Aged garlic extract (AGE) is an odorless garlic preparation containing S-allylcysteine (SAC) as its most abundant compound. A large number of studies have demonstrated the antioxidant activity of AGE and SAC in both in vivo--in diverse experimental animal models associated to oxidative stress--and in vitro conditions--using several methods to scavenge reactive oxygen species or to induce oxidative damage. Derived from these experiments, the protective effects of AGE and SAC have been associated with the prevention or amelioration of oxidative stress. In this work, we reviewed different antioxidant mechanisms (scavenging of free radicals and prooxidant species, induction of antioxidant enzymes, activation of Nrf2 factor, inhibition of prooxidant enzymes, and chelating effects) involved in the protective actions of AGE and SAC, thereby emphasizing their potential use as therapeutic agents. In addition, we highlight the ability of SAC to activate Nrf2 factor--a master regulator of the cellular redox state. Here, we include original data showing the ability of SAC to activate Nrf2 factor in cerebral cortex. Therefore, we conclude that the therapeutic properties of these molecules comprise cellular and molecular mechanisms at different levels.