Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species of the onion genus, allium. It is native to central Asia, and was first used over 6,000 years ago for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Garlic has a characteristic pungent, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens with cooking. Garlic has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, and today is a fundamental ingredient for dishes all over Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America.
It is easy to grow, hardy, and not usually attacked by pests or diseases. In warm to mild climates it can be grown all year.
Stop garlic bad breath
Whilst a little garlic is delicious in many dishes, the smell of raw garlic or large quantities of cooked garlic has an unpleasant smell on the breath, that can linger for hours or days. In a person with healthy saliva glands, who drinks sufficient water, the smell can disappear quickly. Studies have shown that sipping milk at the same time as eating garlic can significantly neutralise the bad breath. It was more effective to mix the garlic with milk in the mouth before swallowing, than to drink the milk afterward. Plain water, mushrooms and basil may also reduce the odour.
Garlic's healing properties
Fresh garlic has many useful properties:
- Antibiotic (anti-bacterial) (8).
- Blood thinner. Use it to treat high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, dissolve blood clots, help prevent heart attacks and strokes (8).
- Expectorant, good for bronchial and pulmonary secretions.
- Immune stimulant.
- Cancer preventative. Regular use of garlic is associated with low rates of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. In countries with high garlic consumption, there is a lower prevalence of cancer (1).
- Cardiovascular health. A number of studies have found that garlic reduced the accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls (2, 3, 4).
- Sulphur source.
- Reduces platelet aggregation (5, 6).
- Gastric stimulant. Helps with digestion, acts as an anti-flatulent, carminative and diaphoretic.
- Testosterone. Garlic may boost testosterone in humans (7).
- Stimulates the kidneys and is diuretic in nature.
- Tonic for strength & vitality.
- Symbiotic. Garlic seems to increase the potency of whatever other remedies you combine it with.
Some, but not all of these properties are lost when garlic is cooked or boiled. The above properties and its high level of vitamin C make garlic an excellent home remedy for the common cold
Garlic tea recipe
Garlic tea recipe (believe or not, it tastes good):
Take a whole hand of garlic and cut it in half, cutting across the individual cloves. Chop them a few more times, pound them a
little with a rolling pin or in a large pestle and mortar.
Put the garlic in a pot with 2 litres (2 quarts) of water and simmer for at least an hour.
Sip the warm tea slowly
You can buy garlic oil capsules at most health food shops. However, they usually contain only a small amount of garlic oil mixed with a cheap and toxic preservative oil like soy oil. If you can find garlic oil blended with a safe oil like olive or macadamia oil, by all means use it. But otherwise you are better off making your own. Oh - also look out for any preservatives or other additives if you are buying garlic oil.
To make garlic oil, peel a couple of cloves of garlic and put them in a small mortar or some other strong container. Add a little olive or macadamia oil. Pound them with a pestle until they are thoroughly crushed and mixed. Scrape out the mixture and put it in a sieve. Let the garlic oil drain into a container. Keep the crushed garlic for cooking! If the garlic oil is not clear, gently drain it through a cloth.
Notice that the garlic oil was not heated. As heat destroys some of the healing properties of garlic, medicinal garlic oil should be made with raw garlic.
1. Teuscher E. Medicinal Spices. 2005 Stuttgart: Medpharm.
2. Sovova M., Sova P. (May 2004). Pharmaceutical importance of Allium sativum L. 5. Hypolipemic effects in vitro and in vivo (in Czech). Ceska Slov Farm 53 (3): 117-23
3. Durak I., Ozturk H.S,. Olcay E., Guven C. Effects of garlic extract supplementation on blood lipid and antioxidant parameters and atherosclerotic plaque formation process in cholesterol-fed rabbits. 2002, J Herb Pharmacother 2 (2): 19-32. doi:10.1300/J157v02n02_03
4. Durak I., Kavutcu M., Aytac B., et al. Effects of garlic extract consumption on blood lipid and oxidant/antioxidant parameters in humans with high blood cholesterol. June 2004, J. Nutr. Biochem. 15 (6): 373-7. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.01.005.
5. Rahman K. Effects of garlic on platelet biochemistry and physiology. November 2007, Mol Nutr Food Res 51 (11): 1335-44. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200700058
6. Chan K.C., Yin M.C., Chao W.J. Effect of diallyl trisulfide-rich garlic oil on blood coagulation and plasma activity of anticoagulation factors in rats. March 2007, Food Chem Toxicol 45 (3): 502-7. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2006.10.005
7. Oi Y., Imafuku M., Shishido C., Kominato Y., Nishimura S., Iwai K. Garlic supplementation increases testicular testosterone and decreases plasma corticosterone in rats fed a high protein diet. 2001, Journal of Nutrition 131 (8): 2150-6.
8. Golub C. Pungent, Powerful Garlic May Help Fight Infection, Heart Disease. Environmental Nutrition, December 1995. (18) 12. pp. 5-6.