Garlic has been present in many cultures for thousands of years in more ways than just as a flavoring for a tasty pasta dish. Roman soldiers used to gobble down cloves of garlic before battle in hopes that its power would give them the heroic strength to conquer. Damsels in distress used to arm themselves with garlic to keep vampires away. Sailors would bring it to sea in order to prevent shipwrecks.
There were writing about it all the way back in the 1300s, in Canterbury Tales :
“Well loved he garlic, onions, aye and leeks…”
Until Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928, it was a treatment for many illnesses. But Fleming’s discovery brought on what some may call the antibiotic binge of the 20th century medical field, quickly pushing garlic to the ranks of the “poor man’s” medicine. However, as the public looks for more natural ways to maintain health, garlic is creeping back into the forefront.
Garlic is a member of the onion family and contains organosulfur compounds that act as antioxidants.
According to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health :
- Some evidence indicates that taking garlic can slightly lower blood cholesterol levels; studies have shown positive effects for short-term (1 to 3 months) use. However, an NCCIH-funded study on the safety and effectiveness of three garlic preparations (fresh garlic, dried powdered garlic tablets, and aged garlic extract tablets) for lowering blood cholesterol levels found no effect.
- Preliminary research suggests that taking garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition that can lead to heart disease or stroke.
- Evidence suggests that taking garlic may slightly lower blood pressure, particularly in people with high blood pressure.