Health Benefits of Garlic

By Paula

I always liked to make fun of statistics: I have very low blood pressure. I figure that if 3 cloves of garlic lower blood pressure by a point, then I bet I can eat 30 cloves of garlic at once and my blood pressure will drop to nill.

It's just a joke. I do this only for special events :)

garlicI am such a fan of garlic, that I cannot conceive my kitchen without garlic and onions. I even liked garlic as a child :)

Much to my chagrin, I couldn’t eat garlic during pregnancy because I got nauseous every time I tried to eat it. During breastfeeding I only ate once, but it was too much for my baby, who had a big tummy pain.

Colds and flu

I got this story from an uncle. When he served his mandatory army trainining, the soldiers at the kitchen had orders to serve them garlic at their meals in the fall and in the winter. It all had to do with the most popular health benefit of garlic and that is preventing cold and flu.

It is common knowledge that green garlic, eaten fresh, contain Allicin, a compound more potent than Penicillin. It acts as an antibiotic, when administered both internally and externally on open wounds.

Just an example - this winter both my husband and my daughter caught the flu. Their symptoms lasted for about two weeks, but I only had a minor cold for a couple of days.

No matter whether you eat or use it as a spice, garlic is a real medicine with a rich content of vitamins (A, B1, B2, C and mineral - phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, iodine, calcium, silicon, Brom, Cobalt, Iodine, Magnesium, Silicon and Zinc).Use it for common cold and flu symptoms, sore throat or bronchial and lung infections.

Pinworms (anthelmintic)

It might be just a mith that vampires don't fancy garlic (we should send this one to MithBusters), but it is a known fact that worms and other intestinal parasites don't like it.

I was a little scared when I saw the little white worms in my daughter's stool when she was two years old. She was quite excited about the discovery though.

This problem arises mostly when the child is in the kindergarden or in another comunity. Even if your child is not yet in kindergarden you still have to consider possible unwated guests. Children love to taste everything they can put their hands on.

As always, is best to prevent than to cure. So preventive anthelmintic treatments are more than welcomed, as oposed to the alternative - powerful drugs that can damage the liver.

Garlic is an easy, practical and convenient option for pinworms, just ... not always to the child's taste.

I can relate to that because I didn't even like the smell of garlic when I had my daughter's age. Up until 2 years old it is not recommended to give your child garlic.I tried to "camouflage" the remedy in another favorite food, but she "smelled" the trick without even touching the food.

If your child doesn't mind garlic, here are two preventive cures against pinworms:

* Recipe 1
Put 6-8 cloves of garlic finely chopped in a cup of milk.Heat the milk and let it boil for a couple of seconds. Drink a cup of milk and garlic every morning on an empty stomach. After 15-20 minutes you can eat breakfast. Treatment takes at least two weeks.

* Recipe 2
2-3 weeks regular preventive treatments with garlic milk decoction, at least half a glass per day.

Milk decoction
Use this recipe for respiratory problems and for intestinal worms. Drink as hot as can stand, in the morning and in the evening.

Wash and cut finely a garlic head with all the peels, then simmer for five minutes in a cup of milk. Cover the cup and let it cool for 10 minutes. Strain and drink as hot as possible.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

There are numerous studies in Germand and Australian hospitals which showed significant reductions in blood pressure by simple garlic treatment. They found that eating 1-3 cloves garlic daily for two weeks, systolic pressure - the first figure shown by tonometer - drops by a point.

And yes, it's the same sulfur compound called Allicin, powerful antibiotic and responsible for the flavor, which significantly decreases cholesterol and improves atherosclerosis.

I always liked to make fun of these statistics: I have very low blood pressure. I figure that if 3 cloves of garlic lower blood pressure by a point, then I bet I can eat 30 cloves of garlic at once and my blood pressure will drop to nill.

It's just a joke. I do this only for special events :)

Besides raw garlic you could take 3 teaspoons (approximately 15 ml) of alcohol garlic macerate per day, over the course of 3 months.

* The University of Adelaide - Aged garlic extract lowers blood pressure in patients with treated but uncontrolled hypertension A randomised controlled trial

* Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP, et al. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord 2008;8:13.

* Garlic - MedlinePlus

Digestion, gastritis and colon cancer

The supposetly cause of gastritis is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. I say supposetly, because the most probable cause is our choice in foods and the way we combine them (ex: protein, starches and sugars: steak, french fries and a piece of cake for desert). Bad nutrition habits lead to upset stomach (indigestion or dyspepsia) and bloating (distension), not to mention high acidity levels.

What do we do when we often feel heartburn? We take antacids. While we get momentarily relief, they will reduce the acidity levels. In return, the stomach will supplement the missing acid production and, in time, the acid production will suffer due to stomach cell overuse.

