In addition to garlic’s ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, the herb may also prevent and reduce the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries.
Garlic, the simple herb many Americans grow in their summer gardens, is shaping up to be a heart helper of the first magnitude. A study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, suggests that, in addition to garlic’s ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, the herb may also prevent and reduce the build-up of fatty plaque in arteries. This is key because when plaque accumulates in the coronary arteries, it can lead to heart attack. The study followed 280 adults for 4 years. German researchers report that participants who took 900 mg. of garlic powder a day had up to 18 percent less plaque in their arteries than those who took a placebo (sugar pill).
The garlic appeared to affect men and women differently. Male study participants who took the garlic had just a 1.1 percent increase in plaque build-up during the 4-year study period. However, female study participants taking garlic showed a 4.6 percent decrease in plaque, the study found. Men taking the placebo experienced a 5.5 percent increase in plaque, while women on the placebo had a 5.3 percent increase in plaque.
The Many Benefits of Garlic
In addition, garlic may have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure, and the herb may “thin” the blood and help prevent blood clots, according to Darin Ingels in his book, Garlic and Cholesterol (Prima Health). “Garlic (also) possesses antioxidant properties similar to those of vitamin E and vitamin C,” Ingels writes. “These potential benefits may enhance the herb’s power against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by attacking the disease from a different direction.”
Lower Your Cholesterol with Garlic
- Researchers reported that participants who took 900 mg. of garlic powder a day had significantly less plaque in their arteries than those who took a placebo.
- Germany’s Commission E recommends garlic to aid in lowering cholesterol and preventing hardening of the arteries.
- Garlic may also help lower high blood pressure and prevent blood clots.
Germany’s Commission E is an official government agency that performs a job similar to that of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only it is specifically focused on herbs. The commission authorized the use of garlic preparations, “as an adjunct to dietary measures in patients with elevated blood lipids (fats) and for the prevention of age-related vascular changes.” Stated simply, garlic was recommended to lower cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries.