Garlic and Cancer - Is Garlic Anti Cancer?
Is garlic anti cancer in nature? There is indeed a clear link between garlic and cancer reduction, as demonstrated by traditional wisdom and numerous studies.
During ancient times, garlic was used for the treatment of uterine cancer. Hippocrates, who is widely regarded as and referred to as the Father of Modern Medicine, was said to have used garlic to treat cancerous tumors.
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A note about Garlic and Cancer - Is Garlic Anti Cancer?
Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.
In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Mans understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.
More recently, many studies, both epidemiological and laboratory in nature, clearly show the anti cancer effects of this wonderful plant called garlic.
In the 1960s, a study was conducted whereby advanced cancer sufferers were intravenously given 0.2 to 2ml (or 1 to 5ml intramuscularly) of garlic juice for a period of 3 to 7 days. Of the 35 persons tested, 26 experienced positive results of varying extent. Although there was said to be no complete recovery, the link between garlic and cancer in that study was promising.
We must also note that the period of treatment was only up to a week, and I'm sure better results and a clearer link between garlic and cancer would be possible with more sustained treatment.
Other laboratory studies show that garlic helps the body's white blood cells defend against as well as destroy cancer cells.
Dr Richard Schulze, the great natural healer and herbalist, states in one of his books that "garlic has been proven in hospitals and laboratories worldwide to destroy cancer and break up tumors".
The exact specifics of the link between garlic and cancer - how exactly garlic protects against cancer - do not seem to be clear. Or, rather, perhaps I should say that different sources have found different courses of action of garlic's chemical compounds. One possibility is that garlic blocks the formation of substances which cause cancer, or inhibits the growth of tumor cells.
And the anti cancer effects of garlic are most likely down to its constituent compound called allicin, as well as other allicin-derived compounds.
For example, studies conducted in the 1950s displayed that injecting allicin into laboratory rats which had cancer lengthened their survival time to over 6 months, whereas the untreated animals died within 2 months.
However, it is also very likely that other unrelated and yet to be identified and studied compounds may play an important part in fighting cancer. This is because, in studies conducted with commercial aged garlic, rats displayed consistent reductions in their carcinogen-induced tumors. Since aged garlic only has very little allicin and its related compounds, other substances must be responsible. There is clearly a lot more for us to learn about the connection between garlic and cancer.
In addition, researchers in Pennsylvania discovered that diallyl disulphide, a compound which is formed when garlic is crushed or minced, can reduce tumors by 50% when it is injected. Another compound, s-allylcysteine, was found to help prevent cancer-causing agents from attaching themselves to human breast cells.
Other studies showed up more possibilities in the connection between garlic and cancer. Some studies confirmed the presence of allyl sulfur and other compounds in garlic which inhibit the growth and development of cancerous cells. Allyl sulfur is said to make fast-dividing cells more vulnerable to stress, thus affecting and damaging cancerous cells to a much greater extent than healthy cells.
The substance ajoene has also been shown to shrink the tumors of those suffering from skin cancer.
So, has garlic anti cancer properties? The abovementioned laboratory studies, and many more, seem to indicate so.
Numerous epidemiological studies also show the link between consuming garlic and cancer incidence reduction.
As far back as the 1930s, epidemiological studies already showed that there were less incidences of cancer in countries which consumed the most garlic and onions. Some examples include Italy, Egypt, India and China. In all, there are at least 6 countries in which such a link between garlic and cancer has been drawn.
One particular study in China in the 1980s showed that, with the consumption of 20g of fresh garlic daily, as compared to just 1g daily in another province, the incidence of stomach cancer was only 8% in the first group, as compared to the second group.
Another study in China looked at 564 stomach cancer sufferers and 1131 persons who lived in an area with a high rate of the disease. The study found that there was a significant reduction of risk of cancer with garlic consumption - those who ate more than 64g a day had only 40% the rate of cancer occurrence, as compared to those who ate less than 32g a day.
Yet more important evidence in the garlic and cancer investigations surfaced in one important epidemiological study in the US in the 1990s. The Iowa Women's Health Study looked at 41,387 women aged 55 to 69, in particular their consumption of 127 types of foods, and their 5-year colon cancer incidence. Amazingly, garlic was found to be the only food which had a significant association with a reduction in colon cancer risk.
The study found that consuming a mere one or more servings of fresh or powdered garlic a week reduced colon cancer risk by 35%; with specific regard to distal colon cancer, the risk reduction was 50%.
While some other studies have shown the link between cancer prevention and other Allium vegetables, for example onions, the association was not as strong and consistent as for garlic.
There are many more epidemiological studies, including in third world countries, which show the link between eating garlic and cancer prevention. And more of such epidemiological evidence continues to surface up to the present day.
Indirect Link Between Garlic and Cancer Protection
There is probably also an indirect link between garlic and cancer - garlic promotes secretion of gastric juice, prevents putrefaction in the intestines, and restores intestinal flora, all of which improve the immune system and reduce one's susceptibility to cancer.
In addition, garlic is high in vitamin C and the mineral selenium, which are known protectors against and fighters of cancer.
It is also possible that garlic kills nitrate reducing bacteria, thereby reducing the levels of nitrites, which can cause cancer, in the body.
Garlic also directly strengthens the immune system, improves heart health, and boosts strength. In addition, it is an effective broad-based antimicrobial agent.
So, can garlic cure cancer?
No. Nothing cures cancer. But our bodies can heal themselves of cancer, if given the right ingredients, environment and assistance.
I have to emphasize, as I do throughout this website, that cancer is a multi-cause, multi-factorial degenerative disease. For a body to grow a cancerous tumor, it is already in a serious state of toxicity, weakness and degeneration. It is not realistic at all to expect one herb to cure the condition on its own.
Having said that, all the evidence points to garlic being an excellent supporting weapon in the entire cancer-fighting arsenal. In fact, garlic is extremely useful for fighting disease and boosting health overall.
For more information on the health benefits of garlic and the various ways to use the herb, read the other related garlic articles.
Garlic Pages | Summary Article | Health Benefits of Garlic | Information | History and Facts of Garlic | Planting, Harvesting, Storing and Preserving Garlic | Eating Garlic | How to Make Garlic Butter - a simple garlic butter recipe | An Easy Garlic Bread Recipe - Making Homemade Garlic Bread | Consuming the Garlic Plant - various ways to do so | Benefits | An Overview of Health Medicinal Benefits of Garlic | Garlic Health Benefits - Some Research and Studies | Garlic for Acne Treatment | Garlic and Blood Pressure | Garlic and Cancer - Is Garlic Anti Cancer? | Garlic to Lower Cholesterol | Garlic for Heart Health | Medicinal Properties of Garlic against Microbes, Harmful Organisms, Bacteria, Fungi, Parasites and Viruses | Side Effects | Possible Garlic Side Effects, Caution and Contraindications
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