Garlic, scientific name Allium sativum, has been used for centuries both as food and medicinal plant. Garlic belongs to the onion family Alliaceae. Garlic is a perennial plant that grows best in temperate climates as it requires a cool season. Garlic plants are very healthy because they can grow up to 4 feet tall without needing fertilizers or pesticides. Garlic grows well in most soil types but does best in slightly acidic soils rich in organic matter. Garlic needs full sun to develop bulbs fully and will do poorly if grown under shady conditions or indoors.
Garlic is an herb in the same family as onions and leeks. It has been used since antiquity as a medicine (both internally and externally) because of its antiseptic properties. The plant is native to central Asia but is now widely grown across the world.
Garlic is used fresh and is available in a variety of forms such as cloves (bulbs), powder, or oil.
Garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, garlic oil, and diallyl disulfide. Garlic also contains other chemicals that may contribute to its health benefits.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Garlic includes flavonoids (which give garlic its pungent odor), vitamins C and B6, selenium, and minerals including calcium, iron, and zinc. Other secondary plant components may include polyphenols as well as quercetin and kaempferol (found in the garlic clove), beta carotene (found in garlic oil), or alliin which converts to allicin on crushing.
Garlic is powerful because it is packed with nutrients and is a powerful antioxidant. According to research at the US Department of Agriculture, garlic is one of our most potent antioxidants. It is also high in natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agents such as allicin which is produced when the clove is crushed or chopped.
In 2005, Dr. David Williams published an analysis evaluating more than 50 clinical studies into the cardiovascular benefits of garlic and its active ingredient, allyl sulfur compounds. He found that aged garlic extract (AGE) or supplements containing AGE has "promising potential" for the prevention of atherosclerosis - hardening and narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque being deposited on their inner walls.
Aged garlic extract is available from some health food shops, but is relatively expensive, and is likely to have a strong taste. Aged garlic extract is best taken with meals for maximum absorption. Alternatively, use ordinary garlic in your cooking or take supplements.
As well as having anticoagulant properties similar to aspirin (it helps prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots), garlic is an antihypertensive – it lowers blood pressure – due to its antioxidant properties which protect the heart, arteries, and circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
Garlic is also good for colds because it stimulates your immune system against infections such as viruses transmitted through airborne droplets (colds, flu). Garlic is so effective at boosting immunity that scientists are looking at its biological properties as a potential treatment for cancer. Research is underway to develop strains that could be effective in fighting tumors.
Garlic is also known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties which are good when you are ill with a cold. It is recommended that one clove of crushed garlic is taken every day while you have the infection. You can either chew it or mix it with water, honey, or lemon juice and drink it. Some people prefer to take supplements like garlic tinctures or oil drops instead of eating the cloves because they may find the taste too strong. If you take too much garlic, at worst it will lead to stomach problems.
The strongest effects of garlic are observed in the cardiovascular system because this is where free radicals are most likely to accumulate and this can be shown in a study from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. They damage healthy cells and cause premature aging. Since allyl sulfur compounds help remove these damaging elements from the body, they may help strengthen your heart and keep you fit for longer:
Garlic is a multifaceted herb that provides nutritional benefits as well as health effects. This study will show how Garlic can stop you from getting sick.
From both a traditional and energetic perspective, garlic is an aromatic, pungent, and spicy herb. This is a great herb to assist you in learning about herbal energetics! With just one small bite of a raw garlic clove, you might immediately feel its effects. Garlic is not mild!
Garlic is hot and spicy food, which best benefits those who are feeling cold or suffering from stagnation. Garlic works well for a cold when you also feel like the flu is coming on. Garlic may also be used to help reduce a fever. Garlic stimulates your body's diaphoretic response, helping it to break the chill.
The garlic plant is especially powerful at relieving congestion, whether it be in the lungs or sinuses. Raw garlic contains properties that are both spicy and stimulating, helping to thin mucus with the ever-present goal of expelling it. Garlic, when used internally or externally in the form of an infused oil (such as being rubbed on your chest or feet) is effective.
Multiple studies have shown that garlic might help to both prevent and relieve upper respiratory infections.
A clinical trial was completed to analyze how often children experience upper respiratory infections. A study was conducted examining the effects of garlic extract on preventing upper respiratory infections, and whether it is more effective than pharmaceutical drugs. People taking garlic in place of a pharmaceutical had fewer upper respiratory symptoms than those who did not take either.
If you take raw garlic at the onset of sickness, it may shorten the duration of that sickness. One study found that people taking a high-dose garlic extract for 90 days had the same amount of colds and flu as those who were given a placebo. The extract also helped their symptoms to be less severe, they missed fewer days from school or work, and they needed less antibiotic treatment than those on only placebos. The researchers concluded that the aged garlic supplement may improve immune cell functioning and in turn, reduce cold and flu severity.
Garlic is well-known for its antimicrobial properties and is effective against many different pathogens in vitro. Perhaps because it is sometimes mistakenly called an herbal antibiotic, garlic is one of the most misused vegetables. The term “antibiotic” means against life and refers to pharmaceuticals that kill all bacteria they come into contact with. Garlic, while it has many benefits against harmful bacteria found in your digestive system, would have to be eaten at an astronomical rate to kill the healthy bacteria. Garlic contains inulin, a prebiotic that supports gut health and is largely responsible for its reputation as an allergy remedy.
Garlic has a wide range of benefits from reducing the need for pharmaceutical antibiotics to boosting your immune system. Studies have shown that garlic boosts the immune system by increasing the natural killer cells and reducing inflammatory cytokines.
