Is garlic a blood thinner?

and, medical editor and biologist

That garlic people in the Stone Age already knew that it is healthy and has healing powers. Its effect on increased blood lipid levels and for the prevention of "hardening of the arteries" (arteriosclerosis) is recognized. Read more about the garlic plant, its effects and uses here!

What healing power is in garlic?

Garlic (Allium sativum) can help treat high blood lipid levels (such as high cholesterol) as a supplement to dietary measures such as a low-fat diet. In addition, the medicinal plant is recommended for the prevention of age-related vascular changes (arteriosclerosis).

The most important ingredients of the medicinal plant are various sulfur-containing compounds, which are also responsible for the typical garlic odor. One of them is the odorless alliin, which is contained in fresh garlic and which is converted into the so-called allicin when the "toes" are crushed or dried. Allicin forms further chemical compounds when exposed to water and oxygen. Other ingredients are, for example, vitamins (such as ascorbic acid = vitamin C) and minerals.

Various scientific studies have confirmed the following effects of Allium sativum:

  • antibacterial (effective against bacteria)
  • antifungal (effective against fungi)
  • lipid-lowering (i.e. lowering blood lipid levels)
  • effective against the formation of blood clots
  • slightly lowering blood pressure
  • vasodilator and blood circulation stimulating
  • antioxidant (intercepting cell-damaging free radicals)

In folk medicine, garlic is used for purposes other than those mentioned above. The medicinal plant is said to be helpful for infections of the upper respiratory tract such as colds, for example.

How is garlic used?

Garlic as a home remedy

Some people take advantage of the healing powers of garlic by consuming fresh "toes". The average daily dose is four grams, but finished preparations are more often used to reduce elevated blood lipid levels or to prevent arteriosclerosis.

The healing powers of Allium sativum are sometimes combined with those of other remedies, such as a garlic and lemon cure.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time and do not get better or even worse despite treatment, you should always consult a doctor.

Finished preparations with garlic

Powdered garlic is available in the form of dragees and tablets. There are also capsules with the oily extract (oil macerate) of garlic. You can find out how to use and dose such preparations correctly in the respective package insert and from your doctor or pharmacist.

What side effects can garlic cause?

Ingesting garlic changes the smell of breath and skin, which some people find uncomfortable. In addition, it can lead to heartburn and stomach problems - especially when ingesting the fresh "toes".

Some people are allergic to garlic or its preparations.

Because garlic lowers blood pressure, consumption can trigger hypotonic circulatory reactions (drop in blood pressure with dizziness, etc.).

What to consider when using garlic

Garlic may increase the effects of drugs used to thin the blood or lower blood pressure when taken at the same time. It can also make saquinavir, an anti-HIV drug, less effective. Anyone receiving such medication should speak to the attending physician before using the medicinal plant.

It is often recommended that garlic supplements be discontinued as a precautionary measure before surgical interventions or tooth extractions. The reason is the possibly prolonged bleeding time when taking such preparations.

So far there is no evidence that garlic interferes with pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, the ingredients of the plant pass into breast milk.

The strong garlic scent of the breath and skin can be masked by chewing cardamom or ginger, by sucking peppermints or by drinking milk.

How To Obtain Garlic And Its Products

Fresh garlic and garlic granules (powder) are available in grocery stores. For medicinal treatment, it is advisable to pay attention to organic quality. Ready-made preparations such as garlic tablets or garlic coated tablets can be found in your pharmacy and drugstore. Please inform yourself about the correct way of using the preparations using the respective package insert or ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Interesting facts about the garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) originally comes from Central Asia and is now grown almost all over the world.

In the earth, an almost spherical "onion" about four centimeters in size develops on the flat, hard onion cake, from which the roots drift downwards. More precisely, it is an elongated, egg-shaped main onion in the middle and several secondary onions ("toes") around it. Each clove of garlic alone and all together are enclosed in dry-skinned, whitish-reddish shells. In spring, the "onion" grows into an upright, leafy flower stem that reaches a height of 25 to 70 centimeters. The gray-green leaves are broadly linear and pointed. Several long-stalked, reddish or greenish-white flowers form at the end of the stem, but they usually remain in the bud stage.

So-called "black garlic" is considered a rarity and specialty in culinary circles. This is normal garlic that has undergone a fermentation process after harvest.

Chinese garlic is a type of chives whose leaves taste like garlic. However, your tuber resembles an onion, so it does not consist of individual "toes".

Closely related to that garlic include the kitchen onion (Allium cepa), the shallot (A. ascaloniucum), the chives (A. schoenoprasum) and the leek (A. porrum).

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