13 Surprising Garlic Benefits That Will Improve Your Life

Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

Try garlic for these unexpected health benefits, who-knew beauty uses, and hidden home repairs.

woman holding her long hair
iStock/Manuel Faba Ortega

Grow beautiful hair with garlic

Garlic could end your hair loss problems because of its high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound similar to that found in onions, which were found to effectively treat hair loss, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. (These are the 7 reasons your hair might be falling out.) Rub sliced cloves of garlic on your scalp, squeezing as you go for the most benefit. You can also infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp. In addition to preventing hair loss, using garlic like this also acts as one of the most effective dandruff remedies out there.

woman examining her face in mirror

Garlic clears acne

It might not be a main ingredient in your drugstore acne medication, but garlic may help banish unsightly blemishes. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so try rubbing a sliced clove of garlic on the pimple. Garlic has been shown to potentially help with other skin issues, such as psoriasis and fungal infections. Don’t miss these 13 surprising home remedies for acne.

woman blowing her nose

Garlic prevents and treats colds

Packed with antioxidants, a daily dose of garlic in your recipes could benefit your immune system, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Immunology Research. (These are the things doctors and nurses to do stop a cold in its tracks.)

woman in towel touching her knees

Soothe psoriasis with garlic

One of the most surprising garlic benefits is that it can improve your skin. Since garlic has proven anti-inflammatory properties, it could be useful in relieving uncomfortable psoriasis outbreaks. Try rubbing a little garlic oil on the affected area for smooth, rash-free skin. These are 10 home remedies for eczema and psoriasis.

Control your weight with garlic

Garlic could help you control your weight, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition that showed mice eating a garlic-rich diet reduced their weight and fat stores. (If you don’t like garlic, explore more ways to lose weight without a lick of exercise.) To take advantage of this benefit, try to cook with garlic daily.

foot soaking in tub
iStock/Flemming Hansen

Treat athlete’s foot with garlic

With its anti-fungal properties, some research suggests that garlic may help relieve itchy athlete’s foot. Soak your feet in a bath of warm water and crushed garlic. Don’t have any garlic? Try these other home remedies for athlete’s foot.

mosquito sitting on green leaf

Keep away mosquitoes with garlic

Scientists aren’t sure why, but mosquitoes don’t seem to like garlic. Research shows people who rubbed a garlicky concoction on their arms and legs weren’t bothered by the pesky buggers, according to an article from Colorado State University. On the other hand, here’s why certain people attract mosquitoes. Make a solution of garlic oil, petroleum jelly, and beeswax for a natural repellant or place cloves of garlic nearby.

woman's perfect teeth

Garlic conquers cold sores

Garlic benefits the entire body, including the mouth. A popular cold sore home remedy involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore; its natural anti-viral properties could help reduce pain and swelling, according to a 2014 study in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine.

cracked but not yet broken glass window

Garlic works as a natural glue

Garlic benefits your body as well as your life. Have you ever noticed how sticky your fingers get after chopping garlic? That natural adhesive quality is why some people use garlic to fix hairline cracks in glass. Crush some cloves and rub the juice on the crack, wiping away any excess.

snow shovel leaning against garage door

De-ice your sidewalk with garlic

A town in Iowa used donated garlic salt to remove ice from roadways. Next time you stumble on old garlic salt in the back of your spice cabinet, save it for an icy walkway.

man gardening

Protect plants with garlic

Garden pests don’t like garlic, so make a natural pesticide using garlic essential oil, mineral oil, water, and liquid soap. Pour into a spray bottle and mist your plants to keep away destructive critters.

older man and boy fishing off a dock

Catch more fish with garlic

Garlic benefits your fishing expeditions, too. Fish are so attracted to the scent of garlic that you can buy bait with the smell built in. Or, get this benefit by making your own using food scraps and, of course, plenty of cloves.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest