Health benefit of garlic: By Dr Maryamawit Yonathan

Garlic was and is used in almost all cultures and kitchens. It has always been used not only as a seasoning ingredient, but also medically. It is well known that garlic keeps blood, heart and vessels healthy. Far less well-known is the fact that garlic disinfects the intestine and can have amazing effects on diabetes and even cancer. Meanwhile, a series of scientific studies confirms the long-standing field of application of the tasty miracle tuber called garlic, which has proven itself in natural medicine.

Garlic: used for millennia

It is believed that the original garlic was cultivated in Central Asia about 5,000 years ago and from there finally came to Europe via the Near East.

Egypt, for example, was considered to be the garlic land of antiquity. There, the tuber was considered a sacred plant and given to the Pharaohs as grave goods on their last journey. The pyramid builders also received raw onions and garlic to maintain their health and strength.

In China, it was known to use the garlic since 2000 before Christ. The Chinese script represents the word for garlic, suan, by a single sign – an indication of its frequent use since the beginning of language development.

When Roman doctors came to a new land, they planted garlic first. In addition to its many other uses, the tuber also served the Roman soldiers on their long marches as a remedy for athlete’s foot .

But wherever garlic was planted and applied medically, its main uses were almost the same: indigestion, respiratory disease, all kinds of infections, snake bites, worm infestations, and general debility.

In the Middle Ages, garlic was also used against the plague and other infectious diseases, and later against scurvy and rheumatism.

Garlic: Immoral but effective
The desire to love is also to incite the garlic according to medieval monastic medicine, which gave him at the time an extremely immoral image.

So the relationship to garlic in the past was a split, even if for quite different reasons than nowadays, where rather the typical garlic taste divides people into two camps.

But all this does not change the now scientifically proven healing effects of the aromatic tuber.

Incidentally, the first scientific evidence of its strong antibacterial effect dates back to 1858, namely by Louis Pasteur himself – the world-famous microbiologist, who made a name for himself in particular in the field of vaccine research.

Garlic: Allicin protects against free radicals
Although its positive effects on health are certainly ultimately due to the overall composition of all ingredients, the sulfur compound allicin is especially considered as the substance to which the garlic owes not only its smell, but even its main effect.

Allicin is present in garlic initially in its precursor “alliin”. Only when the garlic cells are damaged by peeling, cutting or hacking, an enzyme called alliinase is released, which reacts under the influence of air instantly with the alliin present in the clove of garlic. From this reaction arises allicin.

Allicin in the blood increases the level of the two antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase. In this way, more free radicals can be trapped and damage to the cell membranes can be avoided. The aging process is thereby slowed down.

Garlic prevents thrombosis and stabilizes blood pressure
Also aging processes of the vascular system (arteriosclerosis) can be contained with the garlic. In addition, it improves the flow properties of the blood, dilates and relaxes the vessels and thus contributes to a normalization of excessive blood pressure.

It is also worth noting the better supply of the cells of the brain and the fundus by the vasodilator action of allicin, which should not be uninteresting with regard to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cataracts and cataracts.

Also, saponins in garlic, phytochemicals with positive influences on the regulation of blood lipids (cholesterol). They thus contribute to an improved blood flow and an increased elasticity of the vessels.

Ajoen is also a sulfur compound in garlic. It naturally dilutes the blood by breaking down the coagulant fibrin.

With the help of all these different substances, garlic can counteract blood clots and prevent thrombosis and strokes – unlike blood-thinning medications in a very natural way and without side effects.

Garlic: Natural antibiotic
Even in the Talmud is written to the garlic: “He makes the face radiant, he multiplies the sperm, and he kills small creatures in the intestines.”

No wonder, garlic is traditionally used in intestinal problems (flatulence, fermentation processes and spasmodic pain) as well as colds or flu.

In particular, allicin and the sulfur compounds resulting from it have germicidal properties by being able to combat all sorts of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites (bacteria – eg Borrelia, viruses, fungi, amoebae, worms), without, on the other hand, the beneficial intestinal bacteria attack.

Garlic can thus be called a natural antibiotic , which promotes the preservation of healthy intestinal flora in contrast to chemical antibiotics. Since the intestinal flora accounts for most of the human immune system, garlic thus simultaneously contributes to strengthening the immune system.

An intact intestinal environment also allows for better absorption and utilization of nutrients, which means that more “useful” cells reach the cells, which ultimately benefits the entire organism.

