Secret weapon against hypertension could prove smelly

Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:43am EST
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Have high blood pressure? Australian scientists may have a new solution -- but it won't win you a lot of friends.

The secret weapon is garlic, according to a study published in the scientific journal Maturitas.

In a 12-week trial involving 50 patients, Karen Reid and a team of colleagues at the University of Adelaide discovered that those who took four capsules a day of a supplement called aged garlic extract had blood pressure around 10mmHg lower than a group given a placebo.

Reid said that garlic taken in any other way, whether raw, fresh or in powdered form, doesn't have the same effect.

"When you cook fresh garlic the ingredient which is responsible for reducing blood pressure disappears," she said.

"I think the really important point to make is that aged garlic extract as a supplement is the secret weapon for blood pressure."

Garlic has long been thought to be good for the heart, and traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine practioners have been promoting the benefits of garlic as a preventative of high blood pressure for centuries.

"Garlic has been used as a treatment to lower blood pressure in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years," said Sundari Ganesh, a practioner of Ayurvedic medicine, told Reuters by phone.   Continued...

<p>A vendor removes the skin of garlic at a vegetable wholesale market in Beijing May 10, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>