“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food”
These are the famous words of the ancient Greek physician called Hippocrates Asclepiades, living in the Classic Greek time. He is considered the founder of modern western medicine, where physicians nowadays recite the Hippocratic oath. Interestingly enough, Hippocrates Asclepiades used garlic for a range of medical disorders.
I want to dedicate this article to this marvellous and diverse herb. Already in 1858 the well renowned French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur recognized the antiseptic properties of garlic. The many uses of garlic stems from the fact that it contains a range of medicinal properties. Sulphur compounds called Allicin are formed when the garlic is chopped, cut or grated, and occurs due to exposure to oxygen. Heated or cooked garlic does not have the same health benefit, but tastes great in dishes anyway! Here are some of the most widely known health benefits of garlic:
- Reduce elevated cholesterol, both the total amount of cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol, that will be harmful in excess amounts in the blood stream. Using garlic on a regular basis will therefore have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, and reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis and plaque. Dr. Budoff, MD, FACC, FAHA, is an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After having done numerous studies on aged garlic Dr. Budoff is a strong believer in aged garlic in treatment of calcification of arteries. Calcification of arteries are directly proportional to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Aged garlic is aged up to 20 months witch changes the harsh chemicals in garlic to safe, stable and odourless compound. Kyolic garlic has been the subject of over 650 studies. “Supplementing with Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract can halt, and even reverse the accumulation of deadly low-attenuation plaque in arteries”, according to new research in The Journal of Nutrition.
- Reduce elevated blood pressure. Studies have shown that supplementation of aged garlic extract of 600 – 1500 mg shows a significant reduction of blood pressure
- Reduce risk of Alzheimers and Dementia due to its range of sulphur and antioxidant compounds
- Reduce the risk of heavy metal and radiation toxicity, due to its high sulphur content
- Treat the common cold. Studies have shown that using garlic upon getting sick will reduce the length and severity of the common cold.
- Balance the gut flora. In my clinic I have used garlic for a range of gastrointestinal disorders. Garlic haw powerful anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. The fresher the garlic is the more effective it will be. For people with chronic anal itch, chronic fatigue (may be accompanied with a skin rash) this may indicate a parasitic/intestinal worm infection. Using grated garlic as a poultice directly on the skin may be beneficial. With intestinal worms, consuming garlic at least four times daily is a good way to rid yourself of these worms. Please consult your doctor if these symptoms persist.
Scientists by Kyungpook-university in South Korea have figured out that the amounts of antioxidants in garlic increase tremendously when it starts to sprout. The sprouts will stay fresh for about 5 days. Also, freezing the garlic is also a good way to enhance the antioxidant capacity of garlic. Garlic could stay fresh for half a year in the fridge and 3-4 days in room temperature.
Bear in mind, garlic is not for everyone. A few have developed allergies to garlic, and those who are following a FOODMAP diet should avoid garlic while they react adversely to it. Even so, I am a huge fan of garlic, and believe most people will benefit by ingesting this herb. Besides, it tastes great, both in salads, sauces/soups, and a range of other cuisines. Enjoy!