Garlic is even better in some cases than antibiotics, eg. For example, if bacteria are already antibiotic-resistant:

Garlic for urinary tract infections
One study showed that aqueous garlic extracts could kill bacteria that had already developed resistance to antibiotics. Since these bacteria can cause urinary tract infections – which affects millions of people every year – it is extremely important to find alternatives here. Garlic could provide the basis for such an alternative. And, of course, garlic can also be taken by anyone (in addition to D-mannose ) who suffers from urinary tract infections and wants to speed healing.

Garlic in cancer prevention and cancer therapy
The cancer-inhibiting properties of garlic are no longer only attributed to him, but have now been confirmed by a series of studies (eg Mirelman, David (2005): Apoptotic killing fo B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia tumor cells in allicin generated in situ using a rituximab-alliinase conjugate ).

Also, the sulfur compounds are primarily responsible for the anti-cancer effects of garlic. Thus, the conversion of allicin produces two fat-soluble substances: diallyl sulfide (DAS) and diallyl disulfide (DADS).

According to current knowledge, it is assumed that these sulfur compounds of garlic intervene especially in two of the processes occurring during tumor formation:

On the one hand, they reduce the reactivity of carcinogenic substances and accelerate their elimination, so that the DNA (genetic material) is less damaged. On the other hand, they are able to disrupt the growth of cancer cells and thus induce their cell death through apoptosis (suicide). They counteract the spread of tumors.

Specifically, the anti-cancer effects of garlic have been demonstrated for colorectal cancer, gastric and esophageal cancer, lung and breast cancer.

Thus, with regard to lung cancer, for. For example, listen to at least two Chinese studies. Both garlic and green tea could therefore serve as protective factors in this cancer. The scientists said that garlic and green tea seemed to compensate in some way for the negative effects of typical lung cancer risk factors (smoking, eating fried foods, etc.).

Also in the treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostate enlargement garlic preparations have long been used. One justifies the positive influences of prostate cancer here with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and general anti-cancer effect.

Garlic protects the liver
Garlic also counteracts the wear and tear of the liver by strengthening its cell walls and supporting the organ in its detoxification function.

So the tuber z. B. in heavy metal poisoning (mercury, cadmium) are used or mitigate the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

Garlic in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
The traditional Chinese medicine confirms – like many other naturopathic healing methods as well – the mentioned effects of the garlic.

Roughly speaking, TCM classifies the different foods according to their taste and their temperature behavior.

Garlic is assigned to the flavor “spicy”. The pungent taste dissolves, among other things, stagnation of blood and qi (energy), dispels external pathogenic (pathogenic) factors, opens the pores and induces sweating.

The temperature behavior of garlic is warm to hot, ie it is able to drive away invaded cold and to heat “the middle”. At the same time, foods with warm or hot temperature behavior allow blood and Qi (energy) to circulate better.

This makes it even more comprehensible why garlic, with its combination of “hot / hot and spicy”, is particularly well suited for treating colds and improving the vascular situation.

It is also understandable that just because of this combination of “sharpness and heat” garlic is not necessarily suitable for everyone and in every situation.

Thus, the use of garlic is only indicated for those colds, flu infections, etc., that are not associated with fever.

Apart from the acute fever, Chinese medicine also knows other disharmony patterns, which are already based on too much heat in the body anyway (eg “moist heat in the bile”). In these, the regular consumption of garlic would rather cause an aggravation of the symptoms.

Does garlic have side effects?
Side effects are generally not to be feared when using garlic in the usual way in the kitchen. Only when eating very large quantities are gastrointestinal upsets possible.

“The dose makes the poison” applies here as for any herb, spice or other food. If you do not like garlic partout, you should keep your hands off it – maybe this aversion is not without reason.

People who are already taking anticoagulant drugs should be wary of eating garlic regularly, as well as people with low blood pressure.

In disorders of the pancreas or kidney disease high garlic consumption is also not indicated.

Garlic: fresh or capsules?
The strong smell of garlic, which is intended as protection against predators, also makes many people shy away from eating.

However, people who are still inclined to the tuber, but with regular consumption to fear for their social contacts. The question is, whether it necessarily be the fresh tuber, or whether garlic preparations do not have a similar effect – without the obligatory side effect of the “garlic flag”.

Here opinions differ. On the one hand, it is said that Garlicdragees fresh garlic is not inferior in its overall effect.

On the other hand, there are voices, freshly crushed garlic is the best supplier of active ingredients and therefore dietary supplements in any case preferable.

The main ingredient of garlic, allicin, is a very unstable compound that is rapidly converted into more or less complex sulfur compounds. So one can easily imagine that any form of further processing of garlic, whether by heating, freeze-drying, steam distillation o. Ä. Influenced the mode of action of the contained allicin.

It should also be remembered that the conversion of alliin into allicin is accomplished by an enzyme (alliinase). However, enzymes become inactive or destroyed at too high as well as too low temperatures.

