Because of its rather potent scent, using garlic as a therapeutic remedy may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
However, garlic essential oils health properties have been utilised for thousands of years in traditional medicines, with Chinese, Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Indian communities placing their faith in its healing abilities.
For many in the Western world, garlic is more closely associated with food recipes, crushing and slicing the cloves to add more flavour.
In this article, we detail all the benefits of garlic oil to help you understand how it could improve your wellness, many of which are supported by scientific research.
What is garlic oil?
Garlic essential oil is extracted from the garlic plant (Allium Sativum) via steam distillation, producing a strong, yellow-coloured oil.
The garlic plant is part of the onion family and native to South Asia, Central Asia and northeastern Iran, and it has been used around the world as a key ingredient in alternative medicines for centuries.
Whilst garlic is perhaps more closely associated with the culinary industry and is often used as a base ingredient for countless dishes, it holds a special place in aromatherapy, with many using it to treat a wide variety of conditions.
How does garlic oil work?
Garlic oil is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Its most well-known component is allicin, although due to its unstable nature, it disappears after a garlic clove has been cut or crushed.
A major bioactive compound found in garlic is diallyl disulfide, which is believed to offer antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, neuroprotective, antioxidant and anticancer properties.
Once the digestive tract breaks down garlic it releases sulphur compounds that travel throughout the body, providing effective biological effects.
Benefits of garlic oil
The benefits of garlic essential oil give it the potential to:
1. Manage tooth pain
Garlic’s tooth-soothing abilities are well documented, with many dentists recommending it to patients as an alternative to painkillers.
This is due to the allicin compound’s antimicrobial properties that possess the ability to eliminate some of the bacteria responsible for causing tooth pain and decay.
The compound also plays a role in controlling inflammation that may be associated with tooth pain.
Applying a small amount of diluted garlic essential oil to a cotton ball and holding it against an affected can offer some pain relief.
However, it should be noted that using garlic oil and any other essential oil is not enough to cure serious oral health conditions.
If the issue does not improve, you should get in contact with a local dentist as soon as possible.
2. Boost cholesterol and heart health
Garlic oil’s ability to remove excess deposits of salts, fat, water and other toxic substances can help to reduce blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels and the creation of arterial plaque.
Two studies used a combination of ethyl acetate extract and an oil extract, with researchers finding that it helped to inhibit the formation of blood clots in health subjects and those with cardiovascular diseases.
The diallyl disulphide compound could also create anti-atherosclerotic effects, which helps to oxidise cholesterol and increase protection against coronary heart conditions.
3. Improve skin condition
The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties found in garlic oil allow it to attack harmful bacteria and reduce the appearance of redness of the skin.
According to a 2014 study, garlic also has strong antifungal properties.
This enables the oil to be an effective treatment for conditions like athlete’s foot and candida, whilst also preventing the overall growth of dermatophytes.
Dermatophytes are fungi that use keratin to grow and are usually found on the skin.
Garlic oil uses its health properties to combat these fungi, which can improve the overall health of your skin.
4. Promote hair health
It is also believed that garlic oil benefits hair, due to the presence of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and sulphur.
These components may prove helpful in the prevention of scalp-related diseases and also help to keep hair healthy.
This may explain why garlic oil has long been used in traditional medicines, with many believing its antibacterial and antifungal properties offer the ability to treat dandruff and inhibit itching.
Applying garlic oil to the scalp can also help blood circulation, which supports the growth of hair follicles and hair growth overall.
5. Treat cold symptoms
One of the most common uses of garlic oil is in homemade cold remedies, which can boost the immune system thanks to the natural composition of the allicin compound.
Researchers believe that when cold and flu viruses are encountered in the body, the presence of allicin can have a positive effect on white blood cells.
Combined with the ajoene and allitridin compounds, allicin is able to eliminate infections, whilst helping to improve some symptoms.
Frequent exposure to garlic could allow people to reduce the likelihood of falling sick in the first place, although the short-term effects of this remain unknown.
6. Prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Garlic essential oil contains antioxidants that can give your body some protection against free radicals.
This is important, as free radicals are responsible for oxidative damage that is caused by the ageing process and related cognitive decline.
Studies have been published that suggest these antioxidants could play a key role in reducing oxidative stress, which may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
An animal study conducted in 2022 found that the allicin compound could offer some protection against cognitive decline.
However, more research is needed in this area to help scientists gain a better understanding of garlic’s potential.
7. Enhance athletic performance
Olympic athletes in Greece reportedly consumed garlic to boost their performance levels, whilst in other ancient civilisations, it was believed it could also reduce fatigue.
Researchers have found some truth to this claim, with a 2019 study showing the garlic aids exercise performance.