In the end, the lack of acid in the stomach not only bad for digestion, but is like an open invitation to H. pylori. Besides digestion, the acid in the stomach is supposed to kill or to keep at bay all kind of bad bacteria like those in bad water or H. pylori. If we neutralize the acid, we give a clear pass to all bacteria and thus to gastritis and stomach flu (gastroenteritis).

Did you do know that water provides the fastest relief for high acidity? Not for the longest length of time tough.

Back to the garlic health benefits, let's just say that people who eat large amounts of onions and garlic have a very low risk of occurrence of gastric, skin or colon cancer (Maria Treben - Health Through God's Pharmacy).

On the other hand, who could eat large amounts of onion and garlic and go to work or hang out with garlic breath all day long :) ? I think that if you eat garlic once a day, you'll be fine.

How does garlic do its digestion magic?
Raw garlic contains multiple compounds and antioxidants including organosulfur compounds which are responsible for anti microbial functions, this is why raw garlic is best for fighting bacterial and fungal infections.

Just crush a raw clove and it will release allicin, which has been shown to be a more potent antibiotic than penicillin and tetracycline. This herb not only improves digestion, relieves wind and distension, but also enhances absorption and assimilation of food.

References:
Activities of Garlic Oil, Garlic Powder, and Their Diallyl Constituents against Helicobacter pylori

A glass of water immediately increases gastric pH in healthy subjects.

Diabetes

Garlic also enhances the production of insulin, making it a useful remedy to lower bloodsugar in diabetics.

It's the allicin component that does this work too. "What this component does is to compete with insulin for insulin-inactivating sites in the liver, which results in no insulin inactivation. Consequently, the free insulin is increased." ~ Garlic And Diabetes Benefits

Fertility

One of the numerous garlic health benefits is its role in enhancing fertility. Just like other fertility herbs it does that through its combination of minerals and vitamins that enhance the immune system and regulate hormonal balance.

Prevent Herpes

Garlic is a powerful natural antiviral due to its antioxidant properties and the boost to the immune system. If you use it from the first signs, you may enter in the "garlic prevents herpes from happening" club.

Recipe: Cut a clove in two and press them on the affected area. Keep them for a few minutes, for active substances to take effect. Do not rinse, even if you feel mild temporary stinging.

Warts

This food-medicine maybe your herbal ally in health problems. Like in the herpes case, get rid of warts just by rubbing the area with a clove of garlic cut in half.

Warts are not so easily frightened. Some people need just one go with celandine, or with lemon and potatoes, while others are mobile encyclopedias of unsuccessfully tested remedies.

Acne

Garlic is an excellent treatment for acne, in case you did not know. Just rub with a garlic clove cut in two over the acne, or cut into slivers a garlic clove and apply over acne with a plaster, leaving overnight to act.

Toothache and Earache

Every time I tell someone I have a toothache or an earache, I receive this tip: "Put a clove of garlic on your tooth or ear. It works instantly for me!"

Lucky them! In theory I know garlic is effective in these situations. It just doesn't work for me. I would recommend garlic for anything, but it seems that my ear is a kind of garlic's Achilles heel.

These toothache remedies and also these herbs for relieving toothache should come handy sometime.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

I don't think there is a hair problem (dandruff, slow hair growth, hair loss, baldness, richer hair mask, more beautiful or brighter) that garlic doesn't make the top ingredients.

Its performances recommend it, but we often avoid it due to the smell (it does persist), like we avoid eggs because of their gluey consistency.

Use it in these forms:

  • Rub the hair roots with half cut cloves
  • Mash the cloves with castor or olive oil
  • Rub the hair roots with garlic tincture

Acne is a fairly complex problem, whose causes must be sought internally.

If you have tried a lot of lotions already but still feel frustrated, try garlic. It is supposed to eliminate toxins if you eat enough of it. In some cases it removed and stains and acne scars.

For an external application, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it on the skin. Follow this treatment for one month. The most convenient time is to do this at night, or when you know you don't have any socializing to do for a couple of hours.

I've tried a couple of acne cleaners recipes myself, but none worked better than when I ate raw food last summer (lettuce, green onions, tasty fresh organic tomatoes, wild garlic and other leafy vegetable). My whole body felt lighter, and some deep acne on my face disappeared completely.

Contraindications

If garlic was not part of your regular diet and you want to eat it as an internal treatment for a specific health problem, you should start gradually to see how much your stomach can tolerate garlic.

Some people feel stomach pain or heartburn when they eat garlic. If you suffer from ulcers, gastritis or other stomach disorder and you noticed garlic makes it worse, don't eat it anymore.

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