Could garlic really be a cure-all?

by Ania on 4 May, 2012

Watch this video to find out!

Garlic is amazing. Truly. It’s one of the most effective health foods out there!

Garlic is antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and a broad spectrum antibiotic. Here are some of the health issues that garlic can help you with:

  • candida overgrowth (yeast infection)
  • genital herpes
  • chronic sinus infections
  • high blood pressure
  • allergies
  • infections
  • toothaches
  • acne
  • impotence
  • colds
  • heart disease
  • MRSA (hospital super-bug)
  • high cholesterol
  • dental diseases
  • cancer

Wow. This is incredible! How is it possible?!? 

Garlic has been used as food and a medicine for 1000s of years. It originates from Asia where its use has been documented back to 200BC. It is part of the allum family which counts, among its ranks, the mighty onions and leeks. It’s an excellent source of a number of nutrients, including selenium, sulphur, B6 and manganese. Garlic is high in antioxidants, but the most interesting thing about it is it’s ability to produce an antibiotic-like substance called allicin when raw and crushed and exposed to the air for 10 minutes.

Garlic is such a potent cure-all that is has even been shown to help AIDS sufferers fight off infections! The Iowa Women’s Health Study, with 41,000 participants, showed that those who regularly ate garlic, fruit and vegetables had a 35% lower risk of colon cancer.

The way that garlic works is two fold: 1) it boosts your immune system and; 2) the allicin (antibiotic) helps to kill the bad bacteria which is causing you the health problem.

Wright State University research indicates that garlic is 1% as effective as penicillin and University of Maryland Medical Centre advises eating 2-4 cloves of garlic a day. You can have up to 25g a day with no toxic effects. AIDS sufferers treated with garlic are given 9 cloves a day!

So, if it works like an antibiotic, and we’re all consuming too many antibiotics, should we even be eating garlic? Won’t it kill all of the friendly bacteria in the gut that we need for good digestion? The research suggests that allicin only kills bad bacteria. This appears to be down to the fact that garlic, like onion, is a prebiotic (it feeds good bacteria) whereas bad bacteria is fed by sugar. Additionally, it’s been shown that the body doesn’t build up a tolerance to garlic, like it does to pharmaceutical antibiotics. Isn’t nature awesome?! Finally, if you cook the garlic, the antibiotic properties are no longer present – therefore you’re probably having less allicin than you think.

So, are there any down sides to this wonder food?

Funny story: when I was about 17 or 18 my best friend and I were due to go to a Sting concert. Unfortunately said friend had a stinking cold! So, I generously made her hot milk with garlic and honey. We went to the concert and she reeked! The good news was that, despite the smell, the concert was great and she felt much better the next day. :)

So, there’s the obvious: the smell. Garlic does have a very strong and lingering smell. However, it is said that flat leaf parsley can counteract the odour. I also read that drinking it down with milk may help. (I said may not will!)

Some people may also experience IBS type symptoms, such as bloating. Others have also reported headaches, fatigue, dizziness and muscle aches. These might be resolved by cooking the garlic. One doctor, claims that garlic kills your brain and makes you stupid. I’m not so sure about this, but if you’re interested I’ve posted the link below.

This is quite serious: As garlic thins the blood, it is not a good idea to eat lots of it before an operation or giving birth.

Finally, garlic may interact with some antibiotics and coagulants, so always check with your doctor when taking these.

How do you use garlic?

It’s healthy to have one portion of allum family (garlic, onions, leeks) a day.

If you’re run down or feeling sick, take 2-4 cloves a day. Remember, it needs to be raw, crushed and left for 10 minutes if you want the antibiotic properties.

If you have a cough, chop or crush garlic and leave it overnight. Use this as a cough syrup.

 

What do you think of garlic? Do you eat it? Do you avoid it? How do you use it? Has your opinion now changed?

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Liina May 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

The funny thing about me and garlic – I love it soo much that it actually leads me to overeating. By adding carlic to food it just becomes irresistebly delicious :P

Reply

Ania May 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

Wow! That is impressive! The solution here is to decide ahead of the meal exactly how much you’re going to eat – write it down, if you need to – and then stick to it. It would be a shame to give up eating garlic if you enjoy it! :)

Reply

BW April 10, 2013 at 11:17 am

Dave Asprey (as well as a few other life-hackers) suggests that garlic (and onions) make you dumb (well, emotionally dim i.e. unable to meditate or effective control emotions etc.) Almost all Asain cultures regard garlic and the like as medicines, i.e. to be used sparingly, when one is ill.

And of course hard-core Buddhists avoid garlic and onions at all times – such is the effect on the ability to meditate. My Buddhist friend asked me who I regarded as the most emotionally volatile populations of Europe. I said "Italians and Spaniards – and ESPECIALLY Sicilians!" And he replied, "Exactly, and they eat a LOT of garlic and onions!"  – my repsonse was "Sure they're volatile, but they're lot of fun too!" :-)

Anyway, food for though!

cheers,

BW

Reply

Ania April 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

Yes, I’ve come across that view, too. :) It won’t stop me from eating garlic!

Reply

BW April 10, 2013 at 11:19 am

PS: My mum would swallow whole cloves of garlic (dipped in olive oil to help them go down) when she felt a cold coming on. She never smelt of garlic using this method. I've done it too and it seems to work brilliantly.

 

Reply

Ania April 10, 2013 at 11:21 am

I have to admit that I’ve never tried swallowing garlic whole, but now you’ve motivated me to do it! Great tip with the olive oil, too! Thank you!

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maria January 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Thank you for your sharing your garlic knowledge! I am a lover of garlic for its medicinal purposes as well as for its beautiful scent and taste when used with other foods. I have used garlic to heal the flu, colds, strep, food poisoning, nasty sinus infections and probably much more. I see garlic as a beautiful gift and cherish it : ) 

I also love to use raw organic honey, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and other natural remedies because they work very well seemingly, without consequences, unlike most prescription and over the counter drugs.

Once again, Thank you!

Reply

Ania January 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

I agree! The absolute best thing about nature is that it’s mostly very safe! :)

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