Thursday, August 4, 2016

Garlic: The Wonder Drug

As I'm sure you know, garlic is a strong-smelling pungent tasting bulb, closely related to the onion, that is frequently used in cooking.  What you may not know about is it's powerful fungal fighting, skin clearing, health boosting properties that have been used often in herbal medicine.  With a history of human consumption and use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used both for food flavoring and traditional medicine.

garlic bulb cloves chopped cutting board

"The use of garlic in China dates back to 2000 BC.  It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes (Virgil, Ecologues ii. 11), and, according to Pliny the Elder (Natural History xix. 32), by the African peasantry. Galen eulogized it as the "rustic's theriac" (cure-all) (see F. Adams' Paulus Aegineta, p. 99), and Alexander Neckam, a writer of the 12th century (see Wright's edition of his works, p. 473, 1863), discussed it as a palliative for the heat of the sun in field labor. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate (Theophrastus, Characters, The Superstitious Man). According to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths.
In his Natural History, Pliny gives a list of scenarios in which garlic was considered beneficial (N.H. xx. 23). Dr. T. Sydenham valued it as an application in confluent smallpox, and, says Cullen (Mat. Med. ii. p. 174, 1789), found some dropsies cured by it alone.
Garlic was rare in traditional English cuisine (though it is said to have been grown in England before 1548) and has been a much more common ingredient in Mediterranean Europe.[citation needed] Translations of the c. 1300 Assize of Weights and Measures indicate a passage as dealing with standardized units of garlic production, sale, and taxation—the hundred of 15 ropes of 15 heads each—but the Latin version of the text refers to herring rather than garlic.  Garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World Wars I and II."

historical garlic stinking rose bulbs

Now you're probably wondering, "Well, what makes garlic work so well that 3 cloves is equivalent to a dose of penicillin?"   Well garlic produces a chemical called allicin. This is what seems to make garlic work for certain conditions. Allicin also makes garlic smell. Some products are made "odorless" by aging the garlic, but this process can also make the garlic less effective. It's a good idea to look for supplements that are coated (enteric coating) so they will dissolve in the intestine and not in the stomach.

garlic antioxidants anti bacterial anti inflammatory infections

"If garlic had been created in the laboratory instead of by nature, it would probably be a high price prescription drug." (Nutrition Reporter, 2005)

"From Curing a cold to easing asthma, garlic is proving to be a drug-free route to health." – Jane Clarke – The Times

“Garlic is one of the richest sources of organic selenium and germanium. Together, garlic’s disclosed and yet undiscovered nutrients combine to make it one of the best nutritional spices in the world.” German Journal of Oncology, April 1989

garlic plant anatomy labeled

  • During the dark ages, people trusted Garlic to ward off the plague and wore garlands of garlic for protection
  • Roman soldiers on long marches ate daily to keep them healthy
  • The Soviet Army relied on garlic juice to prevent wounds turning septic during World Wars 1 & 2, when it earned the nickname Russian Penicillin
    Eleanor Roosevelt swallowed three chocolate covered garlic pills each morning to improve her memory.
  • In the 1950s while working as a missionary in Africa, Dr Albert Schweitzer used it to treat cholera, typhus and amoebic dysentery.
  • You should plant garlic near roses to enhance their scent
  • Plant garlic near fruit trees to keep greenfly away
  • Garlic was entombed with King Tut
  • The longest string of garlic in the world was 123 feet long with 1600 garlic bulbs

garlic health benefits

More resources:

The World's Healthiest Foods-Garlic

Medical News Today

Natural Society-Benefits of Garlic

Home Remedies for Life-How to Use Garlic for Acne

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