Garlic is known primarily as a popular food seasoning, but it has also been used medicinally for centuries. Its medicinal use dates back to ancient Egypt, and it is still used today medicinally for a variety of ailments and serious medical conditions. Research of its effects on the body continues. Always consult with a trusted health professional before using garlic pills to improve your health.
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Garlic pills may have a limited effect in lowering both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol--the LDL, or bad, cholesterol--and total cholesterol levels, according to MedlinePlus. This effect has been demonstrated in multiple medical studies, but the effects may only be short term. Additionally, the effect garlic has on good cholesterol--high-density lipoprotein, or HDL--is not known. High cholesterol is a serious medical condition. Do not self-treat with garlic pills unless under the care of a trusted health professional.
Treating and Preventing Colds
Another potential benefit of garlic pills is treating and preventing the common cold, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A study found that people receiving garlic supplements during the cold season developed fewer colds, and cold symptoms resolved more quickly than in others.
Some medical research suggests that regular consumption of garlic or garlic pills may be useful in treating or preventing certain types of cancer, in particular colorectal and gastric cancer, according to MedlinePlus. However, large, thorough and well-designed studies have not yet been done, and garlic's effect on cancer is not fully understood. Cancer is a life-threatening condition that should not be self-treated with garlic or other supplements unless under the care of a knowledgeable health professional.
Treating High Blood Pressure
Several studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of garlic pills can lower blood pressure levels by a small amount, according to the University of Michigan Health System. However, more study on larger populations is needed before it can be recommended as a beneficial treatment. High blood pressure is a serious medical condition that should not be self treated. Speak with a doctor before using it to lower blood pressure.
Preventing Heart Attacks
Garlic pills are sometimes recommended as a treatment to help prevent a heart attack, in particular for people with known heart disease. However, MedlinePlus reports it is not known whether this can be beneficial for people who have already suffered a heart attack. Always speak with a qualified medical practitioner before using garlic to prevent a heart attack or treat heart disease.
Because garlic has antibacterial properties, it has been recommended as a treatment for gastric ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, several studies have found that garlic pills have no noticeable effect of gastric ulcers. Do not use garlic pills to treat an ulcer without first consulting with a doctor about potentials risks and benefits.