Garlic has been used culinarily and medicinally since ages across the world. As a proof, in the Journal of Nutrition, Richard S. Rivlin has mentioned that Greek physician Hippocrates, also known as the father of western medicine, used to prescribe garlic for treating numerous diseases and health conditions like pulmonary and respiratory problems, poor digestion, parasites, and fatigue.
Allicin (an oily chemical compound) present in the raw and fresh garlic contains sulphur, due to which it has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-biotic and anti-septic properties. Allicin is only activated when fresh garlic is chewed or crushed or chopped. Garlic is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, phosphorous, iron, copper, and folate.
Garlic falls on the Allium genus that is brother to the onion, shallot, chive, scallion, leek, and rokkyo. One small garlic bulb contains about 10-12 fleshy segments know as cloves. Besides adding pungency, flavour, strong captivating aroma and delicious taste in the dish items, this small bulb has plenty of surprising health benefits.
Healing cold and flu
Garlic is traditionally believed to prevent and heal common cold as it builds and boosts the immunity power. A study carried out for over 12 weeks showed that those individuals taking an allicin-containing garlic supplement daily were less likely to get the common cold and if infected healed sooner.
Garlic is considered a good source of prebiotic that helps prevent some gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study, one of the major components in garlic, Garlic Fructans (GFs) were proven effective to promote the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the human gut. It is also found that GFs contribute to decreasing harmful bacteria like clostridia ultimately improving the microbial environment of the gastrointestinal tract.
Skin and hair treatment
Including garlic in the daily diet or applying garlic mixture in the hair or skin is considered beneficial for having healthy skin and hair.
A study concludes that caffeic acid, S-allyl cysteine, and uracil found in garlic have been proven effective on inhibiting UVB-induced wrinkles and simultaneously slowing down skin ageing.
Garlic is also considered good for treating acne. As shown by a study, allicin in garlic has anti-inflammatory properties which prove effective in treating chronic inflammatory disease. This anti-inflammatory property of garlic fights the inflammation and swelling caused by acne and helps reduce it.
Not only this, but garlic also has anti-bacterial properties that help inhibit the bacteria that cause acne.
As per an study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, the sulphur and selenium compounds present in the garlic help in the re-growth of the hair, reduction of the size of bald patches and strengthening hair.
Lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure
Garlic helps in reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure and thereby providing a shield for the heart.
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry concluded that the garlic extract supplements improve blood lipid profile, strengthen blood antioxidant potential and reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and thereby leading to the reduction of oxidation reactions in the body. It means intake of garlic supplements regularly lowers the cholesterol levels and blood pressure in humans having hypertension.
Also, another study found out that garlic supplementation has beneficial impacts in reducing blood pressure and preventing oxidative stress ultimately lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Lowering cancer risks
In epidemiological studies, the use of garlic and garlic extracts has been associated with the declining occurrence of cancer.
In a research study conducted by scientists at the Medical University of South Caroline, it is reported that DAS, DADS and DATS, pure organo-sulfur compounds present in garlic, have been proven effective in eradicating brain cancer cells.
Also, it has been identified by some studies that consuming raw garlic may potentially serve as a chemopreventive agent for lung cancer.
Similarly, various studies have shown the effectiveness of garlic consumption on preventing stomach and colorectal cancers as well.
A blood purifier
Fresh garlic is believed to be a natural blood purifier. And, this property of garlic is accredited to the presence of allicin in fresh or raw garlic. Several research and studies have shown that garlic helps in flushing out the toxins from the blood. Also, it has proven anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-biotic and anti-septic properties that help cleanse the blood and ward off various bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections from your body.