The more we learn about garlic, the more we see that a clove of garlic a
day will probably do more to keep the doctor away than the proverbial
apple. People have known of the healing powers of garlic since the
beginning of recorded history. The Egyptian slaves used it to prevent illness
and increase strength. The great Greek physician Hippocrates praised
garlic's healing properties. In Medieval Europe, four thieves used a mixture
of garlic and other herbs to ward off the plague while they robbed its victims.
Reportedly they were set free in exchange for the recipe.
In WWI Dr. E. E. Marcovici gave a bulb of garlic a day to his patients suffering from dysentery. The British also took advantage of garlic during the war, using it as a healing cover for the wounds of the front line men. Garlic juice was squeezed on pieces of moss and used to dress wounds. It is reported that no wound dressed in this manner ever became infected.
In modern scientific studies, garlic is proving its historical reputation.
Research has demonstrated that garlic is effective against bacterial, viral
and fungal infections. Studies have also demonstrated its usefulness in
combating heart disease. Garlic helps to lower high blood pressure and to
prevent (and possibly even reverse) hardening of the arteries. Research also
suggests garlic is useful for parasites and even cancer.
Louis Pasteur was the first scientist to use garlic in scientific experiments.
He found that by putting a bit of garlic in a petri dish full of bacteria,
that the bacteria quickly died. This experiment has been repeated by Dr.
Byron Murray who says that he has watched the allicin properties of garlic
kill 90% of a virus in a lab dish in thirty minutes. Studies done at the New
Jersey Medical University found that a half hour after eating garlic, a sample
of the person's blood would have the same destroying affect on bacteria in
a petri dish.
Taking a clove of garlic a day can not only help you rid your body of
bacteria and fungus, but it can also help prevent common heart diseases. The
average diet, high in fat and cholesterol, is causing diseases such as
atherosclerosis and hypertension. Studies show that when garlic is taken
with the typical fatty meal, the blood fat and cholesterol levels stay low as
compared to the sky-rocketing affect which occurs after a fatty meal minus
the garlic. In fact, taking garlic helps increase the HDL's or good fats in
How does garlic prevent heart disease?
The liver takes on the burden of cleaning the blood of fat and cholesterol. Garlic strengthens the liver's cleaning ability by stimulating the flow of bile. Garlic also interferes with the sulfur or thiol catalysts that aid the liver in making it's own fat and cholesterol. Therefore, the garlic helps the liver cut the fat and cholesterol two ways, one, by helping the liver take them from the blood, and two, by preventing the liver from making its own. The heart and the liver are stronger when they don't have the hardship of fats and cholesterols.
In India a study was done comparing the blood fat and cholesterol levels in three different groups of people. The first group consumed at least 17 garlic cloves weekly. The second group had no garlic in their diets. The third group fell between the two in garlic consumption. They found that the first group's fat and cholesterol levels were very low. The second group had high levels and the third group fell in between the two.
Garlic helps the heart in another way. It reduces the clotting ability of blood. Even the smallest of clots can prevent the free flow of blood, sometimes causing a stroke. Because people of today usually have blood that clots easier than it should, garlic is an excellent aid in preventing stroke.
Today's need for controlling the high rate of heart disease is coupled with
the need for an aid for the high rate of cancer. Cancer is caused by
prostaglandins which stimulate cell division. When prostaglandin is too
high, cells divide at a tremendous rate. Garlic aids the body's fight of cancer
by interfering with prostaglandins and keeping cell division at a regular
Garlic has been shown to inhibit and even reverse the growth of tumors.
The Chinese did a study of garlic's correlation to stomach tumors. They
questioned the people of two cities, Cangashan and Qixia. The Cangshans
ate four cloves of garlic per day and had a rate of 3 people with stomach
tumors per 100,000 people. In Qixia, the people rarely ate garlic. They had
a rate of 40 people with stomach tumors per 100,000 people.
There are many suggestions as to how much garlic to take daily. With
garlic, it seems the larger the amounts the larger the affect, but Dr. Robert
Lin feels that just one clove a day will bring about desired health benefits.
People with stomach problems and hernias should be careful taking large
amounts of garlic.
When studying garlic, the USDA stopped the research even though the
findings were very positive, because they decided that Americans would
never accept constant garlic breath. Yet many societies have taken garlic
into their lifestyle with only positive affects. Will we give up the stigma of
garlic? The knowledge of garlic's strength in killing bacteria and fungi, of
garlic's ability to help the body prevent heart disease and of garlic's slowing
affect on cancer and tumor cells, could add to our garlic desires. But maybe
just a hot slice of garlic bread could help us change our minds.
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