Garlic proven health benefits

Studies into Allium sativum show therapeutic effect on all major diseases — incl. cancer

by Healing Cancer Naturally, copyright © 2024

The multifaceted therapeutic effects of garlic – voted „medicinal plant of the year 1989“ in Germany — have not only been discussed in thousands of human and animal studies, but cultures of antiquity as well as our ancestors were also well aware of it.

The medicinal properties of this plant were used in the traditional medicines of ancient Egypt, Japan, and China as well as in ancient Rome and Greece. In his encyclopaedic work Naturalis historia (first century AD), Pliny the Elder listed diseases for which garlic was considered curative. The second century AD saw Greek physician and polymath Galen praise garlic as the "theriac" (panacea) of the common man. In his five-volume Canon of Medicine (1025), the Persian physician, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist and music theorist Avicenna recommended garlic for treating arthritis, parasites, snake and insect bites, chronic coughs as well as an antibiotic. Physician Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), the "English Hippocrates", valued garlic for the treatment of smallpox. And the Scottish physician, surgeon and chemist William Cullen described several cases of dropsy that were cured with garlic alone in his Lectures on the Materia Medica (1789).

Many of the above “indications” have actually been confirmed by modern research – and counting. In December 2022, for example, the PubMed biomedical database featured over 7,500 studies on the health effects of garlic. These included 97 meta-analyses, i.e. reviews summarizing the results of existing studies and harmonizing their sometimes contradictory statements, and even two umbrella reviews — the current pinnacle of medical research — which in turn systematically summarize meta-analyses.

In fact, we have such a plethora of studies on garlic that in the following, we will cite meta-analyses near-exclusively.


Based on current knowledge, heart attacks are the result of atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, so the main risk factors include those that promote atherosclerosis — high blood pressure, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels, i.e. total cholesterol of over 200 mg/dl). Elevated LDL (low-density lipoproteins, also known as “bad cholesterol”), low HDL (high-density lipoproteins, the so-called “good cholesterol”) and elevated triglycerides are seen as problematic.

Garlic has been recognized as effective against all these factors.

Garlic against high blood pressure

Garlic had already been shown to lower blood pressure in animal experiments. This has been confirmed in humans in numerous randomized controlled trials — although, interestingly, garlic only lowers blood pressure at elevated levels, not when it is considered within the normal range.[1]

A meta-analysis additionally stated that garlic lowers high blood pressure as effectively as standard antihypertensive drugs, reducing the risk of cardiovascular events by 16-40%.[2]

Garlic against hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels)

A very comprehensive meta-analysis summarized the results of 39 studies on the effect of garlic on total cholesterol, LDL and HDL as well as triglycerides. Result: With elevated cholesterol levels (>200 mg/dL), garlic effectively lowers total serum cholesterol and LDL when taken for longer than 2 months. Garlic — which has a better safety profile than normal cholesterol-lowering drugs — could thus be considered as an alternative treatment in case of mildly elevated cholesterol levels.[3]

For complementary information compare On the link between cholesterol and cancer incidence: High cholesterol levels associated with lower cancer risk

Garlic against several risk factors for the heart

A number of double-blind, randomized, controlled trials had established garlic‘s positive effect on more than one of the risk factors mentioned. Summarising these studies, several meta-analyses confirmed that garlic does significantly lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and thus has a heart-protective effect.[4] Garlic can prevent atherosclerosis — including via its influence on related risk factors.[5]

Although this hardly seems necessary anymore, even an Umbrella Review has reaffirmed the influence of garlic on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease: garlic does lower systolic blood pressure and overall cholesterol levels significantly, and usually without any serious side effects.[6]


Garlic and its active ingredients such as allicin (which is formed when garlic‘s cell structure is destroyed) exert antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and antibacterial effects, eg against many Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli germs. The bacteriostatic or bactericidal effect is achieved inter alia by interfering with the bacterial cell membrane, biofilms[7] as well as the quorum sensing[8] of protozoa.

The antifungal effect of garlic is directed in particular against Candida albicans, and its antiparasitic effect includes some important animal unicellular parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica (the cause of amoebiasis or amoebic dysentery) and Giardia lamblia (the cause of giardiasis).[9]

The antiviral effect of garlic (in humans, animals and plants) is achieved, among other things, by inhibiting DNA synthesis and virus entry into the host cells. Additionally, by strengthening the immune system, garlic has a prophylactic effect against viral infections.[10]


C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein synthesized by the liver whose blood concentration rises in response to inflammation — and especially bacterial infections. Currently, CRP is regarded as the most important non-specific acute inflammatory marker, even more so than fever and an increase in the leukocyte count.

