Garlic – Natures Super Hero!
The therapeutic qualities of garlic are nothing new. Sanskrit records reveal that garlic remedies were pressed into service in India 5,000 years ago, while Chinese medicine has recognised garlic’s powers for over 3,000 years. Although Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely superseded the use of garlic, World War One required more than was available and garlic was again, the antibiotic of choice.
So, what is it about garlic that makes it so great for our health? When cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulphur-bearing compound called allicin – the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it’s the allicin that scientists have discovered is the magic ingredient thought to be responsible for garlic’s therapeutic qualities.
- Garlic acts as an antiseptic and helps in curing wounds quickly.
- Garlic helps in fighting against inflammation and infection, including the flu, colds, coughs and viruses.
- Fresh, cooked or garlic capsules twice daily may help in lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. It increases the levels of high density lipoproteins, reduces harmful cholesterol in the blood and keeps arteries and heart healthy.
- Garlic thins the blood, reduces clotting and helps in controlling blood pressure and poor circulation.
- Garlic stimulates the body’s immune system and helps in fighting against various diseases.
- Garlic may prevent and relieve chronic bronchitis, respiratory problems, and catarrh.
- Garlic acts as a nasal decongestant and expectorant.
- Garlic works as a cleanser of the digestive system, helps in curing flatulence, kills internal parasites and is an excellent internal antiseptic.
If that’s not enough, just one clove a day will top up your body’s supplies of vitamins A, B and C, as well as a vast array of minerals including selenium, iodine, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
For some, garlic can be the cause of heartburn as well as flatulence. And then, of course, there is the smell that eating garlic leaves behind! For those who prefer their garlic odourless, or cannot source organic garlic, Go Vita has a range of garlic supplements.
If the taste is too overpowering, try mixing with plain yoghurt or cottage cheese. Chew parsley after eating garlic to help neutralise your breath.
When used in cooking, crush or cut the garlic finely, then leave for 10 minutes to allow the allicin to fully develop before adding to recipes. Add the garlic about five minutes before the end of cooking – this way you apply just enough heat to convert the allicin into medically active compounds.
Garlic can interact with anticoagulants, so if you take blood thinning medication or aspirin, talk to you doctor before taking supplements.