Is Garlic Healthy? The most important questions and answers

Ist Knoblauch gesund? Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

Garlic was and is used in almost all cultures and cuisines. It has always been used not only as a seasoning ingredient, but also medicinally. Whether by the Egyptians, the Romans or in the Middle Ages - garlic has long been considered healthy and has been used as a medicinal plant by various cultures. It is particularly well known that garlic keeps blood, heart and blood vessels healthy. It is far less well known that garlic disinfects the intestines and can also have amazing effects on diabetes and even cancer.

In this article we will explain to you what effect garlic has and whether we can rebuild and strengthen a weakened immune system with the addition of garlic. Finally, we give you valuable tips and tricks on how you can use garlic in the long term to stay healthy.

the essentials in brief

  • Despite its size, garlic is high in nutrients, containing large amounts of vitamin C, selenium, manganese, and iron.
  • In addition, garlic can boost the immune system, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, improve heart health and even increase athletic performance.
  • Nevertheless, a maximum of one or two cloves should be consumed per day, otherwise stomach problems and even diarrhea can occur.

Garlic healthy: what you should know

It is assumed that the original garlic was cultivated in Central Asia around 5,000 years ago and finally came to Europe from there via the Orient. When Roman doctors came to a new country, the first thing they did was to plant garlic.

Garlic simply adds flavor to many meals. Beyond its widespread use as a flavoring agent and condiment, garlic actually offers notable health benefits.

What healing properties does garlic have?

The five most important effects of garlic are examined in more detail below:

Strengthening the immune system: The tasty bulbs of the garlic plant are also rich in the nutrient-rich ingredients allicin and alliinase, which help to strengthen our immune system . Garlic can boost the immune system by stimulating immune cells like macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. integrate.

It can also help ward off colds and flu as the plant has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties that stop the growth of viruses, bacteria and other unwanted organisms. While some studies show a positive effect, it is emphasized that there is no 100% guarantee that garlic will prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu. However, it can definitely give your immune system an extra boost and strengthen it. (1)

Cancer Risk Reduction: Garlic is also a good source of phytochemicals, which provide protection against cell damage and thus reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in vegetables and fruits that have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease. There is some evidence that the phytochemicals in garlic have anti-carcinogenic effects, potentially reducing the risk of stomach and colon cancer. High blood pressure can lower blood pressure and prevent hardening of the arteries. Garlic can also lower lipids in the blood, which in turn can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of plaque formation in the cardiovascular system. (4,5,6,7)

Lowering Blood Sugar Levels: Regular consumption of garlic has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels, which has been shown in studies involving both animals and people with diabetes. These findings could play a role in the future, especially in the treatment of diabetes. (8th)

Increased Performance: In ancient times, Greek athletes were said to have eaten garlic before a sporting event to improve their performance. This is because garlic releases nitric oxide in the body, which relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. This compound is released especially during running to deliver more oxygen to working muscles. (9)

When is it important to eat garlic?

Especially for people who want to strengthen their immune system or have high blood pressure, the consumption of garlic can have a positive effect. As already written, it can also be helpful for diabetics because the blood sugar level is lowered.

Garlic can also be used prophylactically in cancer prevention or to lower cholesterol levels. Furthermore, garlic is said to have a performance-enhancing effect in sports, since the muscles are supplied with more oxygen and are therefore particularly beneficial in running. In principle, garlic can have a positive influence on almost everyone, although excessive consumption can lead to nausea and coagulation disorders.

How Much Garlic Should You Eat?

While one clove of garlic provides a dense nutrient profile, garlic's small size also means we can't get enough nutrients from a single clove of garlic. Don't be too quick to incorporate too much garlic into your diet. One to two toes a day should be the guideline and should not be exceeded, otherwise side effects such as nausea will occur.

Is Garlic Anti-Inflammatory?

Garlic can also help ward off colds and flu as the plant has antimicrobial and antibiotic properties that stop the growth of viruses, bacteria and other unwanted organisms. It has germicidal properties by acting against all possible types of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites (bacteria) without attacking the beneficial intestinal bacteria.


Garlic acts as an antibiotic and is also used to prevent colds and flu. (Image source: Sanjay Dosajh / unsplash)

Garlic can therefore be described as a natural antibiotic that, in contrast to chemical antibiotics, promotes the maintenance of a healthy intestinal flora. In some cases it works better than antibiotics, for example when bacteria are already resistant to antibiotics.

What other ingredients does garlic have?

The fact that garlic has a health-promoting effect can be attributed mainly to the secondary plant substances it contains.

The sulfur compounds in particular are not only responsible for the typical smell of garlic, but are also of crucial importance for its health benefits. Allicin is formed from alliin when the toe is injured, i.e. cut or bruised. Since the substance is heat-sensitive, it is best to eat garlic raw for the health benefits.

Although a raw garlic clove is quite small, it actually contains a significant amount of the following vitamins and nutrients:

vitamin/nutrient amount per toe
vitamin C 2.81mg
selenium 1.28mcg
manganese 0.15 mg
iron 0.15 mg

Other vitamins and minerals included include:

What should be considered when buying garlic?

Garlic originally comes from Central Asia, but today it is cultivated all over the world. However, the main growing areas are still China and India. In Europe, most tubers come from Spain, but garlic is also cultivated in Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands.

Food from China in particular is often heavily contaminated with pesticides. In order to avoid these and long transport routes, one should primarily buy regionally grown garlic. If you use organic garlic, you can also support organic farming.


