nutritional Value
Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B 6. It is also a very good source of manganese, selenium, and vitamin C. In addition, garlic is a good source of other minerals, including phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron, and copper. A 100 gram serving provides 149 calories with 6.4 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and 33.1 grams of carbohydrate, mostly complex, with 2.1 grams of ﬁber.
Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.
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A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of garlic contains:
Manganese: 23% of the RDA
Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA
Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA
Selenium: 6% of the RDA
Fiber: 0.6 grams
Decent amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1
Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything you need. This comes with 42 calories, 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs.
|Garlic Nutrition Facts|
|Serving Size 1 average clove (4 g)|
|Per Serving||% Daily Value*|
|Calories from Fat 0|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0g|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 1%|
|Calcium 1% · Iron 0%|
Sulfur-Containing Compounds in Garlic
The six categories of sulfur-containing compounds presented below will give you an initial look at the remarkable complexity of this allium vegetable. In terms of potential health benefits, each of these compounds has been studied fairly extensive. However, it is also worth noting here that the majority of studies have not focused on the presence of compounds in fresh garlic consumed as a food, but rather on garlic supplements, whether they be oils, tablets, powders, or other types of extracts.
- Sulfur-Containing Amino Acids and Peptides
- S-ethyl cysteine (SEC)
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
- allyl sulfinates
- methyl allyl sulfinates
- Sulfides, Diallyl Sulfides and Polysulfides
- hydrogen sulfide (H2S)
- diallyl sulfide (DAS)
- diallyl disulfide (DADS)
- diallyl trisulfide (DATS)
While there are far more details here than can be covered in a summary food profile, we would like to point out two basic types of health benefits associated with these sulfur-compounds. First are the benefits associated with sulfur itself. Even though this mineral does not have public health recommendations associated with it and is not included as a DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) nutrient by the National Academy of Sciences, it is well-known to play a critical role in our health, especially in connection with cellular detoxification system, the health of our joints and connective tissue, and oxygen-related metabolism. It is important not to overlook this sulfur-richness of garlic since it is a property of garlic that is not found in most foods that we eat.
Second are the benefits associated with unique forms of sulfur in this food. At the top of the list here would be allicin and its breakdown products. As indicated above, allicin is a thiosulfinate. The most immediate breakdown products of this thiosulfinate are the diallyl sulfides and polysulfides (DAS, DADS, and DATS). But in the presence of other sulfur-containing groups called thiols, these sulfides can also release free hydrogen sulfide (H2S). This H2S may be involved in the cardiovascular benefits of garlic since it appears able to work synergistically with nitric oxide (NO) in optimizing blood vessel elasticity.
Nutrients in Garlic
Adding roasted garlic to meals gives a lot of flavor and health benefits without added calories. A single clove of garlic contains only 4 calories and less than 1 gram each of protein, carbohydrate and fat. There are a very small amount of vitamins and minerals in garlic, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium and vitamins C, A and B. However, most of garlic’s health benefits come from potent anti-cancer compounds, immune-strengthening molecules and heart disease-preventing antioxidants it contains.
Garlic Health Benefits
It is beyond the scope of this book to detail all of the wonderful properties of this truly remarkable medicinal plant. Many of the therapeutic effects of garlic are thought to be due to its volatile factors, which are composed of the sulphur-containing compounds allicin, diallyl disulphide, diallyl trisulphide, and others. Additional constituents of garlic include other sulphur-containing compounds; high concentrations of trace minerals, particularly selenium and germanium; glucosinolates; and enzymes. Chopping or crushing garlic stimulates the enzymatic process that converts the phytochemical alliin into allicin, a compound to which many of garlic’s health beneﬁts are attributed. The compound allicin is also mainly responsible for the pungent odor of garlic.
Garlic appears to provide protection against atherosclerosis and heart disease. Many studies have shown that garlic decreases total serum cholesterol levels while increasing serum HDL- cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol, often termed “good” cholesterol, is a protective factor against heart disease. Garlic has also demonstrated blood pressure-lowering action in many studies.