Whilst there have not been many human studies to investigate this, there have been some interesting outcomes in those that have been published.
For example, a 2015 study stated oxygen capacity could be increased by garlic supplements, although more research is needed to establish a stronger link.
More recently, a study published in 2023 suggested that whilst garlic was not able to boost cyclist’s performance in a 40-km time trial, oxidative stress and muscle damage may be reduced.
8. Detoxify heavy metals in the body
Heavy metals like copper, iron and zinc are naturally found in the earth and are also present in our bodies, helping it to function properly.
However, if your body’s soft tissues absorb too much of a particular metal, it can lead to heavy metal poisoning.
The likes of cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic are the most common types of metal that can be absorbed in toxic amounts.
Garlic could help people who are overexposed to certain types of heavy metal, as demonstrated in a 2012 study involving employees at a car battery plant (which involved a lot of exposure to lead).
Researchers learned that garlic reduced lead levels by 19%, whilst also reducing associated signs of toxicity, including high blood pressure and headaches.
9. Improve bone health
In 2017, the results of a clinical trial involving post-menopausal women were published. The process required the participants to take garlic tablets that were the equivalent of about 2 grams of fresh garlic per day.
Once the trial was completed, researchers collected the data and found that oxidative stress responsible for causing osteoporosis was reduced.
In another study that focussed on women with knee osteoarthritis, researchers found that taking about 1 gram of garlic supplements per day for 12 weeks helped to reduce pain and some weight issues.
10. Regulate blood sugar levels
Both animal and human studies have been conducted to learn about how garlic oil benefits the body, and in particular, blood sugar levels.
For example, in 2007, a study of diabetic rats showed complications associated with conditions, such as nephropathy (kidney function deterioration) and atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries, could be improved.
For seven weeks, the rats were given a daily extract of raw garlic, which helped to reduce blood sugar (by 57%), triglyceride (35%) and cholesterol levels (40%).
In another study, a group of patients with type II diabetes were asked to consume garlic for a fixed period. Compared to a placebo, this helped to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and slightly raised their HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
How to use garlic oil
Garlic oil uses vary, from helping to ease the symptoms of a cold to improving the condition of your skin. To explore the health benefits of garlic oil, you could try it:
As a massage oil
We have referenced a few scientific studies that have found garlic oil could help to reduce cholesterol levels.
Once diluted, warm in the palm of your hands and gently apply across your body on a regular basis.
As a hair care treatment
To see how garlic oil benefits the hair and scalp, you can add a few drops to your shampoo or condition and apply as normal.
It is believed it can tackle signs of dandruff, whilst also supporting hair growth and thickness.
Alternatively, you can make your own hair mask by diluting garlic essential oil with a carrier oil, along with a thick bast like honey or oats, before applying it to your hair and washing it out after 20-25 minutes.
History of garlic oil
There is still some debate amongst historians as to whether it was the Sumerians or the Chinese who first introduced garlic into their medical remedies, with recorded uses dating as far back as 2700 BCE.
Either way, the civilisations of ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome also incorporated the plant into their treatments.
Some believe garlic was also grown in the gardens of Babylon.
In ancient Egypt, garlic was used to treat a host of ailments, including parasites, insect infestations, abnormal growths and circulatory issues.
Garlic’s potency is legendary (which perhaps explains its inclusion as a vampire-killing tool in fictional stories), and it continues to be used as a natural medicine today, whilst, of course, adding depth and flavour to a wide variety of food recipes.
Garlic oil FAQs
Can garlic essential oil improve digestive issues?
Many people use garlic essential oil to ease conditions such as nausea, gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
This is due to the potent compounds that can help to produce good gut bacteria that have a positive effect on the digestive tract.
Who should not use garlic essential oil?
If you have an allergy to garlic, you should avoid using garlic essential oil, as it could trigger a reaction.
People waiting for surgery or anyone who takes blood thinners should speak with their doctor before using the oil.
This is because garlic can work as a blood thinner, which can increase the risk of excess bleeding during or after surgery.
Can you consume garlic essential oil?
You should avoid consuming garlic essential oil, as its high concentration levels can be too toxic for the body.
There are some ‘food grade’ garlic essential oils that are safe to consume, but you should always check the label before you make a purchase.
All essential oils sold by Nikura are not food grade and are not suitable for consumption.
|100% Pure Garlic Essential Oil|
|Botanical Name||Allium Sativum|
|Benefits & Uses||Skin, Hair Care, Immune-Boosting|
|Suitable for Diffusers?||Yes, this garlic essential oil is perfect for diffusers.|
|Suitable for Candles and Soaps?||Yes, this garlic essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.|
|Extraction Method||Steam Distillation|
|Bottle Type||Tamper proof and UV resistant|