Whether to protect you from Vampires or The Plague - the history of garlic goes back a long way.

In ancient times French gravediggers put crushed garlic in wine to protect them from plague, in the World Wars soldiers took garlic to prevent gangrene. Today garlic is best recognised as being good for the heart.

What is Garlic?

Garlic originally comes from Asia but is now grown everywhere. It can be eaten raw although it’s usually cooked to make it less pungent and smelly. It’s also available as a supplement - fresh, dried, aged or in garlic oil.

Why do I need Garlic?

The health giving properties of garlic stem back centuries - it was even used in medicine by the ancient Egyptians. But modern day science has confirmed that garlic really is a kind of super food. Eaten regularly it can help prevent the arteries from getting furred up - a condition called atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries) that can lead to heart attacks and stroke. It may also help lower cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and boost immunity.

The antioxidants in garlic help fight free radicals which cause cell damage in the body and lead to disease. There is some evidence that regular consumption of garlic may be protective against cancer. A review of the research* implies a 30% reduction in the risk of cancer of the colon among people who eat garlic.

Garlic is also used as a cold cure. In one study, people who took garlic supplements 12 weeks before the winter reported less colds. However, the evidence on garlic and colds is mixed and more research is needed.

Can too much garlic be bad for you?

It’s well known that raw garlic can cause smelly breath. Other side-effects can include upset stomachs, body odour and bloating. Generally though, garlic fresh or as a supplement is considered safe.

Because garlic is a blood-thinner - you should consult your doctor before taking supplements if you are already on drug-thinning medication such as warfarin.