Garlic is one of the most accessible, delicious and healing herbs there is out there. I love garlic because everyone knows what it is, and most know it has some antibiotic and healing properties, so when I say “Go eat some garlic” they usually don’t scoff too much. It is rumored to chase away devils and vampires and repel evil as well. Most people also know it is good for cardiovascular issues but what else does this wonderfully delicious herb do?
Garlic is one of the most researched herbs with over 1,000 published and peer-reviewed articles about it as well as having been traditionally used for tens of thousands of years.
Garlic is a perennial herb with log, green, flat leaves growing from an un-branched stem in the middle of the bulb. The bulb, a tight papery sheath enclosing numerous cloves, is the most beneficial part of the plant for culinary and medicinal purposes.
It is antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, blood thinner, used to treat upper respiratory infection and cough, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol levels, supports beneficial intestinal flora. It is commonly used to prevent colds and flu.
Add garlic to savory dishes like meat, fish, vegetables, soups, stews, salad, salad dressing and vinegar right before you are done cooking (3 minutes or less) to preserve its medicinal effects.
- Take to treat respiratory infection to relieve congestion, loosen and remove mucous. It is a great expectorant. It will also increase perspiration to reduce fever.
- Garlic stimulates bile production, tones the digestive system, relieves cramps, spasms and gas in the intestines, and helps soothe the stomach after overeating.
- It stimulates the kidneys and is diuretic in nature.
- Garlic prevents and destroys fungal infections. The oil can be dabbed on ringworm, spots or pimples to clear the fungal infection. It can also be used on toe nails to combat athletes foot along with Melaleuca Essential Oil.
- We also use garlic to treat ear infections.
- It repels insects like ants, fleas and ticks.
- It is known to treat physical impotence and has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac.
Why is Garlic such a potent medication?
There are over 60 active constituents of garlic that are very similar to penicillin according to “Botanical Medicines” by Stephen Harrord Buhner. When the bulb is bruised, crushed or cut garlic produces a compound called allicin. This is an amino acid that contains sulfur and causes garlic’s strong odor. Allicin and several other compounds have all shown antibiotic activity. This is a broad spectrum antibiotic activity killing both gram positive and negative bacteria.
“Clinical studies… have repeatedly shown that garlic is active against strains of bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics.” “Botanical medicines” Stephen Buhner
Garlic has also been extensively studied to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, improved blood circulation, high cholesterol, cancer, stress, fatigue and aging. Taken long-term, garlic helps prevent narrowing of the arteries, thins the blood, and supports better cholesterol levels.
For stimulating immune function, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic works raw, cooked, or encapsulated. If you are treating an active bacterial infection it should be consumed uncooked whole form or in juice. I either crush fresh garlic onto my food after it is done cooking, or take a whole clove like a pill. Be sure the pill is not “scent free” or “without that garlic aftertaste” since that means they have removed the allicin and it will be void of the medicinal benefits.
Garlic can interact with certain medications that can cause detrimental health effects. These medications are blood thinners, anti-coagulants, and protease inhibitors. Garlic is safe to use while pregnant and breastfeeding as long as you have no other medical conditions.
Before taking any natural supplements be sure to consult your natural health care provider, herbalist, acupuncturist or other holistic practioner. This is not intended as medical advice but for informational purposes only.
Be sure you get your herbs from a trusted source. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs (an affiliate) and can not tell you how happy I am with the quality of their herbs.
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