Oh garlic you pungent herb you.  This innocuous bulb has been used for centuries for both food and as medicine.  These days, garlic is used to treat conditions ranging from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and heart attack to certain types of cancer – but the benefits aren’t just for such big issues.  Three cloves of the stuff contains only 13 calories, plus vitamins C and B6, and manganese.  Garlic extract has been shown effective in treating yeast infections and may also protect against an enlarged prostate.

Garlic’s got a good deal of antioxidants, too, which help protect against free radical damage to the body’s cells. Researchers have also found an association between Allium vegetables (like garlic and onions) and a reduced risk of gastric and endometrial cancers, but there is only limited evidence (at best) of this relationship. Beyond cancer, garlic could also help protect tickers from cardiovascular disease.

In fact, test have found raw garlic more powerful than even penicillin and tetracycline. This is without destroying the digestive intestinal flora, which pharmaceutical antibiotics invariably do.  It’s also effective for TB and even Candida.  Also, unlike heavy pharmaceutical antibiotic use, garlic does not diminish the immune system.  It actually enhances the immune system.

Allicin, the active ingredient released when garlic is crushed, stimulates the immune system. Dr. Abdullah and his colleagues at the Akbar Clinic and Research Center in Panama City, Florida, found raw garlic dramatically increased the powers of the immune system’s natural killer cells.  Abdullah believes the immune boosting power of garlic could even be used to help AIDS patients.

Garlic prevents cancer and contributes toward tumor shrinkage, especially stomach, colon, and breast and prostate cancers.  The Russians have known this for decades.  More recently, this has been formally recognized by Dr. John Pinto, Ph.D of the normally anti-alternative natural cancer remedy Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute.

In the 1970s, Robert I. Lin, president of Nutritional International in Irvine California, successfully used garlic to detox lead from children.  That’s not a well know attribute of garlic, and it’s another reason everyone should use garlic often in our heavily toxic heavy metal environment.

Garlic has been used successfully for promoting cardiovascular health even among those who are having arterial or heart problems.  Garlic dilates blood vessels to lower blood pressure, removes triglycerides, dissolves internal clots, and prevents oxidation of important lipids that lead to cellular destruction. All without side effects, of course.

? Benefits of Garlic

  • Immune System Boost • Garlic was used to fight gangrene during the world wars – probably not a concern of yours, but it may be able to help you fight off a more modern-day ailment. This herb could help keep those cold-weather colds and flus at bay.  The food’s antioxidants can help your immune system run well; in addition to simply eating it, you could also try steeping garlic into a tea by steeping chopped garlic in hot water.  Add a bit of natural honey to soothe your throat and cut some of the intense garlic taste.
  • Awesome Antioxidants • Here’s a reason to crush a few garlic cloves into your next meal — garlic is a great source of antioxidants, which we know play an important role for our health.  The evidence is varied, but there is some research supporting garlic’s potential benefits.  One of those benefits might be beating bad skin – those antioxidants can kill the bacteria that are sometimes a cause of acne.  Next time you have a pimple, try rubbing on a sliced clove of raw garlic.
  • Promotes Heart Health • Studies have shown that garlic can benefit the health of your respiratory and circulatory system in several different ways. Let’s count them: it could help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease and artery hardening. The research on each condition and how garlic can help is varied, but research into what it can do for atherosclerosis and blood pressure is promising. These benefits may come from the production of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is produced when red blood cells take the sulphuric compounds from garlic. The gas can help expand our blood vessels, which can help keep your blood pressure steady.
  • Beat Inflammation • Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties – one study identified four sulphuric compounds in garlic that helped cut inflammation.  People who suffer from auto-immune diseases might be helped by including garlic in their diets – Dr. Andrew Weil includes it in his Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.  As well, if you have psoriasis — a skin condition related to inflammation, try rubbing garlic oil directly on the affected area for relief.
  • Prevent Food Poisoning • Some research indicates that garlic’s anti-bacterial properties might help to prevent food poisoning by killing bacteria like E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella enteritidis.  One study found that garlic was better at treating Campylobacter than two kinds of antibiotics.  That said, the addition of garlic to a dish is in no way a substitute for proper sanitation and safe cooking and food handling.
  • Treat Athlete’s Foot • Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, garlic has anti-fungal properties as well. Give those itchy feet a soak in garlic water to cut the fungus that causes athlete’s foot (otherwise known as ringworm of the foot). Or you can use this approach and rub raw garlic straight on your feet.
  • Repel Mosquitoes • One study from India found that mosquitoes apparently hate garlic — great news for people who are fans of natural bug repellents and not fans of pesky nippers.  You can either apply the garlic directly to your skin, or just keep some nearby to try to keep the bugs out of your general vicinity.
  • Banish Cold Sores • Here’s another tale that might have something to it — if you get cold sores, try applying some crushed garlic directly to the affected area.  The anti-inflammatory properties may help you feel better by cutting the sore’s swelling.  Some say that taking garlic supplements can also help to prevent them and get rid of them more quickly.
  • Allicin • Allicin is a sulphur compound similar to the one found in onions, and it could offer a host of health benefits. Onions have similar compounds that were found to treat hair loss in one study.