According to a recent study, garlic may be one of nature’s best defences against bacterial pneumonia. Researchers at the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute studied the effects of a garlic extract on strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. The test results showed garlic extract to be highly potent. The garlic was able to completely inhibit the action of the bacteria — from the most sensitive strain to the most resilient.
Garlic’s antibacterial properties have been long known and are attributed to its rich sulphur content. It is also known to be helpful against heart disease, high cholesterol, bronchitis and oxidative damage.
The antioxidant potential of garlic was the subject of another recent study by UK researchers at John Moores University. Smokers and nonsmokers were measured for markers of oxidation (free radical damage to cells) before, during and after being given an aged garlic supplement for 14 days. Using both blood and urine samples, the researchers found that the garlic supplement reduced a marker of oxidation by 29% (in blood) and 37% (in urine) for nonsmokers, and by 35% (in blood) and 48% (in urine) for smokers.
After the study was concluded and supplementation stopped, the participants returned for one final batch of blood and urine samples. Researchers found that markers in both groups had returned to the original levels before testing began. This final result led researchers to conclude that aged garlic extract may be useful in reducing oxidative damage in people.
Sources: Ethiop Med J 2002 Jul;40(3):241-9; 2. J Nutr 2002 Feb;132(2):168-71