The health benefits of garlic

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 2 August, 2022

Man holding garlic that has just been harvested

If we’re handing out medals to all-rounders in the superfood department, the gold is going to garlic. Prior to being used as a flavour-enhancer in the kitchen, garlic was harnessed by ancient cultures for medicinal treatments and used superstitiously to ward off evil.

A plant that packs a pungent-punch, there’s a lot to love about garlic – let’s get into it…

Garlic (allium sativum) is a bulbous plant that is closely related to onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. Known for its bold and somewhat spicy flavour, it’s considered a kitchen staple in cultures all across the world.

Botanical name: Allium sativum
Common name: Garlic
Medicinal parts used: Bulb
Energetics: Hot & spicy
Family: Amaryllidaceae

What do Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India have in common? These countries all referenced garlic in ancient medical texts as a prescribed medical application (Rivlin, 2001). Heard of Hippocrates? He prescribed garlic for a variety of conditions and several hundred years ago, they mixed raw garlic with honey and alcohol in England as a treatment for colds and fevers (Australian Garlic, 2021).

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

It’s now known that most health benefits that come from garlic are caused by sulfur compounds which are formed when garlic is chopped or crushed. One such compound is allicin, which has a variety of health-enhancing properties such as lowing the effects of high blood pressure and cholesterol (Borlinghaus et al., 2014).

Bringing it back to the present day, garlic supplements are used to boost the immune system as it can aid in preventing and combatting common illnesses like the common cold and flu. If you want to go straight to the source, chewing on a clove of raw garlic helps in reducing bad bacteria in the body (although you might want to keep your toothbrush handy if you choose this route).

Uses

  • Immune support
  • Circulation
  • Blood sugar support
  • Maintaining healthy cholesterol
  • Blood pressure and circulation
  • Supporting a fever
  • Bacterial, viral & fungal infections
  • Cleansing respiratory catarrh in cases of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, whooping cough and influenza

Nutritional profile

Garlic is small but mighty, in many respects. One clove of garlic contains 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbs (Leech, 2022). On top of this, it’s highly nutritious – take a look for yourself below:

Percentage of the recommended daily intake

  • Manganese: 2%
  • Vitamin B6: 2%
  • Vitamin C: 1%
  • Selenium: 1%
  • Fibre: 0.06 grams

Recipes

Roast it whole, crush it, chop it up, sprinkle it on… there are so many ways to use this powerful bulb. Here are some of our favourite recipes that include garlic!

Compared to other vegetables, garlic can be stored in a broad range of circumstances. It has a relatively long shelf life and the key to its survival is to keep it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. If these conditions are met, garlic can be stored for at least three months. A hot tip is to keep garlic in mesh bags, as this helps with ventilation (NSW Government Department of Primary Industries & Hickey, 2014).

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References

Australian Garlic. (2021). A bit of garlic history. Australian Garlic.

https://www.australiangarlic.com.au/garlic-history/

Borlinghaus, J., Albrecht, F., & Gruhlke, M. C.H. (2014). Allicin: Chemistry and Biological

Properties. Molecules, (1420-3049). https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/8/12591

Leech, J. (2022). 11 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic. Healthline.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic

NSW Government Department of Primary Industries & Hickey, M. (2014). Growing garlic in

NSW. NSW Government.

https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/97709/growing-garlic-in-NSW.pdf

Rivlin, R. S. (2001, April 01). Historical perspective on the use of garlic. The Journal of Nutrition,

131(3). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11238795/


Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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