Garlic is more than a cooking herb used to spice food. Research has shown it can provide health benefits, including treating unhealthy teeth, according to The Japan Times.
"Recent research has revealed an unexpected newcomer to the dental healthcare scene that has nothing to do with fluoride or flossing — garlic," according to the report.
Gingivitis gum disease can be treated with daily consumption of aged garlic extract (AGE), scientists at Jerusalem's Hebrew University's Hadassah School of Dental Medicine found, per the report.
Garlic as an herbal medicine goes back 5,000 years and — when aged 20 months in ethanol and extracted to make AGE — can be used to treat liver injuries, cardiovascular diseases, memory impairments, pet care, and gum disease, the Times reported.
"I even have a friend who goes to garlic before dental care," lead researcher Jonathan Mann said, per the Times. ". . . Nevertheless, I couldn't imagine that even this first study would be such a great success."
The study used 151 subjects with moderate gingivitis, splitting them into two groups: AGE recipients and placebos.
"Over four months, those given AGE showed considerable reduction of gingival inflammation and bleeding, while the others' conditions remained unchanged, according to Mann," the Times reported.
AGE has "potent" anti-inflammatory properties, according to Matthew Budoff, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
"One of the benefits we believe the statin [drugs] impart that have the most evidence for reducing cardiovascular death and cardiovascular risk is also a potent anti-inflammatory [benefit]," Budoff said, per the report. "Now we're seeing AGE having a similar effect on inflammation."
AGE also has shown to reduce blood pressure and coronary atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque inside arteries. The Times cited a study published in the Journal of Nutrition three years ago that found AGE can "robustly" lower blood pressure by up to 16 millimeters of mercury, which is roughly the same effect as standard drugs.
According to the Times, additional research led by Karin Ried at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Australia concluded that AGE "significantly reduced" the mean blood pressure of study participants.
The benefits offered by AGE don't stop at humans, either. The report claimed that the life expectancy and blood pressure of dogs can be improved by taking the supplement — even though straight garlic has been proven to be toxic to them.
"As a result, there has been an increased awareness of the concept of healthy life expectancy for pet dogs, as well as humans," Osamu Yamato, a professor at Kagoshima University's laboratory of clinical pathology, said, per the Times. "Our research shows that AGE can contribute to the well-being not just of humans, but dogs as well."
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