Garlic: a natural remedy for your heart

Garlic (allium sativum) is a natural remedy that reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Garlic is very good for the heart.

Garlic is a herbaceous plant that has a bulb that is comprised of smaller bulbs or cloves. Garlic has diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, antiaggregant and antiseptic properties, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also has anticancer and antimicrobial effects and it builds the defences.

It is very nourishing. It contains a large number of sulphur compounds, amino acids, germanium, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and Vitamins A, B and C.

When it is consumed in large amounts, fresh garlic can have a notable effect on the respiratory and digestive mucous membranes, as well as the hip joints. In this case, garlic can cause several side effects including: flatulence, salivation, heartburn, coughs and hip pain.

Health benefits of garlic

It is a natural remedy that covers a broad therapeutic spectrum. It has been used for many years for the treatment of hypertension and cholesterol. It is a natural remedy that we can use in many treatments.

Antimicrobial

Garlic is effective against viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. It has powerful antifungal properties. It can be used for many ailments, ranging from thrush to cryptococcal meningitis. It is also effective for colds, the flu, herpes, amoebae, worms and bacterial infections.

Potent protector of the heart and the circulation system

It benefits our heart and our circulation system. It is a natural remedy that can be used to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol. A supplement of garlic lowers total blood cholesterol and improves the good cholesterol (HDL) to bad cholesterol (LDL) ratio.

It also contains a high concentration of antioxidants. These antioxidant compounds prevent LDL oxidation and therefore inhibit the formation of atheroma. As a result of this, we can improve blood circulation and prevent the occurrence of heart attacks.

It also has an antiaggregant action and is a good peripheral vasodilator, which is why it can help to lower blood pressure.

Liver protector

It protects the cells in the liver from toxic substances that derive from certain medicines such as paracetemol or phenobarbital. It also protects the liver from other toxic elements such as bromobenzene and aflatoxin B1. It detoxifies the liver by increasing glutathione activity. Glutathione is the detoxification enzyme of the liver.

Anticatarrhal

It has an expectorant action due to its high concentration of sulphur compounds such as allicin. Garlic has the capacity to treat respiratory infections due to its expectorant and antimicrobial action.

Antiinflammatory

The sulphur compounds in garlic inhibit the secretion of inflammatory compounds. Antioxidants work with these to carry out this process.

Builds the defences and protects the cells

Garlic obstructs the production of nitrosamine. Nitrosamine is a compound that is formed in the digestive process and has a harmful effect on the cells of the body. Garlic also increases activity in defensive cells.

Other uses for garlic

Garlic is a very good natural remedy for performing a liver cleanse. It is useful in chemotherapy, allergies and anti-ageing.

Should I take fresh or aged garlic?

Fresh garlic contains allicin as a main active ingredient. The disadvantages of allicin are its oxidising effect, its instability and its limited bioavailability. Allicin gives fresh garlic greater antibacterial properties than aged garlic. Fresh garlic, however, is difficult to digest, causes heartburn and has an unpleasant smell.

Garlic that has been aged for a minimum of 20 months is made into capsules or extracts. Over this period of time, the garlic undergoes a series of biotransforming responses. By ageing the garlic, the quantity and the quality of the active compounds increase, in comparison with fresh garlic.

The main active ingredients in aged garlic are S-Allyl cysteine or S-Allylmercaptocysteine. As it ages, it becomes richer in antioxidant substances and sulphur compounds. All of the substances that are present in aged garlic are beneficial to us and have a particularly positive effect on our circulation system and heart.

Aged garlic has the same properties as fresh garlic, but these are optimised. It improves circulation, boosts our defences, protects our liver and is a powerful antioxidant. The advantages of aged garlic are that it is more digestible than fresh garlic, it doesn’t damage the gastric mucous membrane and it has no odour.

Contraindications

It is a natural remedy, but this doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from interactions with other medications or that it isn’t contraindicated. We mustn’t take garlic during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is also contraindicated for thrombocytopenia and active haemorrhages.

If you are taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, omega 3 or vitamin E, you should avoid taking high doses of garlic. Garlic shouldn’t be taken alongside plants such as willow, turmeric, angelica, ginko or ginger. It is not advisable to take garlic immediately before or after a surgical procedure.

Foto: Petra Bork  / pixelio.de

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