Did you know that if you have hypertension and eat garlic or perhaps take garlic pills, your blood pressure could be slightly reduced? Doctors at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT reviewed several studies with garlic done in the last few years and concluded that the use of this herb, on average, can help systolic blood pressure drop by 16 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 9 mmHg.1 The use of garlic apparently did not reduce blood pressure in those with normal blood pressure.
A review by another team of researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found garlic reduced systolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg on average, and diastolic blood pressure by 7 mmHg.2 Although the actual mg of pressure reduction is still not clear, it does appear that garlic consumption is of benefit to those with blood pressure problems.
The amount of garlic used in the studies was about a gram, providing about 5 mg of allicin, one of the active ingredients in this herb. Sulfides present in garlic are converted by red blood cells into hydrogen sulfide which helps to dilate blood vessels. If you have hypertension, you may consider eating more garlic or taking a garlic supplement. An average garlic clove weighs about 3 to 5 grams.
Those who are already on blood pressure medications are not likely to have significant side effects when adding fresh garlic to their diet. However, do discuss with your doctor that you are planning to take garlic and initially use only a small clove once a day.
Over time you can gradually increase the amount of garlic you use while you monitor your blood pressure. Hopefully, it may be possible to reduce the dosage of BP medications if the garlic helps reduce BP by a few points. Those concerned about garlic breath may consider taking odorless garlic pills.
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