It has typically decreased the systolic pressure by 8 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure by 5 mm Hg in patients with high blood pressure. In a 1979 study, three populations of vegetarians in the Jain community in India that consumed differing amounts of garlic and onions were studied. Numerous favorable effects on blood lipids, as shown in Table 10.2, were observed in the group that consumed the largest quantities of garlic and onions. The study is quite signiﬁcant because the subjects had nearly identical diets, differing only in garlic and onion ingestion.
Garlic also has a long history of use as an infection ﬁghter. In fact, it has been referred to as “Russian penicillin” to denote its antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial activity is due to allicin. Allicin has been shown to be effective not only against common infections, such as colds, ﬂu, stomach viruses, and Candida yeast, but also against powerful pathogenic microbes, including tuberculosis and botulism.
Garlic also appears to offer protection against some cancers. For example, studies have shown that as few as two or more servings of garlic a week may help protect against colon cancer. Substances found in garlic, such as allicin, have been shown not only to protect colon cells from the toxic effects of cancer- causing chemicals but also to stop the growth of cancer cells once they develop.
The beneﬁcial effects of garlic are clearly quite extensive. Its use as a food should be encouraged, despite its odor, especially by individuals with elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, Candida infections, asthma, infections (particularly respiratory tract infections), and gastrointestinal complaints.
Effects of Garlic and Onion
Consumption on Serum Lipids
Under Carefully Matched Diets
Garlic/Onion Cholesterol Triglycerides
None 208 mg/dl 109 mg/dl
10/200 grams per week 172 mg/dl 75 mg/dl
50/600 grams per week 59 mg/dl 52 mg/dl
Health Benefits of Garlic
1. Treats Cold and Cough
Eating raw garlic cloves helps treat colds and coughs. At the very onset of a cold eating, at least two crushed cloves may help in lessening the severity of your cold.
2. Reduces Hypertension
Garlic is an herbal ingredient for lowering high blood pressure. When exposed to high levels of pressure, the allicin present in it relaxes the blood vessels. It also fights against thrombosis by reducing platelet aggregation.
3. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Raw garlic, rich in the allicin compound, effectively prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing. All those who have high cholesterol levels should include this herb in their daily diet.
4. Boosts Heart Health
Regularly eating raw garlic cloves help prevent thromboembolism.  This means they reduce blood clots and promote better blood flow. They also have significant cardioprotective properties which help prevent diseases like atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, thrombosis, hypertension, and more.
5. Prevents Alzheimer’s & Dementia
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of raw garlic help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
6. Prevents Heavy Metal Poisoning
High doses of garlic can prevent organ damage caused by heavy metals. The sulfur compounds in this herb drastically reduce lead levels in the blood. Additionally, it also prevents the signs of toxicity such as headaches and blood pressure. Sulfur in this herb aids in better absorption of iron and zinc in the blood.
7. Boosts Digestion
Daily inclusion of raw garlic cloves in your diet aids in eliminating any digestive problems. The herb assists in the normal functioning of the intestines for good digestion. Even inflammation or irritation of the gastric canal may be reduced using this herb.
8. Regulates Blood Sugar
Eating raw garlic cloves significantly reduces blood sugar levels. Thus, it is a boon to those suffering from diabetes or at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
9. Boosts Immune System
Garlic has phytonutrients that help reduce oxidative stress, and prevent DNA damage, thereby, strengthening the immunity. Furthermore, the herb reduces fatigue, as well as increases energy and longevity.
10. Eye Care
It is rich in nutrients like selenium, quercetin, and vitamin C, all of which help treat eye infections and inflammation.
11. Relieves Ear Aches
This herb is commonly used for curing earaches and ear infections due to its antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties.
