Focus On: Garlic

Find out why garlic is so tasty and beneficial to your health!

WHAT IT IS: Garlic is an herb that is best known to flavor food, but it also produces allicin, the bioactive compound that gives garlic its strong scent. This herb is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy free radicals, and is also considered unique for its high level of sulfur.

[ Benefits ]

Garlic has more benefits than just adding flavor to your meals. Garlic contains arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium. These are considered very beneficial to your overall health. High blood pressure, atherosclerosis, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and stomach cancer are all conditions that garlic either helps prevent or treat. Even tick bites and fungal infections can be treated with the aid of garlic.

[ Warnings ]

Garlic is considered to be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration, however garlic should not be mixed with Isoniazid, Saquinavir, or medications used for HIV/AIDS. Garlic can increase how fast the body breaks down these medications, then causing it to not work properly. Garlic also contains blood-thinning properties, which could increase and prolong bleeding. If a garlic paste is used on the skin, skin damage can occur similar to that of a burn.

[ Recommended Dosage ]

There is currently little research recommending an effective and safe dose of garlic for children. Below is a chart of recommended amounts to help prevent colon, rectal, and stomach cancer for adults.

Whole garlic clove                         2-4 grams/day

Aged garlic extract                         600-1,200 mg daily (divided doses)

Tablets/Freeze-dried garlic          200 mg (2-3 tablets/day)

Fluid extract                                     4 ml/day

Tincture                                            20 ml/day

Oil                                                      0.03-0.12 ml, 3 times/day

[ Natural Sources ]

Softneck Garlic: This is the most common type of garlic; the one usually found in the local grocery store. Within this type are silverskin garlic and artichoke garlic. Silverskin has a stronger flavor and stores well after drying, lasting almost a year in the perfect conditions. The artichoke is milder in flavor and lasts for only eight months in good conditions.

Hardneck Garlic: The main difference is in the stalk of the garlic. While the other stock was a soft flexible top, this type has an extremely firm top which protrudes an inch or two from the top of the bulb. The three main varieties are rocambole, porcelain, and purple stripe. Racomble is a rich full-bodied taste, porcelain has larger cloves than normal, and the purple stripe is known to be the best baked garlic.

[ Garlic Picks ]

Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract, $11, 200 capsules, kyolic.com // Vitacost Odorless Garlic, $3, 100 softgels, vitacost.com // Nature’s Way Garlicin, $15, 180 tablets, naturesway.com // Country Life Nature’s Garlic, $10, 180 softgels, countrylifevitamins.com // Schiff Odorless Garlic, $5, 100 softgels, schiffvitamins.com