Garlic (Allium sativum) is a herb that has been traditionally used as a medicine. The medicinal properties of garlic relate to the complex phytochemistry it contains. This chemistry includes compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the consumer, and this may confer protection from certain diseases. Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are caused by stress, and this stress triggers inflammation in the brain. The result of this inflammation is the generation of free radicals and oxidative stress in the delicate tissues of the brain. The mood elevating effects of garlic have been tested in animals models of anxiety and depression. In one study, garlic was shown to have significant antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in rats. The authors of the study suggested that the mood elevating effects of garlic were likely due to the reduction in oxidative stress that was observed in the rats consuming garlic. Consuming garlic as part of a healthy diet may therefore be protective of mental health.
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