12. Improves Digestive Health
It clears up most intestinal problems like dysentery, diarrhea, and colitis. Its role in dispelling worms is phenomenal. It does not affect the good bacteria in the intestine but destroys the harmful ones. It not only enhances digestion but also helps relieve stomach gas.
13. Treats Wounds
It acts as an effective herbal treatment for the infected wound. Place 2 cloves on the infected area to get instant relief.
14. Prevents Acne
Garlic, along with other ingredients like honey, cream, and turmeric, can be used to treat acne scars and prevent the onset of acne. This herb is an effective skin cleanser and an antibiotic substance that helps treat many skin conditions. These include skin rashes, psoriasis, cold sores, and blisters. Additionally, it also helps in cell synthesis, protecting against UV rays, and in delaying aging.
15. Controls Asthma
Boiled garlic cloves are effective in treating asthma. Each night before going to sleep, a glass of milk with 3 boiled cloves of this herb can bring subsequent relief for patients with asthma. The asthma attacks may be brought under control by having crushed cloves with malt vinegar as well. Additionally, they can also be used to treat lung infections like cystic fibrosis.
16. Increases Libido
The herb has certain aphrodisiac properties, so it can be utilized as an effective rejuvenator for sex. The health benefits of this herb are further known to enhance the libido of both men and women. People who overindulge in sexual activities should consume garlic to protect themselves from nervous fatigue.
17. Prevents Cancer
A regular intake of garlic reduces the risk of colon, bladder, lung, prostate, stomach, brain, esophagus, and liver, cancer. It aids in reducing the production of carcinogenic compounds, and also reduces the occurrence of tumors associated with breast cancer.
18. Prevents Peptic Ulcer
The antibacterial compounds present in garlic can eliminate stomach parasites that cause peptic ulcers.
19. Bone Health
Herbs like garlic and onion impact estrogen levels in menopausal women, preventing the risk of osteoarthritis. It also minimizes bone loss and improves overall bone health.
20. Weight Loss
Garlic aids in weight loss and reducing obesity. It reduces the expression of genes that are involved in adipogenesis, which leads to the formation of fat cells. The herb increases thermogenesis, which helps burn fat and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
21. Prevents Fatty Liver
Garlic, rich in S-ally-mercapto cysteine (SAMC) and antioxidants, helps prevent fatty liver. These compounds also reduce the risk of hepatic injury.
22. Treats UTI and Kidney Infections
Garlic prevents the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen responsible for recurring urinary tract infections (UTI) and kidney infections. Additionally, fresh garlic extract is also used to prevent the growth of candida vaginitis and E. coli infection.
23. Prevents Hair Loss (Alopecia)
The herb helps in preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth. Regular application of garlic gel or garlic-infused coconut oil can also aid in treating alopecia.
24. Antibacterial and Antiparasitic Effects
Garlic extracts help treat Heliobacter pylori infection, tick bites, jock itch, and athlete’s foot. It also eliminates tapeworm and ringworm.
Traditionally, garlic has been used to treat stubborn splinters. Place a cut piece of its clove over the splinter cut, bandage it, and see the splinter and pain disappear!
26. Garlic for Diabetes
Garlic has shown its ability to help diabetics as well. Eating garlic has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially stop or decrease the effects of some diabetes complications, as well as fight infections, reduce LDL cholesterol and encourage circulation.
A study of diabetic rats showed that garlic may be very helpful at improving the overall health of diabetics, including the mitigation of common diabetic complications like atherosclerosis and nephropathy. These rats, which received a daily extract of raw garlic for seven weeks, significantly had lowered serum glucose (blood sugar level), cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Compared to the control group, the rats receiving raw garlic had 57 percent less serum glucose, 40 percent lower serum cholesterol levels and 35 percent lower triglycerides. In addition, urinary protein levels in garlic-treated rats were 50 percent lower.
Another study also showed that for type II diabetes patients, garlic significantly improved blood cholesterol levels. Specifically, garlic consumption reduced total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol and moderately raised HDL cholesterol compared to placebo. All of this shows how garlic benefits diabetics as part of a diabetic diet plan.
27. Prevention Of Blood Clots
Blood clotting is intimately balanced to ensure that blood neither clots too much, or not enough. While both ends of the spectrum are bad, excessive clotting is particularly troublesome as it can lead to heart attacks and strokes without you ever knowing. You could be sitting fine one second, then a clot dislodges from its place of origin and travels to the brain or lungs and blocks an important small artery. Garlic consumption reduces the risk of experiencing a thromboembolic event, so try and consume or supplement with more garlic.
28. Help Treat Yeast Infections
Garlic can help reduce the occurrence of vaginal yeast infections in women who tend to experience them frequently, such as diabetics with poor blood glucose control. Garlic has anti-fungal properties that inhibits the growth of fungi.
29. Help One Live Longer
The potential effects of garlic on longevity are basically impossible to prove in humans. But given the beneficial effects on important risk factors like blood pressure, it makes sense that garlic could help you live longer. The fact that it can fight infectious disease is also an important factor, because these are common causes of death, especially in the elderly or people with dysfunctional immune systems.
30. Athletic Performance Might Be Improved With Garlic Supplements
Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances. It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers. Most notably, it was given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece. Rodent studies have shown that garlic helps with exercise performance, but very few human studies have been done.
People with heart disease who took garlic oil for 6 weeks had a 12% reduction in peak heart rate and better exercise capacity. However, a study on nine competitive cyclists found no performance benefits. Other studies suggest that exercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.
31. Garlic Prevents Tooth Decay and Treats Oral Infections
Garlic has antibacterial effects on dental plaque bacteria that cause tooth decay if left untreated. Garlic also treats oral infections like periodontitis, oral thrush, and sore mouth from dentures. Garlic may be used in conjunction with antibiotics or to treat multidrug-resistant bacteria. Allicin in garlic combats bacteria by inhibiting sulfur-containing enzymes that bacteria need for survival.
32. Garlic May Help Treat HIV Infection
In a cell-based study, diallyl disulfide in garlic inhibited cell growth and selectively killed HIV-infected immune cells. Diallyl disulfide also inhibits virus replication by decreasing the production of proteins involved in HIV replication. Ajoene, a garlic extract, prevents normal blood cells from fusing with HIV-infected cells and inhibits HIV replication in infected cells. Ajoene may prevent cell fusion by inactivating platelet integrins (a protein that causes blood cells to fuse together) in the blood.
33. Garlic May Help Remove Scars
Garlic helps treat keloid scars, which are tough scars caused by the overgrowth of skin collagen. Garlic inhibits growth factors, nitric oxide, and enzymes involved in the production of collagen.
34. Garlic Improves Memory
Garlic increases brain serotonin, a neurotransmitter that enhances cognitive performance. Garlic oil improves memory function and cognitive performance in rats by increasing neuronal growth
How to Use Garlic?
Garlic is best used raw for microbial properties, although cooked garlic still has a lot of value. In fact, the antioxidant value is equal (or sometimes even higher) when cooked, which is counterintuitive because for most foods, cooking tends to decrease nutritional content.
You can add raw garlic to recipes that are sautéed, roasted or baked. You can also toss some raw garlic into your next homemade salad dressing, marinade, tomato sauce, soup or stew to get all these wonderful garlic benefits. Adding raw garlic to any vegetable, fish or meat is sure to intensify the flavor and health benefits.
Whether you’re ultimately using garlic raw or cooked, you can up the garlic benefits by chopping or crushing it and letting it sit before eating it or heating it for a recipe. The chopping activates alliinase enzymes in the garlic’s cells, and the sitting allows these enzymes to convert some of the garlic’s allin into allicin. Allicin then rapidly breaks down to form a variety of organosulfur compounds. Scientists suggest allowing garlic to stand for 10 minutes after chopping or crushing before cooking it.