Even here, garlic has shown positive effects in randomized clinical trials, significantly reducing not only CRP levels[11] but other inflammatory markers[12] and mediators[13] as well.


Numerous studies have looked at the link between garlic consumption and cancer risk. A particularly large number of cases (>100,000) showed a protective effect against gastrointestinal cancers such as stomach[14] and colorectal cancer (12,558 cases).[15]

We also possess over 100,000 "proofs" of a significant reduction in prostate cancer risk thanks to garlic.[16]

Finally, there is similarly extensive evidence that garlic can protect against breast cancer[17] and carcinomas of the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.[18]

Read more details under Garlic can prevent cancer: Studies into Allium sativum consumption prove lowered cancer risk. More scientific studies can be found under Garlic, onion and other Allium vegetables against cancer: epidemiological and laboratory research.


Numerous clinical studies and animal experiments have investigated the effect of garlic on blood sugar levels (i.e. the glucose content in the blood) by measuring the biomarkers of glycemic control (fasting glucose, blood sugar after eating and the glycated haemoglobin HbA1c). Result: garlic significantly reduced all three of these biomarkers and hence the blood glucose levels.[19]

Another meta-analysis looked at the effect of garlic on both the lipid profile and the blood glucose levels of diabetics. Result: Garlic increased HDL and significantly lowered blood lipid parameters including triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL, fasting glucose and glycated hemoglobin HbA1c. In other words, garlic can reduce the lipid profile and glucose levels and can be used as an effective therapeutic agent for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.[20]

Finally, an Umbrella Review explicitly recommends that diabetics, hypertensives and people with dyslipidemia (excess amounts of blood lipids such as cholesterol or triglycerides and altered lipoprotein a concentrations) include garlic as an integral part of their diet.[21]


Risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as a high level of total serum cholesterol, high LDL levels, increased LDL oxidation, increased platelet aggregation (clumping of blood platelets) and high blood pressure are also important risk factors for dementia in old age. The reason: they play a key role in the development of atherosclerosis and can trigger both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular (affecting the blood vessels of the brain) diseases.

Among other things, garlic exerts lipid-lowering and anti-atherogenic effects. Allicin in particular has remarkable neuroprotective properties, i.e. it inhibits neuroinflammation and protects against neurodegenerative and neuropsychological diseases.

Garlic and allicin thus help to reduce the risk of dementia, including vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. They alleviate cognitive disorders, improve mental abilities in neurological diseases, and can be used to improve Alzheimer's symptoms.

Garlic and allicin also help with autism spectrum disorder, help to balance neurotransmitters in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and protect against nerve damage in acute spinal cord injuries. Even neurodegenerative diseases induced by toxic metals can be alleviated with garlic or allicin.[22]


Here garlic proved to be as helpful as vaccinations.[23]


1 Kurt M Reinhart et al.: Effects of garlic on blood pressure in patients with and without systolic hypertension: a meta-analysis. In: The Annals of Pharmacothererapy. 2008. PMID: 19017826

Hai-Peng Wang et al.: Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a meta-analysis. In: Journal of Clinical Hypertension. 2015. PMID: 25557383
X J Xiong et al.: Garlic for hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: Phytomedicine. 2015. PMID: 25837272

K. Ried et al.: Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. In: BMC cardiovascular disorders. Band 8. 2008. PMID 18554422

2 Karin Ried: Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota: A review and meta-analysis. In: Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2020. PMID: 32010325

3 Karin Ried et al.: Effect of garlic on serum lipids: an updated meta-analysis. In: Nutrition Reviews. 2013. PMID: 23590705

4 Ravi Varshney et al.: Garlic and Heart Disease:. In: The Journal of Nutrition. 2016. PMID: 26764327

5 Feras Q Alali et al.: Garlic for Cardiovascular Disease: Prevention or Treatment? In: Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2017. PMID: 27748188

Igor A Sobenin et al.: Therapeutic effects of garlic in cardiovascular atherosclerotic disease. In: Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. 2019. PMID: 31703752

A Neil et al.: Garlic: its cardio-protective properties. In: Current Opinion in Lipidology. 1994. PMID: 15559024

6 Lukas Schwingshackl et al.: An umbrella review of garlic intake and risk of cardiovascular disease. In: Phytomedicine. 2016. PMID: 26656227



