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If garlic had been created in a test tube, it would most certainly be a very high-priced prescription drug. Taking garlic has an abundance of health benefits. In fact, it has been used medicinally for at least 3,000 years. Today, we are just now discovering what many ancient civilizations, including the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians already knew – garlic boosts strength and prevents disease. It’s even been said that garlic made Egyptian pyramid-builders stronger and Roman legions more courageous.
Taking garlic regularly can help prevent many chronic health conditions. Studies show garlic is a natural antibacterial and antifungal. It helps with lowering cholesterol naturally and simultaneously acts as a blood thinner. It boosts immunity due to its antioxidant properties and research has shown it prevents both cancer and cardiovascular disease. It can even treat gastritis. Perhaps one of the most promising actions of this natural “wonder drug” is its ability to lower blood pressure. But contrary to its pharmaceutical counterparts, garlic can accomplish all of these health benefits without the plethora of side effects!
Garlic contains allicin, one of the most beneficial high blood pressure remedies. A study conducted by researchers from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences investigated the effects of time-released garlic powder tablets on men with mild to moderate high blood pressure. The research showed that taking a 600 mg time-released garlic tablet decreased blood pressure levels.
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How does garlic fight high blood pressure symptoms?
As the body increases production of an enzyme called angiotensin I-converting enzyme, or “ACE”, blood pressure increases. Pharmaceutical drugs called ACE inhibitors work by blocking the formation of this enzyme, but they have multiple side effects. (Read 3 Ace Inhibitor Side Effects to Be Aware Of,.) Garlic contains gamma-glutamylcysteine, a natural ACE inhibitor. This chemical, in combination with the high allicin content, give garlic its ability to dilate arteries, thereby lowering blood pressure.
How do I take garlic?
A fresh clove of garlic (4 grams) contains 1% allicin. You can dice up one fresh garlic clove daily and add it to your dishes, but it may leave you with rather unpleasant breath. Garlic supplements are available in several forms such as pills, powders, oils, and extracts ranging anywhere from 100 mg up to 5,000 mg. Since some garlic supplements contain little or no allicin, be sure to check the label for adequate allicin levels. You can also buy pure allicin supplements. In this case, follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. If you choose garlic extract, take 600 to 1200 mg divided in three doses per day.
Because garlic is a natural blood thinner (anticoagulant), taking it in combination with blood thinning medications can be risky. If you are taking a blood thinner or an ACE inhibitor blood pressure medication, be sure to consult an integrative physician before beginning garlic supplements.
High blood pressure is a condition that is preventable and easily managed. Besides consuming garlic regularly, if you will observe a balanced diet and enjoy an active lifestyle, you can avoid high blood pressure symptoms as well as decrease your stroke and heart attack risk.
 “Hypertension Research”; Time-Released Garlic Powder Tablets Lower Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure in Men with Mild and Moderate Arterial Hypertension; I.A. Sobenin et al.; June 2009
This article originally appeared in 2012 and has been updated.