Thesmooth muscle relaxant Adenosine is found in Garlic and this seems to helplower blood pressure. Garlic is also used to help prevent atherosclerosis(plaque build up in the arteries causing blockage and possibly leading to heartattack or stroke), reduce colds, coughs and bronchitis.
Garliccan stimulate the production of glutathione, an amino acid which is known to bea very potent antioxidant and de-toxifier. See also ourarticle on NAC for more gluathione info. Antioxidants help scavengefree radicals.
Freeradicals are particles that can damage cell membranes, interact with geneticmaterial and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as thedevelopment of a number of conditions including heart disease and cancer. Freeradicals occur naturally in the body but environmental toxins (includingultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking and air pollution) can alsoincrease the number of these damaging particles. Antioxidants can neutralizefree radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they causeover time.
Studiessuggest that fresh garlic and garlic supplements may prevent blood clots anddestroy plaque. Blood clots and plaque block blood flow and contribute to thedevelopment of atherosclerosis. Blockage of blood flow to the heart, brain andlegs, can lead to heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD).People with PVD experience pain in the legs when they walk and move. If garlicdoes reduce the build up of plaque then strokes, heart attacks and PVD may beless likely to occur in people who eat garlic or take garlic supplements.
Anumber of studies have found that garlic reduces elevated total cholesterollevels and lowers blood pressure more effectively than placebo. However, theextent to which garlic is effective is small.
Garlichas been used as a traditional dietary supplement for diabetes in Asia, Europeand the Middle East. Preliminary studies in rabbits, rats and limited numbersof people have demonstrated that garlic has some ability to lower blood sugars.More research in this area is needed.
Awell-designed study of nearly 150 people supports the value of garlic forpreventing and treating the common cold. In this study, people received eithergarlic supplements or placebo for 12 weeks during "cold season"(between the months of November and February). Those who received the garlichad significantly fewer colds than those who received placebo. Plus, when facedwith a cold, the symptoms lasted a much shorter time in those receiving garliccompared to those receiving placebo.
Numeroustest tube studies have demonstrated that garlic extract inhibits the growth ofdifferent species of bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, theorganism responsible for tuberculosis. Very high concentrations of garlicextract were needed to slow down the growth of M. tuberculosis in thesestudies, so some experts are concerned that these levels may be toxic topeople. While further research in people is needed, one animal study found thatgarlic oil also inhibited M. tuberculosis and reduced lesions in the lungs ofthese animals.
Laboratorystudies suggest that large quantities of fresh, raw garlic may have antiparasiticproperties against the roundworm, Ascaris lumbricoides, which is the mostcommon type of intestinal parasite. Garlic for this purpose, however, has notyet been tested in people.
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