The health benefits of garlic have been known since
thousands of years. It is an important part of the Ayurveda system of medicine.
It has also been used in other ancient medicinal systems including the Chinese,
Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman. Its use has ranged from the treatment of
hypertension, infections, snakebites and blood clots to the warding off of evil
medicinal properties of garlic have not been completely established, garlic
appears to have blood pressure and cholesterol lowering, anticancer and
. Raw garlic appears to have more medicinal properties than cooked
Researchers reviewed various published articles on
the effect of garlic on high blood pressure. Publications between 1955 and 2007
were included in the study. The researchers analyzed relevant information
provided in the studies.
A total of 11 studies were carefully selected and
included in the analysis. Most of the studies used 600 to 900 mg of garlic
powder per day, which provide 3.6-5.4 mg of allicin, an active component of
garlic that helps to reduce blood pressure.
showed that garlic appears to have an effect in reducing systolic and diastolic
blood pressure in hypertensive patients as compared to those not taking garlic.
Patients with high blood pressure at the beginning of the study showed a better
effect as compared to those who did not have a high blood pressure at the
In fact, the blood pressure lowering effects of
garlic may be comparable to other drugs used for high blood pressure like beta
- blockers, ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonists.
cause reduction in blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and interfering
with the function of angiotensin I (an enzyme which plays a role in the
development of high blood pressure). It
may also exert an indirect effect by reducing cholesterol and breaking down
clots in the blood vessels
Most of the studies included in the analysis were
conducted for a short duration of around 12 to 23 weeks. Trials lasting for a
longer duration are required to establish the long-term benefits of garlic in
Using standardized garlic preparations could
possibly help to establish the relationship between garlic and blood pressure
even better. Garlic preparations have several advantages over raw garlic. They
help in avoiding the odor of garlic and thus prevent bad breath. They also
prevent damage of the active compounds during the cooking process.
thus possibly be useful in the future to improve the effectiveness of
antihypertensive medications. At the same time, it may help to keep the dosage
of the medications under control, thus reducing the possibility of side effects
1. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and
meta-analysis; Karin Ried et al; BMC Cardiovascular diseases 2011