Garlic belongs to the Alliaceae family. There are said to be around 300 varieties of garlic.
There is extensive reference to its medicinal properties in both the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita, ancient Indian medical texts. It is well recognized in Chinese medicine, and references to this spice go back to 2700 BC to the time of Shen Nung, the ancient Chinese scholar, and emperor.
While traditionally garlic is used as an aphrodisiac and a spice that helps in digestion, there are some ancient references to this plant’s use in treating blood pressure. I did come across a few scientific studies that support some of these properties too.
The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) prescribes the use of garlic in cases of high blood pressure and clogged arteries. Dioscorides recommended the use of garlic to keep arteries clean.
Garlic is useful in alleviating atherosclerosis (Berthold et al., 1998)
The plant is rich in vitamins C and B6, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium. The active ingredient isolated from the plant is allicin, along with a few other alkaloids. Allicin is responsible for the pungent odor of garlic.
To know more about garlic and other Asian herbs and spices, you can read here.