Garlic pills are meant to be an easy and odor-free way of getting the health benefits of eating fresh garlic, but according to WebMD, they do not retain much, if any, of the beneficial compound in garlic called allicin that is responsible for fresh garlic's many health benefits. Dr. Andrew Weil agrees that garlic pills do not retain much of what makes fresh garlic healthy to eat.
Allicin breaks down rapidly into a different chemical, as stated on WebMD, which is why garlic pills are not effective. But fresh garlic is as easy to take as a pill if it is chopped into small, pill-sized pieces, notes Dr. Weil. Fresh garlic is most effective when it is crushed or chopped and exposed for several minutes to the air for the allicin to form, and then eaten raw.
Garlic has been used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, hardening of the arteries, bacterial and fungal infections of the skin, hemorrhoids, gout and low and high blood sugar levels. It has also been used to prevent colon, rectal, stomach, breast, prostate, bladder and lung cancer, according to WebMD, although not all of these uses have been scientifically studied.