An Ancient Remedy
Garlic is hardly a new discovery: for centuries it has been used medicinally when the only “drugs” were plants. The sulfur-based compounds from garlic are considered anti-inflammatory, anti-high cholesterol, anti-diabetes, anti-bacterial, anti-parasite, anti-cancer, and anti-fungal. The characteristic odor of garlic comes from the breakdown of allicin, which is part of the garlic plant’s defense system. When the plant is physically damaged or crushed, it releases allicin, which then releases the sulfur compounds over time. Raw garlic can be consumed and also crushed and used topically. Raw garlic applied on the skin kills acne-causing bacteria, so it is even anti-pimple. Be careful about liberal use though – it is potent and can cause a burning reaction.
Research Proves the Power of Garlic
As published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Washington State University researchers found that a garlic compound is 100 times more effective in controlling a major food poisoning bacteria than either erythromycin or ciprofloxacin – two often used antibiotics. The American Family Physician reports that regular garlic use may reduce the frequency of the common cold, where antibiotics are not effective. The Iowa Women’s Health Study showed the combined effect of a routine diet of fruits and vegetables combined with garlic showed a 35 percent lowering of cancer risk apart from drugs. A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed garlic results similar to praziquantel in reducing parasites without the drug’s side effects. On balance, garlic wins!
Garlic Reduces Inflammation, Increases Glutathione and is High in Vitamins and Minerals
Garlic causes reduction in liver cell damage and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Garlic and allicin mode of action activates and modulates the immune system along with triggering an anti-inflammatory cascade. Garlic is rich in sulfur which is very necessary to produce glutathione in the body, which is one of the strongest antioxidants your body makes to put out free radical fires.
100 grams of garlic has up to 6.36 grams of protein, and contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Grow Your Own
Garlic is easy to grow, although rather slow. It looks like grass as it grows until it reaches full height in mid-summer when it then forms a globe-like flower full of tiny bulblets, which can be used to grow more garlic plants if you are patient. It is great in a home garden, and quite resistant to frost. The garlic cloves are bulbs which can usually survive the winter and start growing again in the spring. One mature clove will become the hard center for a ring of new cloves surrounding it. That ring of cloves matures in mid-summer, and after flowering the plant appears to die off. You can easily harvest cloves at this time, but if you don’t, a new growth cycle begins in the fall. Early in the growth cycle there is little clove material available, but you can still harvest low stems to get some garlic flavor and benefit. You don’t have to be a great gardener to grow garlic – just some sun and weeding. The convenience and fun of having your own garlic supply may make you more of a garlic consumer!
Dr. Nemec’s Comments:
All regions of the world for centuries have used powerful plant herbs and foods to help them heal from a variety of maladies. Garlic is one of the most powerful medicinal foods in the world and has been for ages. How can you improve on a substance that helps you get rid of bacteria, viruses, parasites, boosts your system’s defense to fight off cancer and other pathogens? It also has normalized blood pressure and cholesterol, all with no harmful side effects besides sometimes keeping sick people away from you. Another key component in garlic is sulfur which is key in many cellular reactions including glutathione (the king antioxidant) production to protect your cells from early cell death. Remember it only works when you eat it raw and eat it immediately upon mixing in your favorite plant fat before the enzymes denature. Start with one clove and progressively increase to tolerance.
Dr. Keith Nemec
Total Health Institute