Unfortunately, to get the many benefits of garlic, you have to deal with the aroma, impregnating all body secretions: breath, sweat, belches, winds, urine, and even the milk of breastfeeding women. Some people only eat garlic at night, then enduring the annoying smell in solitude.
Other people trust in apples and parsley. And some other people accept the smell, such as the elegant French cavalry officer who, according to Messegue, had an enviable reputation among the ladies, although he reeked of garlic meters away.
It is not by chance that garlic is native to Central Asia, where people live the longest, and cancer incidence is rare. The ancient Egyptians made garlic a staple food for their slaves who built the pyramids, according to the bas-reliefs found near the Giza sphinx.
Greeks regarded the benefits of garlic as the source of their physical strength, and every athlete was given a raw clove of garlic before each competition in the Olympic Games, perhaps to make them run faster. Dioscorides and Galen thought that garlic was a panacea. However, people who reeked of garlic were not allowed to enter the temples of Greek gods.
In the middle Ages, physicians used a mask impregnated with garlic when attending ill-people, especially those suffering from plagues. Later on, its fame reached the United States, and garlic became appreciated in Mexico, Peru, and other New Spain territories. History ascribes the many benefits of garlic, and most of them have been proven by science. Perhaps garlic is the vegetal remedy with the most scientifically proven properties.
Benefits of Garlic: Preparation and Dosage
You can eat garlic in many ways, including many cooking recipes. We will only mention the most recommended from a therapeutic view.
- Raw. Chew on 1 to 3 cloves of garlic, if at all possible in the morning.
- Garlic extract. Garlic does not cause body odor when taken in capsules or pearl form. However, you must take high doses to get the best medicinal effect. The optimal amount is from 6 to 12 pearls or tablets (600-1200 mg) daily.
- A decoction of garlic cloves. This is where the benefits of garlic water come in. Boil a garlic bulb in a liter of water for five minutes. Consume 3 cups daily. This approach has the inconvenience of losing part of its properties; however, it avoids bad breath.
- Oil and garlic sauce or emulsion. It is perhaps the best way to administer garlic. Mash several garlic cloves in olive oil until a homogenous paste similar to mayonnaise is obtained.
- Enema. Very useful against intestinal parasites. Mix two or three spoonfuls of oil and garlic sauce with one liter of warm water. Another method is introducing a clove of garlic into the anus as if it were a suppository. This method eases anal itching in children and provokes a powerful vermifuge effect.
Garlic is the best friend of the circulatory system. When taken regularly, it provokes a decrease in blood pressure, both the maximum and the minimum. The best way to achieve notable effects, the dose must be high (up to three cloves of garlic, or from six to 12 capsules or pearls daily).
Warnings and Side Effects of Garlic
Consuming garlic in high doses, especially when eating raw or in extracts, is not recommended in the case of bleeding, be it traumatic (wounds, accidents, etc.) or menstrual (excessive menstruation). Due to its blood-thinning action, high doses of garlic may prolong hemorrhages and make coagulation processes more difficult to occur. Continuous use of high amounts of garlic during pregnancy is not recommended.
Garlic Scientific Information
- Synonyms: Clove garlic
- French: Ail
- Spanish: Ajo
- Habitat: Native to Central Asia, it now is farmed worldwide
- Description: This is a vibrant plant of the Liliaceae family, growing from 30 to 80 cm high, with whitish or reddish flowers.
- Parts used: The bulb
Benefits of Garlic: Medicinal Properties and Indications
The entire plant, but especially the bulb, contains alliin (a sulfured glycoside), an enzyme (alliinase), niacin(a B group vitamin), and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C. Alliin does not smell, but by alliinase, which liberates and acts when garlic is mashed, it is transformed first into allicin and then into diallyl disulfide (the genine of the glycoside), which are the essential active principles which give garlic its typical smell.
Alliin and diallyl dysulphur are highly volatile substances, which dissolve quite quickly into liquids and gasses. When carried by blood, they infuse all cells and tissues of the body. Hence, they act on the entire body, though more intensely on the organs through which they are eliminated: Skin, kidneys, bronchi, and lungs.
Here are some benefits of garlic on specific ailments:
Garlic helps to lower high blood pressure when taken in high doses. It helps to reduce both maximum and minimum. Garlic possesses vasodilating effects, and therefore, is recommended for people suffering from hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and heart dysfunctions.
