Garlic – The Herbal Wonder

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Garlic is a wonderful and amazing healing herb. In the genus Allium, garlic is undoubtedly the most powerful healer. It is also the herb which has been the most researched for its healing properties. Onions, scallions, chives, shallots and leeks are also valuable healers but are lower in healing value. Modern researchers have ratified these claims by the traditional herbalists. Onions though, have almost the same medicinal values as garlic.

Hippocrates recommended garlic in wounds, infections, cancer, leprosy and problems related to digestion. The Greek physician, Dioscorides recommended it for heart ailments. Pliny, the Roman author and naturalist listed garlic as a remedy, from the simple common cold to tapeworm infestation and advanced diseases like epilepsy, cancer and leprosy. Greek and Roman physicians loved to treat with garlic. Modern science today supports many of these uses due to the large volume of scientific evidence. Therefore garlic can rightly be called the herbal wonder.

A Powerful Antibiotic

Garlic was successfully used to treat infected wounds and amoebic dysentery during World War I. This was due to its antibacterial and antiprotozoan properties. This confirmed thousands of years of herbal tradition. Garlic’s broad spectrum antibiotic effects have been validated in dozens of studies on animals and humans. Garlic kills bacteria that cause tuberculosis, food poisoning and bladder infections. It is also effective in treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot and vaginal yeast infections. Garlic may also be of help in infections by the influenza virus.

Heart Disease And Stroke

None of the standard medicines can act on a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors simultaneously, as garlic. Drugs for lowering blood pressure do not decrease cholesterol and vice versa while those that reduce the chances for internal blood clots which trigger heart attacks and strokes do not lower blood pressure or cholesterol. In fact, each drug is disease specific even under the common umbrella of cardiovascular risks. But garlic acts on all these at the same time due to the presence of the chemicals, allicin and ajoene, in it.

Various studies show that garlic lowers blood pressure. Other journal reports show that it reduces cholesterol. The British medical journal Lancet, reports that, in an experiment, researchers had volunteers eat a meal containing about 4 ounces of butter, which raises cholesterol. Half the group also ate 9 cloves of garlic. After 3 hours, the average cholesterol in the non garlic group increased by 7 percent. But in the garlic group, cholesterol decreased by 7 percent. The researchers concluded that garlic protects against high cholesterol.

Garlic also helps prevent blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes. One researcher called it “at least as potent as aspirin” which is used as a drug to keep blood thin and prevent clots.

Diabetes

Garlic has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in humans. There is no harm in increasing your intake of garlic in addition to the standard medication one is taking.

Cancer

Evidence suggests that garlic plays a role in cancer prevention. The journal Science reports that mouse tumor cells were split into 2 groups. One group was left alone while the other was treated with allicin. Then both tumor cells were injected into mice. The untreated tumor cells caused all the mice to die while in the mice that received the treated tumor cells there were no deaths. Other animal studies done since then have shown similar results.

A study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that garlic may help prevent human stomach cancer. Researchers analysed the diets of 1800 Chinese. Of these 1800 people, 685 had stomach cancer. Those with stomach cancer ate considerably less garlic, making them conclude that garlic “can significantly reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

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