In this article, I’ll be exploring the use of garlic for health. Nicknamed the ‘stinking rose’, this auspicious herb has been revered throughout history as a cure and natural treatment for all manner of conditions. These include mosquito bites, wounds, heart disease, measles, tumors, snake bites, acne, colds, flu and even vampires!
Garlic’s health benefits are substantiated by a wealth of modern day research that confirms its anti-viral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also a powerful antioxidant and immune booster with anti-inflammation properties. Scientific studies reveal benefits for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. It’s heart health traits include lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure, aiding circulation and preventing against stroke.
Garlic’s might is largely due to the sulfur compounds it contains, such as allicin. Garlic also houses vitamin C, B6, selenium, magnesium, potassium, calcium and manganese and flavonoids.
The sulfur compound allicin provides not only many of the notable benefits of garlic, but also its notorious odor. Allicin is formed during the chemistry of chopping, crushing and chewing garlic, the more thorough the milling, the more allicin is created. Allicin has antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties, and the reason why garlic has been used for skin infections such as Athletes’ foot, herpes and warts, digestive and lung infections such as diarrhea, coughs, and colds, and Candida yeast and other microbes.
Allicin begins to degrade once produced and on cooking, so eating garlic raw and soon after chopping ensures the assimilation of optimum levels of this compound.
Garlic also contains diallyl sulfides, which, whilst not anti-fungal like allicin, is reportedly good for the blood and circulation, lowering bad cholesterol and boosting the immune system.
Rats that were put on a diet featuring both allicin and diallyl sulfides had a substantial increase in their levels of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione-S-transferase. This mighty enzyme produced within the body is incredibly important in helping to rid the body of toxins, drugs, and carcinogens. Increasing levels of this and another phase II enzymes may be one-way garlic helps to prevent against cancer, enhancing the elimination of potential carcinogens from the body. This also makes garlic great for a natural body detox.
Garlic as Anti-Inflammatory
The sulfur compounds in garlic have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the activity of inflammatory enzymes. Along with vitamin C, this can make garlic a protection against the pain associated with arthritis and asthma attacks.
Garlic for the Heart
garlic is renowned for its abilities to lower cholesterol and blood pressure naturally and protect against heart disease and stroke. Garlic has also been found to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in blood vessels aiding their dilation and assist the body’s ability to dissolve blood clots (fibrinolysis).
The antioxidant properties of garlic can also protect against cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the oxidation of bad cholesterol which would otherwise build up in artery walls. Further, folate in garlic is known to protect the cardiovascular system.
Garlic for Cancer Prevention
Population studies have revealed that eating garlic regularly, along with other alliums such as onions chives and scallions, reduces the risk of esophageal, colon and stomach cancer. This may be due to garlic’s ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds. Garlic’s sulfur compounds such as allicin and ajoene have been found to stop the growth of various cancers in animal laboratory studies, including skin, stomach, colon, breast and oral cancer. Garlic also contains the powerful antioxidant mineral selenium, known for its anti-cancer properties.
Garlic for Diabetes
Some of the damage that can result from the degenerative effects of diabetes such as diseases of the kidney, retina and nervous system, may be deterred by garlic. Rats that were given a drug that would induce similar diabetic-effects in the body, namely an increase in blood sugar, cholesterol and damaged fats and a reduction in the body’s antioxidants, experienced fewer negative effects from the drug and an increase in antioxidant levels when given a daily dose of garlic oil.
Research then has indicated garlic health benefits against bacteria, fungi and viruses, inflammation (as with arthritis), cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
Garlic – Natural Cure for Common Ailments
Garlic is an all round disease-preventive, and can be used as a natural treatment cure for common ailments such as acne, colds, and flu, herpes, and wrinkles due to its natural antioxidant and antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Crush a clove or two of garlic into warm water and drink twice a day though be careful on an empty stomach if you are sensitive to garlic. This also serves as a natural body detox. If your skin is not overly sensitive to garlic it can also be applied directly to acne spots or herpes. I find it very effective as a cure for oral herpes (cold sores). If you have high cholesterol level, use garlic regularly in your food as this will lower your cholesterol level naturally.(obviously along with avoiding a high cholesterol diet).
• Garlic boosts your immune system.
• Garlic is anti-aging, its antioxidant power neutralizing free radicals that procure aging and disease.
• Garlic helps reduce plaque build up (atherosclerotic heart disease).
• Garlic thins the blood and helps to prevent blood clots (fibrinolysis) hence reducing the risk of strokes.
• Garlic helps to prevent cancer, particularly of the digestive system and reduces the size and arrests the growth of certain tumors.
• Garlic lowers and regulates blood sugar levels.
• Garlic helps to remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury from the body – natural body detoxification.
• Garlic is anti-inflammatory.
• Garlic (raw, containing allicin) is a natural antibiotic and can kill even drug resistant strains of bacteria such as MRSA as well as Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium known to cause stomach ulcers and implicated in stomach cancer.
• Garlic is anti-fungal and reduces yeast infections in body parts.