Garlic health benefits and therapeutic value

Garlic, or Allium sativum, is a bulb perennial about 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) tall, which we love for its nutritional properties, taste and health benefits.

It is eaten both raw and cooked, whole clove or chopped to bits, and it has the advantage of keeping for a very long time.

Garlic, a short story

Native to central Asia, garlic is without doubt the most ancient spice known to mankind.

Known for millennia, it spread across Eurasia at lightning speed. Dietary benefits, spicing and therapeutic properties… all the peoples who knew of the plant sing its praises.

The Ancient Ones crowned it with two essential attributes: that of being a powerful tonic and of being a cure against plague.

Its low calorie intake and its many nutritional benefits make it an ideal companion for our health.

Health benefits of garlic

Garlic simply cannot be foregone in a diet. It reduces hypertension, risk of cardiovascular diseases and also contributes to lowering cholesterol levels.

  • Garlic acts upon arterioles and cardiac contractility: remarkable hypotensive properties have been acknowledged. It stimulates the heart, fluidifies blood and eases circulation. Garlic extracts are used in modern drugs designed to treat hypertension. Garlic is prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels, and prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Preventive treatment including garlic is also effective against cardiovascular diseases.
  • Thanks to its antiseptic, bactericidal and expectorant properties, garlic helps contain contagious diseases. It also works wonders to cure bronchitis, flu and seasonal respiratory infections.
  • Garlic impacts the digestive organs since it is an antiseptic: pathogens present in the flora are destroyed and diarrhea can be countered thanks to its spasmolytic effect.
  • Garlic helps lower sugar levels.
  • Aside from that, garlic is an excellent de-wormer (against pinworms and ascaris).
  • Finally, a set of Chinese research has proven that the cancer rate is significantly lower for persons who include 0.7 oz (20 g) of garlic in their daily diet, as compared to persons who only eat garlic occasionally.

Did you know…?

  • Ingestion – you can use garlic fresh, in powdered form, in gelcaps, tabs and oil-filled pearls. Aside from the delicious taste it gives either raw or cooked, garlic can be used to soothe…

Garlic decoction – 2 or 3 cloves crushed and boiled in one cup water or milk. Has hypotensive effects (lowers pressure in the arteries).

To treat various plant diseases – recipe for garlic decoction.

Garlic syrup – boil 1 ½ oz (50 g) garlic in a cup of water. Filter, then add 1 ½ oz (50 g) sugar. Ingest 2 or 3 spoonfuls a day. Against respiratory infections.

Garlic tincture – mash one pound (500 g) of garlic and extract the juice. Add to this juice the same volume of 40% vol. alcohol. Drink a teaspoon 2 or 3 times a day for 10 days every month. As an antiseptic.

  • External use – garlic has rubefacient and vesicant properties that make it effective when used in poultices for instance, or against corns.

Garlic poultice – mash garlic with mustard to treat neuralgia. Take note: powerful smell!

Garlic oil or garlic ointment – mash garlic with twice its own weight in either camphorated oil or lard (for example: for 0.35 oz (10 g) garlic, add either 0.7 oz (20 g) oil or lard). Against rheumatism, arthritis and pain along the spine.

Garlic plaster – one slice of garlic against corns, callus and warts.

Enema – de-wormer with a garlic decoction added to milk.

Growing garlic

Mandatory: garlic requires a lot of sun and heat. Soil: neutral pH, light, that dries well after rain, not too much humus nor too many rocks.

Smart tip about growing garlic

Garlic appreciates the companionship of strawberry plants, potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. But it doesn’t like peas, beans and broad beans. Keep them away from it.

Watch out for small bugs!

The stems and leaves are often infected by the green caterpillar of the allium leaf-mining fly. It that happens, cut off the portions that are infected and pull out the most damaged plants. Watch out for rot.

Garlic species and varieties

garlicIn official catalogues, there can be dozens of garlic cultivars. For growing, only use certified plants, guaranteed to be without any disease.

Usually a blue label attached to seed bags shows this.

For fall varieties, ideally you can plant ‘Germidour’, ‘Messidrome’ or ‘Thermidrome’ varieties.

For planting in spring or fall, prefer ‘Printanor’ or ‘Fructidor’.

Cooking with garlic

Garlic is used as a spice: the raw cloves can spice up salads and sauces, cooked cloves give flavor to roasts and lamb, pork, stuffings and fish.


Savory idea with garlic

Have you ever tried garlic mash? One head of garlic boiled for 20 minutes in ½ quart (½ liter) water, a table spoon of olive oil, two pinches of salt, that’s all! Delicious spread on toast for starters.
Garlic Nutritional content

131 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). Garlic, very energetic, only contains 64% water. It includes vitamins C, A, B1, and B6 as well as trace elements (selenium, iodine, silicon, cobalt).

Lastly, garlic has high levels of potassium.

Blandine Merlin