Garlic, from the Allium family, is a close relative to onion, shallots, leeks, and chives, can be used for more than just seasoning food and making buttery, oven-toasted bread amazing.
It is believed that the builders of the Egyptian pyramids were plied with garlic to keep their strength up.
But despite the bulb part of the plant being known for its medicinal uses, the name itself seems to come from the shallot-like top part of the plant, which is typically quite tight and pointy. “Gar” is the Anglo-Saxon for spear, and “lac” is for plant.
Even Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula likely chose garlic as a repellent of vampires based on its use as a mosquito repellent.
To this day, many people plant garlic among their crops or urban gardens to prevent insect infestations.
Is garlic good for you?
The short answer is yes. Garlic bulbs contain allicin, which is released when garlic is cut. Allicin helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Allicin can also help with nitric oxide release in the blood vessels, thereby relaxing them and helping to bring about a drop in blood pressure. That, long term, is good for supporting heart health.
What is black garlic?
Black garlic is aged garlic. Its dark colour can be attributed to a reaction called the Maillard reaction, when amino acids and sugars react, as you might see on seared steaks or toasted marshmallows.
The whole bulbs are heated over several weeks, and the garlic ends up with a sweet and syrupy taste, with a hint of tang. It is also elastic and has a chewy texture.
The fermentation that garlic undergoes in this process alters its chemical characteristics and generally improves the concentration of bioactive compounds.
In this form, the amount of antioxidants in the garlic double.
This also helps support heart health and the maintenance of good cholesterol levels. The dosage here is slightly higher, with 3.6 mg of allicin per capsule. Again though, one capsule can be taken per day, with food.
These contain vitamin E and can help protect cells from damage by free oxygen radicals.
In this case, it is recommended that you take one capsule three times a day with a small amount of water.
Used for many centuries to contribute to a healthy immune system and heart health, Garlic is also a decongestant and is also used to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Our garlic supplements come in a variety of formats including tablets, capsules and liquid with some of our garlic tablets also being odourless.
You are probably most familiar with garlic as a handy ingredient, which can form the basis of soups, stews and pasta sauces.
The edible bulb of allium sativum, a plant of the lily family, garlic is closely related to onions, leeks and shallots.
As well as tasting delicious, garlic contains potent sulphur compounds, which appear to have some health benefits.
These compounds, released when a clove is crushed or cut, are what give garlic is pungent flavour and smell.
The most notable of these compounds is allicin. However, diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine are also present and may play just as much a part in garlic’s healthy reputation.
While garlic is highly nutritious, offering decent amounts of manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C with very few calories, taking an allicin garlic supplement allows you to fully enjoy the benefits of garlic, without the often overwhelming flavour.
When taken in certain quantities garlic extract can help support your heart health.
Not quite. However research suggests that taking garlic vitamins could reduce the length of a cold and may even reduce your chances of catching one in the first place.
This is due to garlic’s ability to support the immune system, however studies are limited and more data is needed to prove the theory.
While some people choose to gain the benefits of garlic through eating it in their meals or even popping a clove or two a day, most of us find it more convenient to opt for a garlic supplement.
An odourless organic garlic supplement is best for general use, providing all the benefits of allicin without the lasting garlic flavour and lingering odour.
It is recommended to check for the highest levels of allicin possible, particularly when choosing garlic for heart health.
Black garlic is a fermented version of garlic and contains especially high levels of s-allyl cysteine, which is more easily absorbed and used by the body.
At least 10mg of garlic per day for heart health, or 2000mg a day for immunity.
Garlic is generally considered to be safe, however those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid supplements, as should under 18s.
Garlic may affect how fast your blood can clot so it is not recommended for anyone taking anticoagulation or antiplatelet medications or those due to have surgery within seven days.
As you may well imagine, taking a garlic supplement may cause breath or body odour. It can also cause headaches and dizziness or stomach pain and bloating.