Another way to use garlic is for infections. Using garlic oil is an excellent ear infection home remedy that can really work. Traditional cultures that don’t typically struggle with these types of diseases receive regular intake of garlic in their diets and don’t require medical interventions because heart disease, cancer and inflammatory-based illnesses are easily preventable when eating the right foods.
For general health promotion for adults, the World Health Organization recommends a daily dose of two to five grams (about one clove) of fresh garlic, 0.4 to 1.2 grams of dried garlic powder, two to five milligrams of garlic oil, 300 to 1,000 milligrams of garlic extract, or other formulations that are equal to two to five milligrams of allicin. Garlic is best stored at room temperature and should always be kept dry (to prevent it from sprouting). The herb can be consumed raw or cooked.
How to Select and Store Garlic
For best ﬂavor and maximum health beneﬁts, buy fresh garlic, as it is widely available. Purchase garlic that is plump, with unbroken skin. Do not buy garlic that is soft, shows evidence of decay, such as mildew or darkening, or is beginning to sprout. Garlic in ﬂake, powder, or paste form is convenient, but it is simply not as good as fresh garlic.
Fresh garlic should be stored at room temperature in an uncovered (or loosely covered) container in a cool, dark place away from exposure to heat and sunlight. Storing in this manner will help prevent sprouting, which reduces its ﬂavor and uses up the clove.
Depending upon its age and variety, a whole garlic bulbs will keep fresh from two weeks to two months. Inspect the bulb frequently and remove any cloves that appear to be dried out or mouldy. Note: Once you break the head of garlic, it greatly reduces its shelf life, to just a few days.
Tips for Preparing Garlic
Unless you are roasting the entire bulb, when using garlic you will need to separate the individual cloves from the bulb. You will next need to separate the skin from the individual cloves. There are kitchen tools that will do this for you, or you can do it with either your ﬁngers or a small knife.
When juicing garlic, it is best to remove the garlic clove from the bulb and wrap it in a green vegetable such as parsley. This accomplishes two things:
(1) It prevents the garlic from popping out of the juicer.
(2) The chlorophyll helps bind some of the odor. It is a good idea to juice the garlic ﬁrst, as the other vegetables will remove the odor from the machine.
Quick Serving Ideas for Garlic
• Garlic, either chopped, sliced, or crushed, is a valuable addition to many foods, sauces, and soups to improve the nutritional beneﬁts as well as the ﬂavor.
• Macerate garlic in olive oil for one week and use this ﬂavored oil in dressings and marinades.
•Use two or more cloves fresh garlic, 12 ounces/350 grams canned chickpeas, 2 tablespoons sesame butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice to make a quick and easy hummus dip.
• Put the cloves from two heads roasted garlic, 3 cups cooked potatoes, and 1/2 cup olive oil together to make delicious garlic mashed potatoes. Season to taste.
• Stuff pitted olives with pieces of garlic and serve as hors d’oeuvres or mix into salads.
Raw and Cooked Garlic
The action of crushing, cutting or chewing a clove of raw garlic releases the allicin, leading to the theory that raw garlic may be more beneficial for health than cooked. A team of scientists published the results of a test-tube study in the journal Free Radicals and Antioxidants in 2013, showing that garlic loses antioxidant properties when cooked. However, a study published in Food Chemistry in 2017 was the first of its kind to demonstrate that cooked garlic, especially quick-cooked in stir fries, preserved its antioxidant capacity. They also discovered strong antioxidant activity in raw garlic.
Garlic on the Menu
Whether garlic possesses super powers to combat everything from Alzheimer’s to different types of cancer remains to be seen. Scientists do agree that garlic makes a healthful addition to your diet. For the most benefits, you don’t have to chew raw garlic – unless you want to.
