What’s a clove of garlic?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What’s a clove of garlic?” and will discuss the health benefits of garlic.

What’s a clove of garlic?

Garlic (Allium sativum) differs from the onion (Allium cepa), producing a number of small bulbs called cloves rather than one large bulb. Each bulb contains a dozen or more cloves covered with a thin white skin. Each clove is made of two modified mature leaves around an axis with a vegetative growing point. The outer leaf is a dry sheath, while the base of the inner leaf is thickened, making up the bulk of the clove (1). Clove of garlic is the wedge-shaped parts that reveal themselves when the skin is peeled back. A head of garlic and a clove of garlic are not interchangeable terms. The head is made up of the whole bulb, which has papery skin covering it. Because the cloves are easily separated, you may utilize just a few while preserving the remainder of the head (also known as a bulb or a knob).

Despite their small size, cloves have a big flavor. As a result of this, garlic is often used in tiny quantities as a condiment to enhance the taste of dishes.

How Much is a Clove of garlic?

Depending on the garlic variety, three to six clove layers are common for the formation of a bulb. Total cloves per bulb vary from 12 to 20. Outer cloves are usually flat and wide, while inner cloves are tall, narrow, and concave. Therefore, one clove does not have a precise size or weight (1).

You’ll notice that some cloves are bigger than others when you peel a head of garlic. So what do you do if your recipe asks for three cloves, but you have a jar of pre-minced garlic in your fridge? Because cloves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, there is no exact measurement. The following is a basic guideline: For each garlic clove called for in your recipe, use 1 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic. This means that you should use three teaspoons of the jarred item in place of the three cloves called for in your recipe.

A head with exceptionally big or little cloves could be problematic. Don’t freak out, it’s nothing to worry about. Adding a single clove of garlic to most recipes won’t make a great impact on the taste, so use your best judgment. You may, of course, adjust the number of garlic in a dish to suit your tastes.

What is garlic, and how does it differ from other herbs?

Garlic is a common herb that may be found in many countries. White bulbs of garlic may be discovered (the shape is similar to an onion). We can find written references to garlic from the writings of the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Chinese. The name garlic comes to us from the Welsh word garlleg, which is transformed into the English word garlic (1).

 A “head” or “knob” refers to the complete clove of garlic. White is the color of the clove, which is the individual component of the garlic head. It is equivalent to one teaspoon of chopped garlic or half a teaspoon of minced garlic to have one clove of garlic in a dish. Many meals and drinks utilize garlic as a flavoring element.

If you like, you may use garlic in a variety of ways, from raw to powdered to oil. Raw garlic retains all of its essential elements, making it a better option than cooked garlic. Allicin, an enzyme found in raw garlic, is the primary source of raw garlic’s health benefits. There are several health benefits associated with the compound allicin. Additionally, the odor of garlic is attributed to allicin. Allicin is, however, a very unstable compound, soon rearranged and transformed into numerous lipid-soluble sulfur-containing byproducts, mostly diallyl disulfide but also diallyl sulfide, diallyl trisulfide, allyl methyl trisulfide, and diallyl tetrasulfide. These compounds emit strong odors and have many health promoting properties (2).

Garlic may produce poor breath, a burning feeling in the mouth or stomach, heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor, and diarrhea when consumed orally. However, a clove of garlic may be eaten a day after a meal without causing any harm. Garlic may be swallowed rather than chewed to prevent the foul breath associated with eating raw garlic. Excessive use of garlic in the kitchen may also produce an unpleasant aftertaste. To overcome the strong and irritant odor and the possible side effects of raw garlic and garlic oil, including destruction of gut microflora, an “aging” process has been applied to garlic, by soaking whole or sliced garlic cloves in alcohol or vinegar solution for 6 – 20 months, which removes the several irritant sulfur-containing compounds and also stabilizes some unstable compounds such as allicin (2).

Garlic has several health advantages

The unique flavor and health-promoting functions of garlic are generally attributed to its rich content of sulfur-containing compounds, i.e., alliin, g-glutamylcysteine, and their derivatives. Processing a fresh and intact garlic bulb by crushing, grinding, or cutting induces the release of the vacuolar enzyme alliinase, which very quickly catalyzes alliin to allicin (2).

Garlic’s health advantages include:

Medicinal uses of garlic cloves

Garlic has been utilized for therapeutic purposes since ancient times. Sulfur compounds are generated when a clove of garlic is chopped, crushed, or even swallowed. Colds and an athlete’s foot are just a few of the conditions it’s been used to treat.

Garlic contain a lot of nutrients

There are many vital nutrients and minimal calories in garlic, making it an excellent source of nourishment. Manganese, vitamin C, selenium, and a little quantity of fiber, calcium, copper, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and potassium are all found in one raw garlic clove. In raw garlic, the amounts of zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, and iodine in 100 g fresh weight of garlic are 556.1, 446.9, 143.3, 5.5 and 2.5 mg, respectively (2).

Garlic boost the immune system

Garlic has been discovered to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off common maladies like the flu and other systemic or skin infections, hence lowering their frequency and severity.

Garlic reduces cardiovascular disease risk

Garlic’s active components may lower blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Garlic is reported to prevent cardiovascular disease by multiple effects, one of which is inhibition of platelet aggregation. A single intravenous dose of aqueous extracts of garlic (10e100 mg/kg) dose-dependently inhibited blood thromboxane B2 concentration in rabbits. Allicin and allicin-derived thiosulfinates are recognized as major compounds responsible for the antithrombotic activity of garlic (2).

Garlic lowers blood sugar level

Garlic lowers pre-meal blood sugar levels in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Patients with diabetes who take it for more than three months are more likely to get results. In db/db mice with type 2 diabetes, the consumption of 5% freeze-dried aged black garlic for 7 weeks significantly raised superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase activity and lessened lipid peroxidation in the liver (2).

Garlic have high content of antioxidants

Oxidative stress is a state wherein the balance between radicals generated and the free radical- or oxidant-scavenging capacity of the endogenous antioxidant system is disrupted. Oxidative stress is documented as being involved in the pathogenesis of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disorders and cancer (2). Antioxidants decrease the aging process and safeguard the body by reducing oxidative damage to biological tissue. Garlic’s antioxidants and blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering properties protect the heart and brain. Reduces the chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Garlic improves physical performances

Garlic has been shown to minimize tiredness and increase athletic performance and physical capability, making it an ideal supplement for athletes. Uses for it include improving the physical performance of workers and athletes in Ancient Greece’s Olympics. Garlic extract acts to prevent various types of damage from moderate exercise, to improve lifestyle-related diseases, and to enhance physical strength. These effects are due to the prevention of oxidative stress, and promotion of aerobic glucose metabolism turnover and oxygen supply based on vasorelaxation of the various chemical compounds found in garlic (3).

Other FAQs about Garlic that you may be interested in.

How to preserve garlic in oil?

Can you eat wild garlic bulbs?

Can you eat wild garlic?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “What’s a clove of garlic?” and discussed the health benefits of garlic.


  1. McLaurin, Wayne J., David B. Adams, and Taft Eaker. Garlic production for the gardener. University of Georgia, 2009.
  2. Tsai, Chia-Wen, et al. Garlic: Health benefits and actions. BioMed, 2012, 2, 17-29.
  3. Morihara, Naoaki, et al. Aged garlic extract ameliorates physical fatigue. Biol Pharm Bull, 2006, 29, 962-966.