Garlic (Allium sativum L) is a relative of the onion, and has been used in foods and medicinally for centuries. In today's world, garlic is widely available in supplement form. It is thought that the sulfur compound allicin is the element in garlic responsible for its medicinal qualities, and this compound is the main ingredient of many garlic supplements. However, "aged garlic" supplements contain other water-soluble sulfur containing compounds not related to the production of allicin, and are thought to be gentler and less odorous.
Garlic's Health Benefits
Although the medicinal properties of garlic have not been confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), garlic supplements are used for the following: lowering cholesterol, reduction of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), reduction of blood clotting, lowering blood pressure, cancer prevention, liver protection, boosting the immune system, lowering blood sugar levels, as an antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal agent, and topically for corns, warts, calluses, ear infections, muscle pain, nerve pain, arthritis, and sciatica. More research is needed to confirm these claims.
Using Garlic Supplements
Consult your physician before beginning the use of a garlic supplement if you have a health condition or are taking any medication. Garlic supplements are available in capsule, powder, tablet or oil form. Use as directed.
Side-effects and Cautions:
Those with an allergy to garlic should not use garlic supplements.