If you don’t mind the strong flavor, you could chop up several cloves of garlic and toss them raw onto a green salad or grilled veggies, or into pasta sauces or black bean soup. For a milder flavor, use garlic in stir fries made with your favorite combination of protein and vegetables, such as shrimp with bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans and ginger. Add chopped garlic to homemade salad dressings or yogurt-based sauces for fish and chicken. Combine it with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion and chili pepper for fresh salsa.
Garlic Simple Recipe
Easy Garlic Kale
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Prep Cook Ready In
10 m 10 m 25 m
- Soak kale leaves in a large bowl of water until dirt and sand begin to fall to the bottom, about 2 minutes. Lift kale from the bowl without drying the leaves and immediately remove and discard stems. Chop the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add kale to the skillet and place a cover over the top.
- Cook, stirring occasionally with tongs, until kale is bright green and slightly tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
Thick-Style Lebanese Garlic Sauce
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
Prep Ready In
15 m 15 m
- Place the garlic, salt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and olive oil in a quart-sized jar. Submerge an immersion blender in the mixture to the bottom of the jar. Mix with the blender resting on the bottom of the jar until the ingredients thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Angle the mixer to pull ingredients from the sides of the jar and lift it toward the top to better combine. Continue blending until the mixture reaches a texture similar to mayonnaise.
How to Grow Garlic at Home?
Garlic is one of the more simple crops to grow. It thrives in different zones all across the United States. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we should plant our cloves during the fall season and harvest them in late spring/early summer.
Don’t throw away any leftover cloves from your next curry dish. Garlic clove food scraps are amazingly simple to use to regrow garlic plants. Plant the cloves root-end down in a sunny spot in your garden and trim off the shoots once the bulb produces them. Garlic flourishes in dry, loose, well-drained soils in sunny locations.
Negative Effects Of Garlic
1. Might Hurt The Liver
There is no need to ponder over the importance of the liver. Being one of the most vital organs in the human body, it could be hurt by excessive garlic consumption.b Though rich in antioxidants, as per an Indian study, garlic can cause liver toxicity if consumed in excess. Similar findings have been recorded in a report published by the University of Penn State – garlic, though virtually non-toxic, can cause liver damage if taken in excess.
2. Can Cause Bad Odor
This can hurt one’s self-confidence. Bad odor or breath can turn people off like no other. And, sorry to say, garlic does just that. As per one Italian report, garlic breath and body odor were two of the most common adverse effects associated with garlic. Lack of personal hygiene is not the only cause of body odor, as consumption of garlic can result in the same too.
The odor of garlic has been found to linger in the mouth long after brushing. Certain experts believe that the chemicals in garlic that contribute to bad breath are the very same chemicals that also render it its benefits. Still, bad breath can be embarrassing – hence you probably need to think twice before consuming garlic.
Or take precautions. Like using a mouth-refreshing spray.
4. Nausea, Vomiting, And Heartburn
According to a report published by the National Cancer Institute, consuming fresh garlic bulbs, or the extracts or the oil on an empty stomach might cause nausea, vomiting, and heartburn. Certain observational studies have also shown that intaking garlic orally can cause heartburn and nausea. As per a report published by the Harvard Medical School, garlic is one of those foods that can cause GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Consuming garlic on an empty stomach can also cause diarrhea. Another report states garlic to be a gas-forming food and hence might trigger diarrhea.
6. Might Aggravate Bleeding
This effect of garlic has been stated in a report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center – garlic can increase the risk of bleeding. Which is why it must not be taken along with blood-thinning medications. Especially if you are on blood-thinning medications like warfarin, clopidogrel, and aspirin.
This is true especially in the case of fresh garlic. It is also important to note that it is better to stop garlic consumption at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery – as it can prolong bleeding and interfere with blood pressure levels.
7. Might Cause Gastric Issues
In one Japanese study, enteric-coated garlic products, upon ingestion, resulted in the reddening of the gastric mucous membrane. The results suggest that caution must be exercised before using garlic and related products as they might have certain undesirable effects on gastric health.
