Garlic is one of the most popular and powerful vegetables present in probably any kitchen in the world. Numerous studies have confirmed garlic’s beneficial effects on our health, which is why it’s often a part of natural remedies.

In general, garlic is used against high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure as well, but it can improve your health on so many other levels as well.

The health benefits of garlic are mostly due to the presence of a rare compound known as allicin, which can also be found in onions. Allicin is especially great for your blood vessels – it will keep them flexible and clean and prevent the accumulation of plaque, which is often the main reason for heart attack or stroke.

Garlic is best used fresh, as cooking destroys most of the allicin inside. Just chop or crush a few garlic cloves, leave them for 15 minutes so the allicin activates, then consume the garlic or add it fresh in your meals.

You can find garlic in powder or tablet form, although these forms are not as effective as the fresh version.

Researchers of a study published in 2013 in Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences divided individuals diagnosed with hypertension into groups, each with a different dosage of garlic — 300, 600, 900, 1200 or 1500 milligrams of garlic per day — or a placebo or blood pressure medication.

They found that all the garlic dosages decreased blood pressure comparatively as much as the blood pressure medicine did, and that there was a greater reduction in blood pressure with the higher doses of garlic and with a longer duration of treatment. In the review in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, the authors found that most of the studies that showed garlic’s blood pressure-lowering effect used a dosage of 600 to 900 milligrams of garlic per day.

You may be able to lower your blood pressure by consuming 1/3 to 1 1/2 grams of fresh raw or dried garlic daily. Since most garlic cloves are about 3 grams, this is equivalent to 1/10 to 1/2 a garlic clove daily.

Your blood pressure may be lowered more if you eat more. Speak with your doctor and dietitian about making changes to your diet as consuming garlic in excess may be detrimental, especially if you are on certain medications.