Garlic has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for various health conditions, including for cholesterol control.  Scientific studies have explored the potential cholesterol-lowering effects of garlic and have produced mixed results.

Charakasamhita recommends the use of garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis too. Garlic’s effect is also said to be a diuretic. The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) prescribes the use of garlic in cases of high blood pressure and clogged arteries. Garlic was also prescribed to alleviate general malaise, and combat infestations of insects, worms, and parasites.

Hippocrates recommended using garlic for respiratory ailments, as a cleansing agent, and to treat abdominal growths. Dioscorides recommended the use of garlic to keep arteries clean. Pliny’s Historica Naturalis mentions the use of garlic to improve digestion and treat insect bites, arthritis, and convulsions.

Before the discovery of antibiotics, garlic was consumed in large quantities, especially during disease epidemics. Its anti-microbial properties were thought to provide protection. In 2002-2003, the SARS epidemic in China killed hundreds of people; garlic was consumed widely, hoping for protection against the virus.

Some studies have shown that supplementing with garlic can reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. For example, a meta-analysis of 11 clinical trials found that daily consumption of garlic supplements for 4-12 weeks reduced total cholesterol by an average of 9.3% and LDL cholesterol by an average of 12.5%.

However, other studies have not shown significant cholesterol control effects of garlic supplements. It is also important to note that some studies that showed positive results had small sample sizes and limited duration. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of garlic supplementation on cholesterol levels.

It is a widely-researched species and is a popular herbal supplement cleared for use in the US, Europe, and across the globe. The plant effectively reduces high blood pressure, showing promise in reducing cardiovascular risk (Ackermann et al., 2001). Garlic is useful in alleviating atherosclerosis (Berthold et al., 1998). It also tested positive for efficacy against Type 2 diabetes (Ashraf et al., 2005).

While the evidence is mixed, some experts believe incorporating garlic into the diet may have a modest cholesterol-lowering effect, especially when combined with other lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. However, it is important to remember that garlic should not be relied upon as the sole intervention for high cholesterol levels and individuals with high cholesterol.

Garlic supplements are dietary supplements derived from garlic and are commonly used to provide the potential health benefits of garlic in a convenient form. Garlic supplements include fresh garlic, dried garlic, garlic oil, garlic extract, and aged garlic extract.

Garlic supplements are often used to support cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol levels, and boost the immune system. Some studies have shown that garlic supplements can effectively reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.

Additional reading:

Asian herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties

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