Garlic contains allicin, a chemical compound that has been shown to protect against colds and the flu. Garlic also contains other compounds that boost your immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells which fight infection.
According to a German study, stronger immune systems are present in those who regularly eat garlic.
Garlic tops the list of the ten best foods for immunity. Garlic is also high in Vitamin C and selenium, which are valuable to the immune system too.
Allicin is released during food preparation - chopping, mincing or crushing it releases alliin, which after entering your bloodstream combines with another compound called alliinase from your enzymes to form allicin. Once ingested it takes an hour for your body to absorb fully into the bloodstream via your intestinal tract where it can circulate freely until needed by your Immune system.
We are not saying that the stronger immune response in garlic eaters is due to allicin, but it’s a reasonable hypothesis. Garlic and/or its constituents may also have direct effects on immune cells.
Chinese herbalists have been using garlic to treat viral illnesses for centuries. Garlic is especially useful against colds/flu because its antiseptic properties help prevent secondary bacterial infections caused by viruses.
First thing in the morning take a fresh clove of garlic--chop very fine --and swallow whole with a large glass of water--this is believed to be the best time. Let your body have allicin for as long as possible before the day's germs invade.
Garlic’s most powerful component, a compound called allicin may help prevent viral infections from taking hold in the first place.
In one study from Medical News Today, half of those who chewed garlic at the first sign of cold symptoms were completely symptom-free by 24 hours compared with just 25% of those who didn't use garlic at all. Garlic might give you relief fast enough to head off a serious infection.
Sore throats are common for everyone but especially so in children and people with allergies, a compromised immune system, or other situations that weaken their immunity. Sore throats can indicate the onset of a cold, or another type of illness brought on by a viral or bacterial infection. Sore throats that are infection-related often present symptoms like swollen glands or even an inflamed tonsil area. Swallowing can become quite painful which makes eating some types of solid food uncomfortable. It can be best to avoid eating hot foods and drink in favour of something colder to assist in numbing the painful area. Often a sore throat is the first sign of a forthcoming cold, strep throat, or gastrointestinal reflux.
A sore throat can also be a tell-tale sign that you’re feeling rundown, overworked or stressed. It is the body’s immune response effectively letting you know that it might be time to take some rest and get some much-needed sleep. Whilst a sore throat can be treated with many over-the-counter medications, lozenges and liquids, garlic has been potentially shown to remedially assist in the relief from discomfort of a sore throat.
There is a potential relief for a sore throat involving to infusing garlic in water. The immune-stimulating effect of garlic can help prep the body for healing and or fighting the infections, which cause sore throats. If the sore throat is caused by “feeling rundown” it is still an immune response, something which garlic can have a calming effect on.
Garlic has natural oils with decongestant and expectorant effects which break down the mucus and help expel it from the throat. Garlic also contains a volatile compound called allicin that is an effective treatment for sore throats. It is these antiseptic properties that potentially help fight any infection you are suffering from. Allicin is released in an oil-type form when raw garlic is crushed. Within these oils are the garlic’s natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
It should be noted that when garlic is cooked (for example pan-fried to be included in a pasta dish) the natural antibacterial properties in the oils are destroyed. It is only through ingesting raw garlic that the natural allicin oils will be absorbed into the body. Eating a raw garlic clove is one way to ingest these wonderful oils, but that is also difficult for some to handle. Crushed raw garlic can be ingested in several ways to make the process slightly more pleasant on the palate including mixing with salsa, fruits and honey. The key is to ingest the oils very quickly after they have been released from the clove itself.
Amanda Bakko, MS, a nutritionist at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, shares some of garlic's benefits.
Garlic is one of the most powerful, natural healing foods that exists. It is not only a culinary staple around the globe but it has been used throughout history as herbal medicine, too.
Mixing garlic with other herbs may increase its effectiveness in preventing and treating disease. Garlic also works well as part of an overall detoxification program for the body, which makes it perfect to use during a juice fast or master cleanse.
Benefits of eating garlic Garlic can be added to any meal and it is especially delicious with poultry, fish, tofu, or beef. It adds a distinct pungent flavor that is often paired with many types of ethnic foods.
Garlic was even thought to improve memory. It had been prescribed by the ancient Sumerians, the Mayans, and the Romans. It was considered a symbol of wisdom in many cultures for thousands of years.
While garlic is considered by most to be healthy food, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Some people may have reactions such as heartburn or stomach upset when taking garlic supplements.
Garlic allergies are also very common and symptoms include watery eyes, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. These types of symptoms can develop immediately after consumption of garlic or they might appear hours later. In some rare cases, anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction that leads to shock – has been seen with ingestion of even small amounts of raw garlic. This may lead to death if immediate medical attention is not received.
For those allergic to garlic, foods that come from members of the lily family such as onions, leeks, and chives might also trigger a reaction. Garlic oil may cause an allergic reaction in those who have sensitive skin or asthma.
Another concern is that garlic is said to lower blood pressure so it should not be used by people who are taking medications for this condition. It may also interfere with certain antibiotic drugs, so check with your doctor before using garlic if you are on any prescription medication.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and has been used for centuries to help fight colds. It's also good for fighting bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and worms that can cause illness in humans. There are many ways you can use garlic as an effective treatment against the common cold or flu virus including adding it to your soup or pasta dishes so you don't notice its taste too much (though some people say they like the flavor of garlic). You could even try taking raw cloves of fresh garlic every day with water before meals if you want to make sure this works!