Tests have shown that the amount of allicin released from dietary supplements can vary between 0.4 and 6.5 mg depending on the manufacturer – which, of course, represents a very wide range.

For the use of fresh garlic, this means that you should eat it raw, if you want to get the full benefit of all its effects. The daily dose is on average a clove of garlic.

When cooking, garlic should be given to the food only at the end. Oil increases the effectiveness of garlic.

Garlic banner no thanks?
When fresh garlic is not an option for the environment, one should be interested in the method of preparation of the garlic preparation in question and preferably select garlic dry powder preparations which still contain all the original ingredients and not just individual ingredients isolated from the garlic are.

A guarantee for the highest possible amount of effective allicin, however, is probably only with fresh consumption – provided the garlic was stored accordingly.

According to star chef Alfons Schuhbeck, ginger is able to buffer the odor-causing effect of garlic. He adds a slice of ginger to each garlic-flavored dish, as he believes the positive qualities of both spices are mutually reinforcing.

Also parsley, milk or lemon are often mentioned as a remedy for garlic smell. Ultimately, however, there is probably no one hundred percent remedy, as the garlic smell not only flows out of the mouth, but ultimately all skin pores of the body.

Proper storage of garlic
Garlic bulbs should be stored in the kitchen cool and dry, in the summer in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.

After the onset of a tuber, it should be used up within 10 days, so that the individual toes do not dry out. Basically, the fresher and juicier, the better.

A good storage option is also the insertion of garlic in oil.

Garlic oil for flavoring food
Peel two garlic bulbs to make garlic oil, cut into toes and skin them. The skinned toes are then placed in a screw-cap and filled with a good olive oil.

You can add some peppercorns or small chili peppers if you wish. The oil is allowed to stand for three to four days, after which you can use the flavored oil for salads and food.

Garlic in medicine chest
Of course, the use of garlic with all its healing effects, especially in the medicine cabinet offers:

Garlic for cough, runny nose, hoarseness
At the first sign of a cold, keep a peeled garlic clove in your mouth until it has no taste; then spit it out and repeat the procedure twice more. The antibacterial agents of garlic pass into the saliva and can be absorbed there.

Other remedies for colds and flu infections are the following:

Garlic Juice Alternative 1
Mix a pressed toe with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp honey and take this juice up to five times a day.

Garlic Juice Alternative 2
Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and bring to boil with 4 tablespoons of honey in 250 ml of water. The juice must then draw for 3 hours and should then be taken daily with 3 teaspoons.

Sour garlic paste
Peel 3 cloves of garlic, squeeze and mix with 15 ml of rice vinegar. Take it all at once. Then you should go to bed to sweat.

Garlic in case of bacterial diarrhea
Peel 1 tuber of garlic and cut into toe, cook with 3 slices of fresh ginger in ½ liter of water. Strain and sip warm in small sips.

The garlic and lemon cure for arteriosclerosis
30 peeled garlic cloves and 5 unpeeled, hot washed and cut into pieces organic lemons are well crushed in the blender, possibly adding some water. Carefully heat this slurry with water (not more than 1 liter of water should be used) to 60-70 ° C. After cooling, place in a glass jar while still warm and store in a refrigerator.

Of these you drink a glass of schnapps daily. First perform the treatment for two or three weeks, then pause for eight days and then continue for a two- to three-week period. This run can be repeated once or twice a year.

The garlic smell and taste is softened by the lemon.

Garlic patches against corns or warts
Place 1 slice of a clove of garlic on the eye of the corn before going to bed and fix it with a plaster, leave to soak overnight. The next morning take a hot foot bath and continue the treatment until the corn peel off.

Garlic for sciatica and lumbago
Garlic unfolds externally not only in corns and warts its beneficial effects, but even more problems. Possible applications include ear infections, rheumatism, sciatica and lumbago , headaches, skin plaques and insect bites.

To do this, make a porridge made from pressed garlic and olive oil, rubbing the sore spots before going to bed. Then you wrap a cloth over it and let the fragrant edition work overnight.

When used externally, however, remember that garlic may cause skin reactions such as redness, burning or blistering on prolonged contact. Therefore, use the garlic sparingly and carefully, just as you do it internally.

Garlic: a miracle cure?
The list of all the positive effects of garlic on health is impressive, is not it? However, it is true that the consumption of garlic alone can not prevent all diseases outright, let alone reverse existing pathological processes.

If the other diet or lifestyle leaves something to be desired in every corner, even such a “super-tuber” is powerless. But the synergy effects resulting from the combination of healthy lifestyle and the regular consumption of garlic are certainly not to be underestimated .