Garlic helps decrease LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood because it makes the intestinal absorption of this cholesterol difficult. There is scientific proof that after a breakfast of buttered toast, the cholesterol level goes up 20%; however, when we rubbed garlic on the bread, the increase in cholesterol did not happen.
This herb also helps to normalize blood sugar. Experts recommend it for people who have type II diabetes. It is an excellent complement to other medicinal therapies with the permission of your physician. Eating garlic at night for weight loss is also beneficial.
Garlic is also a vehement antibiotic and antiseptic. This herb’s anti-infective properties have been researched and proven since the mid-twentieth century. The antibiotic action of garlic is more effective when taken raw. Unlike habitual antibiotics, which depresses defenses against infections, garlic stimulates these defenses. Garlic’s antibiotic activity is best against the following microorganisms:
- Escherichia coli: This microorganism causes urinary infections and intestinal dysbacteriosis.
- Salmonella typhi: This microorganism causes intestinal issues, typhoid, and other salmonella genera.
- Shigella dysenteriae: This microorganism causes bacillus dysentery.
- Staphylococcus and streptococcus: This microorganism causes skin infections and infected skin blemishes, such as furuncles.
- Fungi, yeasts, and viruses such as herpes: The active medicinal properties in garlic interact with the nucleic acids of the viruses mentioned above, limiting their proliferation.
The benefits of garlic inside the intestine are enormous because it only attacks the noxious bacteria, leaving the saprophytic normal flora (good bacteria). Therefore, the uses of garlic therapeutics are far better than antibiotics because of the ability to regulate intestinal flora as oppose to destroying it. The health benefits of garlic are also recognized for the following conditions:
- For all types of colitis, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea
- In intestinal issues caused by spoiled food and salmonellosis
- Antibiotic overuse, which results in an imbalance of good intestinal bacteria
- Fermentative dyspepsia, which is a cause of flatulence (gas) in the colon
- Urinary infections caused by Escherichia coli
- Various bronchial infections (chronic and acute bronchitis) because garlic is an expectorant and antiasthmatic
Garlic also stimulates the body’s defense mechanisms (cells) such as lymphocytes and macrophages. These cells protect us from microorganisms, and they destroy cancerous cells in the initial phases of tumor formation.
Eating raw garlic or taking garlic pills has a fantastic effect on many infectious diseases, boosting our body’s defensive ability and directly destroying various microorganisms. Also, health professionals are using garlic as a complementary treatment of AIDs, with relative success.
Garlic is a powerful vermifuge and is an excellent natural remedy for the destruction of many intestinal parasites. This herb’s power is especially effective against oxyuridae (little white worms associated with anal itching) and ascarides.
Garlic promotes the chemical responses of the body and stimulates the waste elimination process (catabolism). Therefore, health professionals recommend the herb in states of weakness or tiredness, for people with a lack of appetite, and for sufferers with an excess of acid wastes, which leads to (gout, arthritis, and certain rheumatic afflictions).
The many benefits of garlic include detoxification, which is especially helpful in the treatment to stop smoking. It possesses the ability to normalize the blood pressure of smokers, which is usually high. It also promotes the purging of mucus in the bronchi and the rejuvenation of the bronchi mucus membrane. Also, garlic helps to overcome the desire to smoke, possibly due to the unusual smell it gives to bad breath.
Garlic also helps in the prevention of malignant tumors, especially digestive cancers. This fact is most likely due to the herbs regulating effects on the intestinal flora and the normalizing properties on the digestive system; however, this action is probably related to its impact on the body’s metabolism.
Benefits of garlic also include corn removal. Apply a piece of paper mashed onto the callous, covering it with a Band-Aid. Within 2 or 3 days, the corn will soften, reducing the inflammation, allowing easier removal.
The Benefits of Garlic on the Cardiovascular System
|LDL Cholesterol (bad)||Decrease|
|HDL Cholesterol (good)||Slight increase|
The above results are obtained after a daily intake of 600-900 mg of deodorized garlic powder over four months. Non-aromatized garlic extracts are as active as raw garlic. According to several studies, a decrease of 11-12% in the cholesterol level and up to 17% in the triglycerides level occurred.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 230, 231, 232, 233. Print. [Benefits of garlic]