Health Benefits of Garlic
by Webmaster, All4NaturalHealth.com
I have for some time more or less known about the amazing nutritional, healing and health benefits of garlic. But it is only when I read up a little more that I discovered its extensive use for many types of ailments.
Garlic is a simple food, a culinary herb and a medicinal herb all at the same time. It is truly one of the most powerful health-promoting plants in existence.
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A note about the Health Benefits of Garlic
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.
For thousands of years, the health benefits of garlic, for medicinal, healing and strength-boosting purposes, have been known and well documented. Legend even has it that garlic can ward off vampires.
Many ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, used garlic to prevent illnesses and to increase strength. It was said that garlic gave strength to the Egyptian pyramid builders and courage to the Roman legions.
Hippocrates, widely regarded as the father of modern medicine, used garlic to treat cancerous tumors.
During the period when Europe was hit by plagues, people consumed garlic on a daily basis as protection against the deadly disease.
During the world wars, when out of supply of sulfur drugs, the British used garlic to treat wounds, to good effect. As it is a strong antiseptic, garlic was also used during the wars to cure many other diseases - its antiseptic properties were verified by Louis Pasteur in 1858.
Other health benefits of garlic include its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties. There is in fact a very long history of its use for these purposes.
A member of the lily or Allium family and known botanically as 'Allium sativum', garlic is a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It is also a good source of protein and vitamin B1 (thiamine), and it contains vitamin A and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
Sometimes termed the 'stinking rose', garlic is a good source of selenium and contains other minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, phosphorous and potassium.
Garlic is rich in many powerful sulfur-containing compounds - there are said to be over 80 different sulfur compounds in garlic. A particular type of such compounds is thiosulfinates, of which allicin is perhaps the most studied.
Garlic is a food high in antioxidants, which act as free radical scavengers in our bodies. In general, the compounds responsible for its pungent smell and taste are also the source of the many healthful garlic benefits.
On top of the reputed ancient health uses of garlic, this humble food is more recently also used for a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
As mentioned earlier, garlic has strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic properties. Thus, many a time, garlic cures, or at least helps with, many conditions which are caused by bacteria, funguses, viruses and parasites.
Yes, garlic kills unwelcome microorganisms in our bodies. It has thus been a popular remedy for the common cold, sore throats and coughs. In this regard, garlic can be taken raw or as a syrup. Garlic syrup is made by boiling cloves of garlic in water for half a day.
Garlic is also a remedy for respiratory infections and ailments, where it serves as an expectorant.
Further, garlic helps to regulate the overgrowth of candida albicans in the body.
On contact, garlic destroys the viral infections of chicken pox, measles, mumps, rabies, scarlet fever, etc.
In addition, garlic has proven helpful for the following serious conditions:
Garlic boosts the immune system
Garlic has been shown in studies to stimulate the immune system, boosting the production of interferon as well as enhancing the action of white blood cells in the body.
Garlic anti cancer effects are well known. Epidemiological studies have shown that populations which consume more garlic have lower incidences of cancer. Other such studies have also shown an inverse correlation between garlic consumption and colon-rectal and stomach cancers.
In laboratory studies, garlic has been shown to help the body's white blood cells defend against as well as kill cancerous cells.
The connection between garlic and blood pressure is also well known. Garlic and garlic supplements have been proven helpful for controlling hypertension / lowering high blood pressure.
Garlic and cholesterol is another connection which is well proven. It deals with high cholesterol problems by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the 'bad' cholesterol) and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the 'good' cholesterol). It also lowers triglyceride levels.
In epidemiological studies, countries with higher garlic consumption have been shown to have lower incidences of heart disease. Garlic can even treat this condition by helping to clear the saturated fats and cholesterol which are clogging up the arteries. Since ancient times, garlic has also been known as a heart strengthener.
As a blood thinner, garlic can help lower the risk of heart attacks.
Garlic has proven antispasmodic properties. This could be the reason why it has been useful for treating digestive conditions such as gas pains and intestinal disorders.
In addition, garlic has been prescribed for rheumatism and as a diuretic. It has apparently also been used to treat snakebites.
When used internally to deal with harmful microorganisms like bacteria, funguses and parasites, garlic has several advantages over prescription drugs.
First and foremost, being a natural food, garlic offers few or no side effects. It is also relatively cheap and can be easily incorporated into meals via numerous cooking recipes.
Drugs are also often only useful against specific or limited types of harmful microorganisms, for example a certain drug may only work on a particular species of parasites, or another drug may only work on a few strains of bacteria. Garlic, on the other hand, has powerful effects against a wide range of these organisms.
Another great advantage garlic has over drugs is that it only selectively destroys harmful microorganisms in the body, leaving the good and friendly bacteria untouched, and even allowing them to thrive. This is extremely important because prescribed drug antibiotics often wipe out the good bacteria in a person's body, leaving him or her susceptible to problems such as digestive ailments, infections, candida yeast overgrowth, etc.
One more problem with using drug antibiotics is that bacteria and viruses very often mutate into very strong and drug-resistant strains. What happens then is that subsequent administration of stronger versions of drug antibiotics no longer work, and the person becomes sicker. This does not seem to happen with garlic, one of Nature's powerful medicines.
Garlic supplements are actually used in some European and Asian countries as a drug to treat some ailments, in particular high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
You could chop raw garlic up into fine pieces and mix it with your food. Or you could do what I do - eat entire cloves of raw garlic with your food. A warning, though - it's hot and intense, and takes some getting used to.
If cooking with garlic, such as with pasta, in a sauce, curry or soup, add more garlic - bulbs of it. Cooking destroys a lot of garlic's health-boosting properties, so you would need more of it.
One possible way to cook with garlic is to first chop it into small pieces while it is still raw, and then to let it sit for about 10 minutes before using it for cooking. This allows some chemical reactions to take place for the formation of some beneficial compounds.
One way to enjoy the benefits of garlic is to juice it. It's difficult to drink on its own so I usually mix garlic juice with other more palatable juices. Another warning here - garlic juice can leave its strong smell on your juicer!
Yet another warning here - when eating raw garlic or drinking garlic juice, beware of garlic breath - it can scare all people away! One way I try to beat this is to consume my doses of raw garlic when I have dinner at home and I will not be heading out of the house anymore for that day.
Oh yes, if possible, use organic garlic. Organic garlic has more nutrients and health-promoting compounds than their non-organic counterparts. Not to mention, they would have less of harmful chemicals such as pesticides.
Garlic pills and garlic tablets containing garlic extract - these are forms of garlic supplements which many people use to obtain the many health benefits of garlic.
Some studies have shown garlic supplements to help with health conditions. Personally, though, I prefer the natural food version. In my opinion, the best way to reap the maximum health benefits of garlic is to eat it fresh and raw. Intense!
Is garlic my favorite healing herb? Perhaps.
Dr Richard Schulze, the famous herbalist and natural healer, says that if there is only one healing program which he could use, it would be garlic. That's how strongly he views garlic as a healing agent.
It's tasty when used with food, too. If you are not already doing so, why not start enjoying the many health benefits of garlic on a regular basis, starting today?
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Share YOUR Knowledge and Experiences on Garlic
Do you have any experiences, knowledge and information on garlic which would be useful to our other readers? These could include its health benefits and medicinal properties; dosages and amounts to take; potential side effects, adverse reactions and contraindications; preparation instructions; reliable and quality sources; background and history; as well as other related topics. We invite you to share your natural health knowledge and experiences on garlic here. If applicable, please discuss the exact brands and dosages which you used.
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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