HEALTHBITES-It’s Heart Month: eat more garlic!

by Krystyna Chocyk-Wasiatycz

 

In herbal lore, the humble garlic bulb has a huge reputation for curing almost everything from the common cold to the plague. Now, it has been shown to lower blood pressure. A new study out of Australia shows that aged extract of garlic might be able to help lower blood pressure in the 3.7 million Australians who suffer from hypertension.

A 12-week study of 50 people, conducted by Dr. Karin Ried from the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of General Practice, showed that garlic could be used as a complement to conventional drugs for high and low blood pressure. The results of the study were published in the international health journal *Maturitas, which focuses on midlife and elder health.

According to Dr. Ried, “There is a large proportion of people out there who are on medication and some people are on four different types but they still have high blood pressure; it is uncontrolled. When we gave them this garlic supplement we were able, on average, to reduce their blood pressure under the hypertension threshold so garlic might be a good complementary treatment option to control hypertension. Raw, cooked and garlic powder aren’t as effective as carefully aged garlic extract. You know what is in there and it is stable for a long period of time. Garlic powder is not as stable and you don’t know the dose you are taking and garlic oil doesn’t contain the active substance.”

Dr. Ried’s team found those with systolic blood pressure above 140 who took four aged garlic extract capsules each day experienced an average systolic blood pressure 10.2mmHg lower than the control group, who took a placebo.

Garlic is thought to have an antihypertensive effect because it stimulates production of nitric oxide and hydrogen sulphide, which helps relax blood vessels.

References: Aged Garlic Extract Lowers Blood Pressure in Patients With Treated but Uncontrolled Hypertension: A randomized controlled trial, 18 June 2010 Karin Ried, Oliver R. Frank, Nigel P. Stocks Maturitas October 2010 (Vol. 67, Issue 2, Pages 144-150)

Krystyna Chocyk-Wasiatycz is a researcher and a health food and wellness consultant.


Garlic Lore

Thousands of years ago, aged garlic extract preparations were recommended by physicians and used by common people for many of the health problems we experience today. One of the first recorded garlic preparations was made by Dioscorides, a Greek physician and pharmacologist in the first century. Long before the scientific understanding of circulation was established, he prescribed garlic preparations to clean the arteries. In 1971, a recipe for “the elixir of youth,” a type of garlic extract preparation dating back to between the fourth and fifth century BC, was found by a UNESCO team in a Tibetan monastery.

Today, a growing body of scientific evidence validates the benefits of garlic and aged garlic extract as a powerful nutritional agent. Amongst other benefits, garlic eliminates accumulated fat in the body, removes insoluble calcium, improves metabolism, cleanses blood vessels, prevents heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and paralysis, eradicates the sensation of buzzing from the head, improves vision and regenerates the entire body.

garlic photo © Mailthepic | Dreamstime.com