Garlic is a member of the onion family and is nature's most versatile medicinal plant. Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years for a wide range of conditions. It has been prized since the first records of civilization for its uses in treating wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites.
Modern scientists in numerous clinical trials have concluded that Garlic lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, thins the blood (which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke) and fights bacteria like an antibiotic.
Garlic is a potent antioxidant that has been found to inhibit tumor cell formation and is currently being studied by the National Cancer Institute. It may be effective in fighting stomach, skin and colon cancer.
Though it is best know as a culinary herb and vampire retardant, the medicinal benefits and claims for garlic have awarded it the name "Wonder Drug among all herbs".
Modern day research helps explain the broad applications of this "miracle" herb. Garlic bulbs contain the amino acid allicin. When crushed, allicin is released. This chemical element is the component that gives Garlic its strong odor and is responsible for the powerful pharmacological properties of the plant. One medium clove of Garlic can equal the antibacterial action equivalent to 1% penicillin.
Garlic also contains about 0.5% of a volatile oil that is composed of sulfur-containing compounds. Garlic's sulfur compounds, in addition to Selenium and Vitamins A and C containing compounds, make it a potent antioxidant, protecting cell membranes and DNA from damage and disease.
Although Garlic directly attacks bacteria and viruses, it also stimulates the body's natural defenses against foreign invaders. Garlic is reported to be more effective than penicillin against typhus disease, and works well against strep, staph bacteria, and the organisms responsible for cholera, dysentery and enteritis.
It is generally regarded as a preventative measure for colds, flu and other infectious diseases. Furthermore, scientific studies have shown that garlic stimulates the production of the liver's own detoxifying enzymes which neutralize carcinogens and other environmental toxins. It has also been used to rid the body of intestinal parasites and to treat digestive infections.
Researchers have been studying the anti-cancer properties of Garlic since the 1940's. It appears that the herb may prevent cells from turning cancerous by enhancing the body's mechanisms for removing toxic substances. Garlic's phytochemicals are believed to enhance immunity and the National Cancer Institute (January 1992) reported that people who ate the greatest amount of onions and garlic had the lowest incidence of stomach cancer. Other types of cancer have also been reported as lower.
Furthermore, garlic increases the activity of white blood cells and T-helper cells (natural killer cells), the cells that are central to the activity of the entire immune system.
Garlic supplements can improve many of the processes that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Garlic has been used as a blood thinner and anticoagulant to resolve blood clots and improve circulation. It has been shown to lower cholesterol while increasing the level of beneficial HDLs (high-density lipoproteins), the so-called good cholesterol.
Garlic has no side effects like those associated with cholesterol lowering drugs. (Take garlic for at least two or three months, as often in the first month or two cholesterol may actually slightly rise.) In addition, garlic compounds gently lower blood pressure by slowing the production of the body's own blood pressure raising hormones. At least seventeen clinical trials have shown that mild hypertension can be effectively managed with garlic.
Garlic has great value as a long-term dietary supplement, helping to maintain healthy circulation, balance blood sugar and pressure, reduce fat levels in the blood, and improve resistance to infection. It can be taken with conventional antibiotics to support their action and ward off side effects.
Garlic has also been used in treating upper respiratory infections (especially bronchitis), late-onset diabetes, urinary infections, acne, asthma, sinusitis, arthritis, and ulcers.
Part Used: Bulb or as odorless tablets.
Common Use: Good for virtually any disease or infection. Improves circulation, maintains healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A natural antibiotic and immune system stimulant.
Care: A perennial bulb that grows in warm climates worldwide. Prefers rich soil and full sun.