BBC news is reporting on a recent Australian trial of 50 patients involving the effect of garlic on treated but uncontrolled hypertension. Garlic is commonly used in herbal medicine and in the diet to reduce mildly elevated blood pressure, but this study indicates that it is also of value in more highly elevated systolic blood pressure (greater than 140mmHg) in conjunction with prescription medication. Previous trials (see Reinhart et al., 2008) have suggested that garlic is effective in reducing elevated systolic hypertension by 16mmHg and diastolic pressure by nearly 10mmHg. Garlic is a useful addition to a natural approach to reducing blood pressure together with other diet and lifestyle changes and herbal remedies.
Reducing elevated blood pressure has many health benefits including the health of the cardiovascular system. Less strain is put on the heart, it aids arterial health and strokes are less likely. In addition to cardiovascular benefits from reduced blood pressure, garlic also has other actions that benefit the cardiovascular system; it is used for reducing cholesterol and preventing blood coagulation, therefore helping to reduce atherosclerotic changes in arteries and lessening risk of strokes due to blood clots.
Garlic also has beneficial effects onthe immune system and is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal; an easy home remedy for a heavy cold is to take slice garlic and onion (a related species) into a jar and cover with honey. Leave for 12-24 hours, then take the syrup in teaspoon doses.
Garlic’s benefits are generally more potent in the raw form. I find an easy way of adding raw garlic to the diet is to crush a clove , mix with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and spread some on toast.
Reinhart KM, Coleman CI, Teevan C, Vachhani P, White CM.(2008) ‘Effects of garlic on blood pressure in patients with and without systolic hypertension: a meta-analysis.‘ Ann Pharmacother. 42(12):1766-71.