Recent studies have cast doubt on the proposed lipid-lowering and blood pressure-lowering effects of garlic. We tested the effect of dried garlic (Allium sativum) powder on blood lipids, blood pressure and arterial stiffness in a 12-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Seventy-five healthy, normo-lipidaemic volunteers (men and women aged 40–60 years) were assigned to dried garlic powder tablets (10·8 mg alliin (3-(2-propenylsulfinyl)-l-alanine)/d, corresponding to about three garlic cloves) or placebo. Sixty-two subjects were eligible for the per-protocol analysis. The primary outcome measure was serum total cholesterol concentration. Secondary outcome measures were LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations, blood pressure and arterial stiffness (assessed by pulse wave velocity). No significant differences between the garlic and placebo groups were detected for any of the outcome measures. However, garlic powder was associated with a near-significant decrease (12 %) in triacylglycerol concentration (P=0·07). In conclusion, garlic powder tablets have no clinically relevant lipid-lowering and blood pressure-lowering effects in middle-aged, normo-lipidaemic individuals. The putative anti-atherosclerotic effect of garlic may be linked to risk markers other than blood lipids.