Garlic is an herb. It is best known as a flavoring for food. But over the years, garlic has been used as a medicine to prevent or treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. The fresh clove or supplements made from the clove are used for medicine.
While garlic is a common flavoring in food, some scientists have suggested that it might have a role as a food additive to prevent food poisoning. There is some evidence that fresh garlic, but not aged garlic, can kill certain bacteria such as E. coli, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella enteritidis in the laboratory. Various garlic health benefits have long been claimed and the "stinking rose" treatment has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) down the centuries. Many of the claims are best unproven, however there are some very positive garlic health facts that are now widely accepted. Amongst the most interesting potential applications are suggestions that garlic might be able to assist some people in the management of blood pressure cholesterol levels.
Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant "superbugs".
Some studies have also shown that garlic - especially aged garlic - can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants can help to protect the body against damaging free radicals. There are claims that fermented black garlic contains even higher antioxidant levels than normal cloves.
People who want the claimed health benefits without the taste might prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding the side effect of garlic breath.