It is best to buy garlic fresh and locally grown to avoid pesticides and long transport routes. (Image source: Matthew Pilachowski / unsplash)

Also, to benefit from the health benefits of garlic, make sure the bulbs are fresh. To do this, they should feel firm, the shell should fit snugly and the toes should not yet be extruded. It is also best to store the garlic in a dark, cool and dry place. (10)

Alternatively, you can plant garlic in your garden.

What side effects does garlic have?

Not all people benefit solely from the healthy effects of garlic, especially when overdosed. Below are the possible side effects of over-consumption of garlic.

  • Nausea : Severe nausea or vomiting may occasionally occur, particularly with heavy consumption of garlic. The reason for this is not known, but people with gastrointestinal problems should not consume large amounts of garlic.
  • Coagulation disorders : Garlic has an anticoagulant effect in the blood. For this reason, people with blood clotting problems should avoid taking garlic.

Garlic can also trigger an allergic reaction under certain circumstances. (11) The effects of garlic consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding have not been extensively researched scientifically.

To be on the safe side, pregnant and breastfeeding women should therefore avoid consuming large amounts of garlic during this period.

What should be considered when using garlic-containing dietary supplements?

Particular attention must be paid to interactions of garlic products with drugs. For example, garlic can increase the effect of anticoagulant drugs and drugs that lower blood pressure, while blocking other drugs. Concomitant consumption of products with high doses of vitamin E, ginkgo or fish oil can also be critical with regard to blood clotting.

Garlic can cause allergic reactions.

Allergic asthma and skin reactions after garlic consumption have been observed. An allergy seems to occur more frequently in people who also suffer from a pollen allergy.

Since children are particularly sensitive to garlic ingredients, dietary supplements containing garlic are unsuitable for them. If you take medication regularly, you should therefore always discuss the use of garlic products with your doctor beforehand.

What do garlic capsules do?

Garlic is offered both as a dietary supplement and as a traditional medicine. Garlic can also be offered in the form of tablets, capsules or juice, usually in combination with other ingredients such as chokeberry, hawthorn, olive or vitamins.

In principle, food, and thus also food supplements, are not intended to treat, alleviate or cure diseases. To avoid this, some products also contain vitamin C or B1. For example, vitamin B1 contributes to "normal heart function" and vitamin C to "normal blood vessel function" or "reduces signs of tiredness and exhaustion".

However, it is undisputed that garlic contains many health-promoting secondary plant substances. However, it cannot be directly deduced from this that garlic also has these effects on human health in the form of powders or extracts, especially since the effects were mainly determined on cell cultures and in animal experiments.

What does a garlic-lemon cure do?

The lemon and garlic cure is intended to help break down calcium deposits in the body. These are found, for example, in the arterial walls (arteriosclerosis), in joints or in the brain. In many cases, this cure is also referred to as the "fountain of youth" because it is intended to rejuvenate the body and relieve annoying ailments.

The following are the most significant benefits of a garlic-lemon regimen:

  • The cure can lower blood pressure and thereby stabilize the cardiovascular system.
  • It can also relieve joint pain.
  • It can also help reduce periodontitis and dissolve scarred connective tissue.
  • The cure is also said to improve vision and hearing.
  • Blood fats are broken down and the intestines are cleaned and deacidified by the cure.

Accordingly, the garlic-lemon cure helps the whole body to regenerate. The great advantage of the cure is that the lemon neutralizes the smell of the garlic and thus no well-known "garlic flag" develops.


The list of all the health benefits of garlic is long and impressive. It can have a positive influence on the cardiovascular system, blood sugar and cholesterol levels or a performance-enhancing effect in sports. Garlic can also be effective on the intestines or in the treatment of diabetes.

However, it is important to note that the consumption of garlic alone certainly cannot prevent all diseases outright, let alone reverse existing pathological processes. If the other diet or lifestyle leaves something to be desired, the use of garlic will not help either.

Excessive consumption of garlic also leads to side effects such as nausea or coagulation disorders. Raw garlic is particularly recommended for consumption, as it has the greatest health benefits. The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, can also be taken in the form of dietary supplements, such as capsules. However, raw garlic brings the greatest benefit.


    Lissiman E et al.: Garlic against influenza infections - Cochrane review of 11/11/2014Source Nicastro HL, Ross SA, Milner JA. Garlic and onions: their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar;8(3):181-9. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0172. Epub 2015 Jan 13. PMID: 25586902; PMCID: PMC4366009. Source Sun YE, Wang W, Qin J. Anti-hyperlipidemia of garlic by reducing the level of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein: A meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(18):e0255. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010255. PMID: 29718835; PMCID: PMC6392629. Source Stabler SN, Tejani AM, Huynh F, Fowkes C. Garlic for the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD007653. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007653.pub2. Accessed 26 March 2021. Source Garlic extract for high blood pressure. Medicine transparent, Cochrane Austria, status: 07/26/2016, retrieved on 03/26/2021 Source Jepson RG, Kleijnen J, Leng GC. Garlic for peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000095. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000095.pub2. Accessed 26 March 2021. Source Ried, K. (2020). Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 19, 1472-1478. Source Hou LQ, Liu YH, Zhang YY. Garlic intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2015;24(4):575-82. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2015.24.4.15. PMID: 26693740. Source N Morihara, T Nishihama, M Ushijima, N Ide, H Takeda and M Hayama (2007) Garlic as an anti‐fatigue agent. Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 51:1329-1334. Source Vlachojannis J; Chrubasik-Hausmann S (2018): Garlic for health maintenance. Part 1: Garlic preparations and their ingredients. Journal of Phytotherapy 39: 63-65 Source Garlic can trigger allergic reactions. BfR Opinion No. 006/2007 of 05.01.2007 Source
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