I LOVE Garlic so I was very pleased to see this article in my inbox, from Alex Ortner of Raw for Thirty Days
Published Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
by Alex Ortner
I have a confession to make, and it stinks a little: I have a garlic addiction.
Maybe the word addiction is a bit strong, much like the pungent bulb itself, but it comes closest to capturing just how much I crave garlic in nearly everything I eat.
Here’s the thing: my love for garlic isn’t just for the zing it adds to my meals; it has just as much to do with how amazingly good it is for your body.
You’ve probably heard this before, and have no doubt seen dozens of garlic supplements on the shelves of your local health food store or supermarket. That’s all thanks to the avalanche of research that has emerged in the last 20 years or so touting its amazing health benefits.
That said, there are still those who question just how big of an impact it can have on your overall health. I’m not one of them, and I actually think the wealth of scientific investigation out there simply proves what traditional healers have known for centuries upon centuries: that garlic doesn’t just taste good, it’s one of most potent and versatile medicines that nature produces.
The History of Garlic
One of the earliest instances of garlic being used as something more than a culinary delight seems to have occurred over 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt, where statues and paintings of garlic bulbs were found in the tombs of the pharaohs such as Tutankhamen, known as King Tut. It is said to have been fed the slaves who built the pyramids to give them strength and boost their immune system, and its healing properties were documented in ancient papyrus listing it as a cure for more than 20 ailments.
A thousand years later, it appears in the history of both Chinese and Indian medicine, being used as a detoxifier and as a treatment for heart and blood health. Fast forward several centuries and it’s again being used as a remedy, this time across the waters in England of the 1600s. Here, it was known as “poor man’s treacle” and regarded as a remedy for diseases and conditions of all types. This rich history has made it one of the world’s oldest and most well regarded folk remedies on every continent.
But What is it Really Good For?
As you know, the advent of modern science and medicine has brought with it a widespread disregard for these traditional remedies, although many researchers have taken to their labs to figure out just why they were used so readily and for so long. Here’s what they’ve uncovered so far:
Garlic has anti-cancer properties
Although it’s nowhere close to being considered a cure, there are numerous studies which have shown how garlic can slow the growth of cancer cells: a 1997 study at the West Virginia School of Medicine found that the ingestion of garlic slowed the growth of bladder cancer in lab mice; similarly, a study done at Kansai Medical University in 2011 found that garlic compounds inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
There’ve been many, many more studies like this and although researchers have yet to make a conclusive link between garlic and cancer prevention – there are indeed many other factors to consider such as the overall diet and environment of the subjects of these studies – it’s hard not to see these findings as some confirmation of what traditional healers have known for centuries. Indeed, no less than the legendary Greek physician Hippocrates (from whom the Hippocratic Oath was derived) prescribed garlic for the treatment of cancerous growths.
Garlic can lower your blood pressure
The chemical that is responsible for the “memorable” smell of garlic is allicin, which is released when garlic is cut, chopped or crushed. One of the compounds that is produced by this chemical chain reaction is hydrogen sulphide that is a tremendous aid in blood flow. This means more oxygen and less pressure for and on your heart.
Is it any coincidence that garlic was used in ancient China as a blood thinner?
Garlic is Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Microbial
Take a closer look at any injury or ailment the body is suffering with and you’re likely to find some form of inflammation. It’s a natural response that can often run amok and become a source of many health issues itself – everything from heart disease to allergies to digestive problems. Amazingly, but perhaps not unexpectedly, garlic has been shown in studies to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Finally, you’ve probably been told by friends or family to eat some raw garlic at the onset of a cold or a sore throat. That’s because of garlic’s anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, which have been shown to have an effect on diseases as horrendous as TB!