It is heaving with abundant good health, all ready to bestow it into your life. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, one of the quickest remedies is a clove of fresh garlic, crushed and left for 10 minutes, and then eaten (try it in a spoonful of yoghurt if the taste is too much). Eating garlic is its raw form releases its most potent health-giving properties, as cooking can alter and destroy its chemical make-up. If you’re worried about stinky breath, just eat a sprig of parsley afterwards. Here’s a round-up of the wonderful things garlic brings into your life (and it’s not just an ability to see off vampires quick sharpish):
Perhaps one of its most well-researched and talked about benefits is for the heart and cardiovascular system generally. Garlic has been successfully trialled for a number of conditions including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease and hypertension. It can also help to reduce the incidence of blood clots making it a good choice if you’re going on a long haul flight.
Garlic is also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties and may well benefit those with auto-immune diseases. Research shows that there are four sulphuric compounds in garlic that help to reduce inflammation, making it a good choice for those with problems such as arthritis but also skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Recent research undertaken at Washington State University showed that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria commonly responsible for food-borne illness.
The University of Florida discovered even more exciting research for those with low immunity: garlic can help to boost the number of T-cells, or disease-fighting cells, in the bloodstream thus enhancing our immunity.
Because of its microbial and anti-bacterial properties, garlic is great for treating bad skin. Daily consumption of raw garlic should help to clear up problem bacterial skin (such as acne) and it can be used as a topical application on spots and pimples.
Garlic is reputed to be an aphrodisiac and because of its circulation-improving capabilities, helps to prolong an erection.
Your dentist will thank you for including raw garlic in your diet: according to research undertaken by dentists in Brazil, gargling with garlic water (crushed garlic steeped in warm water) helps to kill the germs linked to tooth decay and gum disease.
Garlic has a long history of being used to treat wounds as a way of inhibiting the spread of infection. The Ancient Greeks used it to cure infections, treat leprosy and heal bites and stings.
Research undertaken at the Jiangsu Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in China showed that those who ate raw garlic at least twice a week had a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer.
Garlic has anti-fungal properties and is an important part of recovery from a fungal infection. It can be taken daily in food and those with athlete’s foot can try bathing the feet in warm water in which several crushed garlic cloves have been steeped. If you have a tendency towards fungal infections such as thrush or candida, garlic is a sure-fire way to improve your health.
There is also some research that shows that eating garlic may help to increase the weight of babies who are growing slowly in the womb.
A report in the journal Cancer revealed that garlic has proved helpful in cases of brain cancer. Three pure organo-sulphur compounds from garlic – DAS, DADS and DATS – “demonstrated efficacy in eradicating brain cancer cells, but DATS proved to be the most effective”.
Emory University School of Medicine revealed that diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack, and could be used as a treatment for heart failure.
Research from gynaecologists at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London showed that taking garlic during pregnancy can cut the risk of pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition affecting one in ten pregnant women and causing raised blood pressure and protein in the urine.
Because it is an anticoagulant, garlic might be helpful in preventing strokes by protecting against the blood clots that cause them. Allicin is the vital component of garlic which reacts with red blood cells and relaxes the blood vessels, helping blood to flow effectively.