In fact, as against popular belief, there is no evidence that links garlic intake to the prevention of gastric cancer. One report published by the University of Maryland Medical Center states garlic as one of the foods to be avoided for treating GERD.
8. Might Lower Blood Pressure Way Too Much
Is garlic good for high blood pressure? Well, in a way, this is an advantage. But if you are already on medications for high blood pressure, then maybe not. Because garlic has blood-pressure-lowering properties. Even supplemental garlic has shown to lower blood pressure levels – which is why taking garlic supplements could be a bad idea when you are already on blood pressure medications . Taking garlic by mouth can also modestly reduce blood pressure.
9. Induces Sweating
In various clinical studies, few side effects of garlic were reported. And one of those, as per an Indian study, were excessive sweating.
10. Can Cause Dizziness
In one study, 1,997 people were administered deodorized garlic over a 16-week period, of which 1.3% reported signs of dizziness. This effect was specifically recorded when the participants were standing. Experts speculate this effect could be the result of excessive lowering blood pressure levels (21). Though the percentage of the participants experiencing the effect is quite small, it is something to be kept in mind.
11. Might Cause Eczema Or Rash
Though replete with benefits, prolonged contact with garlic might cause skin irritation. One study stated that the enzyme in garlic, called alliin lyase, could be the cause of the irritation. Eczema could also be one of the conditions that accompany this allergy. According to a report published by Medline Plus, certain hand rashes could be the result of coming in contact with the same things (including garlic) regularly.
12. Might Cause Vision Changes
This could be something you would never have heard of. It has been found that excessive ingestion of garlic can lead to a condition called hyphema, which refers to bleeding inside the eye chamber – the space between the iris and the cornea. Intaking large doses of garlic, an anticoagulant, has been found to cause or worse hyphema. Hyphema can cause permanent vision loss.
Garlic, especially when taken in its raw form, could trigger migraines. Though it doesn’t directly cause a migraine headache, it activates the process responsible for it. Though the exact reason for this is unclear, certain experts believe it might involve the trigeminal nerve – the major pain pathway in the body. Intaking garlic might stimulate this nerve to release neuronal signaling molecules called neuropeptides that rush to the membrane covering your brain and cause headaches.
14. Might Elevate Blood Pressure Levels
Little information is present in this aspect – but there is something important to consider. The release of allicin is what makes garlic ideal for lowering blood pressure levels – but this allicin is destroyed in the cooking process. Hence, if you are looking to reducing your blood pressure levels, raw garlic might help.
15. Might Cause Side Effects In Pregnant Women
Consuming garlic in large quantities during pregnancy or lactation can induce labor. Which could be undesirable.
16. Might Aggravate (Vaginal) Yeast Infection
One important factor to be kept in mind is not to use garlic in the place of prescribed treatment. Also, garlic cloves can irritate the tender tissue of the vagina. In such an eventuality, the use of garlic can be discontinued. You can instead consult your doctor for conventional remedies.
17. Might Interact With Certain Drugs
As per a report published by the University of Utah, garlic might interact with Rofecoxib, a drug used to treat inflammation.
Eating Too Much Garlic Side Effects
Which is what we have discussed already. In addition to all those effects, garlic overdose might also cause muscle aches and loss of appetite. And as per the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, garlic overdose could also cause kidney hematomas (swelling of clotted blood within the tissues of kidneys), chemical burns in the mouth and life-threatening allergic reactions.
Garlic might also cause a condition called pemphigus, an autoimmune disease. Garlic contains a compound called thiols, which has been found to aggravate the condition. Apart from all of this, there is a list of foods you must not take along with garlic – if you are prone to the side effects, that is.
What Should You Avoid While Taking Garlic?
To better keep the side effects at bay, it is best you avoid certain things while intake of garlic. These include –
– Horse chestnut
– Red clover
Garlic poses little safety issue. Allergies to garlic are extremely rare.