Hippocrates, although known as the father of medicine, was actually an herbalist and used garlic for a number of infections and intestinal problems, as well as for chest pains, epilepsy, leprosy, toothaches and wounds.
Disocorides, a physician and surgeon in the Roman armies who lived during the first century A.D., wrote extensively on the virtues of garlic. Among its many uses he found eating garlic helped clear the arteries, eliminate hoarseness, expel tapeworms, increase urinary flow, relieve dropsy (hydrops), and soothe chronic coughs. When crushed in wine, garlic was beneficial for rabid dog bites and snake bites. When boiled with oregano, garlic helped kill bed bugs and lice. When burnt and combined with honey, garlic cured herpetic eruptions (resembling the skin lesions of some herpes virus infections), leprosy, liver spots, scurvy, and white skin spots. When boiled with pine wood and incense, garlic eased the pain of toothache when the mixture was kept in the mouth.
Others throughout history have used garlic to increase endurance when exposed to excessive temperatures, to relieve gynecological and menstrual problems, and to treat inflammation, relax muscle spasms and heal wounds.
Garlic has been shown to treat a variety of circulatory, digestive, respiratory and urinary problems. Garlic inhibits platelet aggregation and encourages the breakdown and production of fibrin, a clotting protein implicated in heart disease and strokes. Garlic reduces hypertension and lowers serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides and blood fats. Garlic also been shown to raise HDL cholesterol levels. Garlic enhances immune function, fights infection, and is an excellent remedy for a variety of chest complaints. In fact, garlic has been shown to reduce bronchial secretions which helps asthma. Garlic also acts as an effective expectorant. In the urinary system, garlic produces a cleansing reaction in the kidneys which causes an increase in urine flow. Furthermore, garlic increases bile production, thus enhancing digestion. Some of the more popular uses for garlic include asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, colds, coronary heart disease, coughs, diabetes, ear infections, flu, hemorrhoids, hypertension, inflammatory skin problems, intestinal parasites, tumors and urinary infections.
According to information shared at the Garlic Symposium of the 6th Annual Phytotherapy Congress, garlic supplements are the top-selling OTC (over-the-counter) medicine in German pharmacies. The Kommission E of the German Federal Health Agency acknowledges and approves claims that garlic benefits cardiovascular health. Similarly, in the United States, garlic products are the top-selling dietary supplement in pharmacies. Clinical research suggests garlic supplements should provide a total allicin content of 4,000mcg. The German Kommission E recommends the equivalent of 4,000mg of fresh garlic—approximately 1-4 cloves.
Note: The Commission E of the German Federal Health Agency is the group responsible for researching and regulating the safety and efficacy of herbs and phytomedicines (plant medicines) in Germany. The Commission E has been called the world's most rational system for assessing the traditional uses and modern scientific research on herbal medicines.
Fresh garlic preparations have shown significant results in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reducing high blood pressure. Test results gathered from numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies conducted with individuals having cholesterol levels higher than 200mg/dl, revealed that garlic supplements which provided the equivalent of 4,000mg of fresh garlic, taken daily, reduced total serum cholesterol levels on the average of 10-12%. LDL cholesterol decreased 15%, HDL cholesterol increased by 10%, and triglyceride levels typically decreased by about 15%. Such results were normally achieved within 1-3 months after beginning supplementation. Also, blood pressure readings generally dropped 11mm Hg for systolic and 5 for diastolic, again within 1-3 months.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted in a clinical setting in Toronto, Canada, examined the effects of garlic powder tablets on both men and women diagnosed with hyperlipidemia. With supplementation of 900mg daily for 120 days, an average decrease of 12% in plasma cholesterol was achieved.
A study conducted by researchers at hospitals in Southampton and Bath, England, analyzed the effects of dried garlic tablets on non-insulin-dependent, diabetic male patients. Diabetics have been shown to have a two to three-fold higher rate of cardiovascular illnesses. Compared to the placebo group, those taking garlic tablets showed lower levels of LDL cholesterol and slightly higher levels of HDL cholesterol, with no notable effect on serum total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, etc. It should also be noted that garlic has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels.
Scientists have confirmed garlic is a potent antibiotic and immune system stimulant. In fact, studies show that, when combined with anerobic exercise, garlic increases the power of the immune system ten-fold. Research shows also help prevent certain types of cancer.
Animal studies conducted at Penn State University concluded that garlic helps stop the growth of tumors and contains substances which actually destroy tumor cells. Dr. Benjamin Lau, of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, concurred with these findings when he spoke at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium sponsored by the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation in 1994. Dr. Lau shared that garlic has been found to promote the invasion of immune cells, such as lymphocytes and macrophages, to the tumor site where they can then destroy the tumor. Dr. Lau pointed out that numerous types of cancer have been studied utilizing garlic extracts and have displayed notable results; however, garlic has proven to be most effective in the early stages of small tumors. At that point in time, Dr. Lau knew of no controlled studies which had determined garlic's benefit in human cancer treatment; however, he shared that, due to encouraging preliminary findings, garlic is likely to prove of great benefit.
Garlic contains allicin, the odor-causing agent, and allyl sulfide, both of which are responsible for the herb's worm-killing ability. Hookworms, pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms all perish in the presence of garlic, and some external applications use garlic for treating ringworm. Dr. Trowbridge, author of The Yeast Syndrome, writes in his book about a University of Massachusetts study which showed that garlic, either in whole clove form or in extract form, helps fight yeast infections. Garlic has also been shown to be more effective against Candida albicans than nystatin, gentian violet and six other leading antifungal preparations, in both animal and in vitro studies.
NSP's Hi-Potency Garlic provides 400mg of standardized and stabilized high potency garlic in each tablet, which is equivalent to 1,200mg of fresh garlic (1,000mg of fresh garlic = 1 clove). Hi-Potency Garlic is unlike so-called "odorless garlic" supplements which has been stripped of the active ingredients. NSP uses only a pure garlic, carefully processed to maintain maximum allicin-alliin potential. A supplement's allicin-alliin content is the most accurate means of measuring garlic potency. Each Hi-Potency Garlic tablet is coated with chlorophyll to preserve freshness and insure the contents are absorbed in the intestinal tract, thereby avoiding any belching or garlic odor on the breath. Hi-Potency Garlic also adds the SynerPro concentrate of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and chinese cabbage) and carrot, red beet, rosemary, tomato, turmeric and bioflavonoids (from citrus fruits), for added antioxidant protection.