Garlic as a natural remedy: properties, benefits and uses

Garlic as a natural remedy: properties, benefits and uses

Garlic is known for its use as a spice in cooking, but it also boasts numerous properties and health benefits. Here are which ones


  • What's this
  • Properties and benefits
  • How to use it
  • Contraindications

What's this

Garlic is the bulb of Allium sativum, a perennial species native to Asia today cultivated in all regions with a temperate climate. The garlic plant is a small herbaceous plant that does not exceed fifty centimeters in height, producing linear leaves and white or pink flowers. Since the garlic flowers are sterile, the plant reproduces only thanks to the cloves or the cloves of the bulb.

The garlic bulb, in addition to being a spice widely used in cooking as a flavoring, is a powerful natural remedy against various ailments. Garlic is used, in particular, to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but it also boasts immunostimulating, antiseptic and antiplatelet properties. The benefits of garlic depend above all on the sulfur compounds including alliicin, a molecule that is released after the bruising of the cloves. The bulbs or cloves of garlic also contain saponosides, flavonoids, sugars, mineral salts and active ingredients with antibiotic activity, such as garlicin and alysin.

Properties and benefits

Garlic has several beneficial properties for health. First of all, it is an effective natural remedy against some bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and for this reason it is traditionally used against respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, intestinal parasites, warts, fungi of the skin and mucous membranes, including athlete's foot and Candida. albicans.

The antibiotic and expectorant properties of garlic have always been exploited for the health of the lungs and bronchi: when garlic is consumed, in fact, the essence is partly expelled through the respiratory system, exerting an antiseptic, spasmolytic and mucolytic action. For this reason, garlic is a natural remedy for respiratory infections.

In addition, the consumption of garlic can promote appetite and improve digestion, by acting on gastric secretions and especially on the intestinal microbiota. Thanks to its tonic, spasmolytic and antiseptic properties, garlic can, for example, significantly reduce gastroesophageal reflux associated with the presence of Helicobacter pylori and the phenomena of meteorism and flatulence caused by the fermentation processes of the intestine. Garlic would then be able to regulate the activity of the thyroid and has interesting immunostimulating and antitumor properties.

However, in phytotherapy and herbal medicine, garlic is mainly used for its benefits on the heart and cardiovascular system. In fact, the intake of garlic has a positive effect on blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, has a mild diuretic activity, has antioxidant action and antiplatelet and fibrinolytic properties. Regular consumption of garlic can therefore help regulate slightly high blood pressure, decrease LDL or bad cholesterol levels and have a preventive effect against atherosclerosis, thrombosis and heart attack.

The benefits of garlic have been attributed to the sulfur compounds present in the bulbs, which are also responsible for the characteristic smell and taste of garlic. The whole bulb of garlic contains a molecule known as alliin, odorless and tasteless: when garlic is cut or bruised, the breakdown of plant cells causes an enzyme (alliinase) to be released which transforms alliin into allicin. , with the characteristic pungent smell of raw garlic. The more the clove of garlic is cut, the stronger the flavor becomes, so the garlic pulp has a much more intense smell and taste than sliced ​​garlic. It is a defense mechanism for the plant, which thanks to its pungent smell and taste is able to preserve the bulbs from predators, guaranteeing survival and reproduction. On the other hand, when the garlic is cooked, the air and the temperature lead to further transformations of the sulfur compounds, producing molecules with a decidedly more delicate smell and taste.

How to use it

To enjoy the benefits of garlic, it would be enough to consume it raw, eating from three cloves to a whole bulb a day. The cloves can be swallowed whole or, better still, reduced to a pulp with the garlic press. You can also prepare an infusion with garlic cloves, leaving the fresh garlic in hot water for ten minutes. However, all these methods of intake, however effective, have the unpleasant side effect linked to bad odor, which can be clearly perceived by the breath but also through sweat. To overcome this problem, garlic extracts are available on the market in capsules or coated tablets, the intake of which allows you to benefit from the virtues of garlic without suffering from bad breath. In herbal medicine shops and pharmacies it is also possible to find preparations based on garlic for topical use, for the treatment of warts and mycosis of the skin and nails.


Garlic has no particular side effects but, when consumed raw, and in some cases even cooked, it can cause digestive disorders and a characteristic unpleasant smell of the breath. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, it would be good not to take garlic-based preparations (moderate consumption of garlic as a food is not recommended). Attention also to the administration of garlic extracts if you are taking drugs and before surgery: in these cases it is good to ask your doctor for advice. Finally, garlic cloves rubbed into the skin for a prolonged time or too frequently can also cause skin irritation and blisters, especially in children.

Tag: Natural remedies

Category: Welfare
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