A new study suggests that aged garlic extract may be a safe and effective means of reducing hypertension. Lousy to cook with, yet apparently great for the human body, aged garlic extract is produced from, as you might expect, old garlic. During the 20-month aging process, harsh and irritating garlic compounds mellow significantly, as does aroma. The preparation process is based on traditional uses of the plant. Modern research, however, shows garlic's potential, particularly for those with cardiac concerns.
“Our trial suggests that aged garlic extract is an effective and tolerable treatment for uncontrolled hypertension and may be a safe adjunct treatment to conventional anti-hypertensive treatment,” says Karin Ried, PhD, lead author of the study, which appears in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers at the University of Adelaide and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia conducted the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel trial.
Researchers studied 79 patients with uncontrolled systolic hypertension. The mean systolic blood pressure was “signiﬁcantly reduced” for the study participants who took 480 mg of aged garlic extract over 12 weeks. The researchers wrote that “the observed reduction in systolic blood pressure is comparable to that achieved with commonly prescribed antihypertensive medicines, and is of clinical significance, whereby a reduction of about 10mmHg in systolic blood pressure is associated with a risk reduction in cardiovascular disease by 16-40 percent.” An interview with Ried, who is Research Director of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, can be found in this Health Quest podcast.
The news is only the latest in supporting evidence for lovers of the stinking rose. People have clung to the power of the plant since long before pouty vampires became the objects of tween obsession. Roman soldiers chomped the stuff for courage. Field docs used garlic juice to dress wounds in WWII.