The healing power of garlic on blood pressure has long been known in places like China and it's widely used today in Germany as a blood pressure medication.
American scientists first tried garlic against high blood pressure in 1921. Since then, countless studies have been carries out on garlic and blood pressure and time and time again they've shown its effectiveness in lowering hypertension.
One of the antioxidants in garlic is allicin and, along with diallyl disulphide, can reduce blood pressure as effectively as the ACE inhibitor enalapril.
It can make blood vessels more elastic so they can dilate more easily.
Garlic also contains other components helpful in lowering blood pressure, such as potassium, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium.
Human studies evaluating the benefits of garlic on blood pressure, whether using aged garlic extract, garlic powder or fresh garlic, found average reductions in systolic blood pressure of 7.7 mmHg and in diastolic pressure of 5 mmHg.
You don't need much - just one or two cloves of raw garlic a day should do it.
In a recent double blind German test on Kwai, an over-the-counter garlic preparation, doses comparable to a couple of daily garlic cloves pushed diastolic blood pressure down in patients with mild high blood pressure.
The blood pressure in the garlic group sank from an average 171/102 to 152/89 after three months, while the blood pressure of the placebo group stayed the same.
Interestingly, garlic's impact grew stronger throughout the test, suggesting that daily infusions of garlic have a cumulative effect.
Garlic probably lowers blood pressure at least partly by relaxing the smooth muscles of the blood vessels, allowing them to dilate. That happens in animals fed garlic juice.
Also, both garlic and onions contain a great deal of a compound, adenosine, that is a smooth-muscle relaxant, according to George Washington University researchers. That means eating onions also will help reduce blood pressure - as the next page will discuss.
If you avoid garlic because of the its lingering smell, you'll be pleased to know that aged garlic is odorless and tasteless.
During the aging process allicin is converted to water-soluble, stable compounds that are virtually odorless. Many studies have been carried out using aged instead of fresh garlic and have equally been successful.
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FURTHER READING: Health Benefits of Garlic
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