9 S Ankri et al.: Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. In: Microbes and Infection. 1999. PMID: 10594976

Sushma Bagde Bhatwalkar et al.: Antibacterial Properties of Organosulfur Compounds of Garlic (Allium sativum). In: Frontiers in Microbiology. 2021. PMID: 34394014

10 Razina Rouf et al.: Antiviral potential of garlic ( Allium sativum) and its organosulfur compounds: A systematic update of pre-clinical and clinical data. In: Trends in Food Science and Technology. 2020. PMID: 32836826

11 Farhang Mirzavandi et al.: Effects of garlic supplementation on serum inflammatory markers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome. 2020. PMID: 32673835

Mohsen Taghizadeh et al.: Effect of garlic supplementation on serum C-reactive protein level: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: Phytotherapy Research. 2019. PMID: 30370629

12 Manije Darooghegi Mofrad et al.: Garlic Supplementation Reduces Circulating C-reactive Protein, Tumor Necrosis Factor, and Interleukin-6 in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. In: The Journal of Nutrition. 2019. PMID: 30949665

13 Mehdi Koushki et al.: Effect of garlic intake on inflammatory mediators: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. In: Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2021. PMID: 32051282

14 R T Kodali et al.: Meta-analysis: Does garlic intake reduce risk of gastric cancer? In: Nutrition and Cancer. 2015. PMID: 25411831

Federica Turati et al.: Allium vegetable intake and gastric cancer: a case-control study and meta-analysis. In: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2015. PMID: 25215621

Yangyang Wang et al.: Association and mechanism of garlic consumption with gastrointestinal cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In: Oncology Letters. 2022. PMID: 35222725

Yong Zhou et al.: Consumption of large amounts of Allium vegetables reduces risk for gastric cancer in a meta-analysis. In: Gastroenterology. 2011. PMID: 21473867

Federica Turati et al.: Allium vegetable intake and gastric cancer: a case-control study and meta-analysis. In: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2015. PMID: 25215621

Ziyu Li et al.. The association of garlic with Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In: Helicobacter. 2018. PMID: 30155945

15 Xi Zhou et al.: Garlic intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: A meta-analysis. In: Medicine (Baltimore). 2020. PMID: 31895803

Pia Borgas et al.: Phytochemically rich dietary components and the risk of colorectal cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. In: World Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2021. PMID: 34189071 PMCID: PMC8223713

The association between consumption of specific dietary components and colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence

Federica Turati et al.: Colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps in relation to allium vegetables intake: a meta-analysis of observational studies. In: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2014. PMID: 24976533

Suong N T Ngo et al.: Does garlic reduce risk of colorectal cancer? A systematic review. In: The Journal of Nutrition. 2007. PMID: 17885009

A T Fleischauer et al.: Garlic consumption and cancer prevention: meta-analyses of colorectal and stomach cancers. In: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000. PMID: 11010950

16 Xiao-Feng Zhou et al.: Allium Vegetables and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Evidence from 132,192 Subjects. In: Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2013. PMID: 23991965

17 Jinhang Zhang et al.: Allium Vegetables Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. In: Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2022. PMID: 35936519 PMCID: PMC9288417

18 Valentina Guercio et al.: Allium vegetables and upper aerodigestive tract cancers: a meta-analysis of observational studies. In: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2016. PMID: 26464065

19 Li-qiong Hou et al.: Garlic intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015. PMID: 26693740

20 Ehsan Shabani et al.: The effect of garlic on lipid profile and glucose parameters in diabetic patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In: PMID: 30049636

21 Qianyi Wan et al.: Allium vegetable consumption and health: An umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. In: Food Science & Nutrition. 2019. PMID: 31428334 PMCID: PMC6694434

22 Muhammad Shahid Nadeem et al.: Allicin, an Antioxidant and Neuroprotective Agent, Ameliorates Cognitive Impairment. In: Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 PMID: 35052591 PMCID: PMC8772758

Bc Mathew et al.: Neuroprotective effects of garlic a review. In: The Libyan Journal of Medicine. 2008. PMID: 21499478

Jing-Fang Luo et al.: The effect and underlying mechanisms of garlic extract against cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental animal studies. In: Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2021. PMID: 34273446

23 Yi Yuan et al.: Interventions for preventing influenza: An overview of Cochrane systematic reviews and a Bayesian network meta-analysis. In: Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2021. PMID: 34544670

Addendum by Healing Cancer Naturally

Make sure to use organically grown garlic for a balanced and rich mineral and trace element spectrum (Germanium etc.) and (probably) enhanced potency.


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