Today in my OPD as I counselled one patient after another back to back, I also met this queer gentleman in his early forties. A visibly plump, sharp, interesting and well spoken man, the gentleman spoke about how his LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides have been fluctuating because of his erratic lifestyle and how he has learnt to manage them with something as simple as garlic cloves. He went on to emphasise how nature has a cure for most diseases which modern medicine fails to tackle.
Although my profession is aligned with modern medicine, everyone (and that includes physicians) handling patients with lifestyle diseases and metabolic disorders knows that cure for lifestyle diseases is eventually improving and working on your lifestyle. It also triggered me into writing about this wonderful modified root that is a powerhouse of protective elements… the humble GARLIC.
Garlic by classification is a herb and is used widely as a flavoring in cooking. It has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.Garlic belongs to the onion genus Allium, and is closely related to the onion, chive, leek, and shallot. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and was used in Ancient Egypt for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits.
Garlic is one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet. Today garlic is a widely recognized health enhancing supplement. Garlic promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s most potent health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.Garlic helps strengthen your body’s defenses against allergies; helps loosen plaque from the artery walls; helps regulate your blood sugar levels; and is the best choice for killing and expelling parasites such as pin worms from the human body.
Garlic as an antibiotic
The positive effect of garlic on your circulatory system is extremely well documented and it has been proved to:
- lower blood pressure
- decrease platelet aggregation. Garlic can thin the blood similar to aspirin.
- lower serum triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol ( the bad type) levels
- increase serum HDL-cholesterol (the good type)
- increase fibrinolysis (the process by which the body breaks up blood clots.)
As a result of these beneficial actions garlic helps to prevent arteriosclerosis and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. Two or three cloves a day can cut the risk of subsequent heart attacks in heart patients.
Garlic and Cancer
Current research shows that a number of readily available foods such as garlic and onions that make up a healthy diet, actually have a major impact on cancer prevention. These cancer fighting foods seem to have the ability to interfere with the development of cancerous tumors.
This remarkable little bulb of garlic now tops the American National Cancer Institute’s list of potential cancer-preventative foods. It contains multiple anticancer compounds and antioxidants, more than 30 at the last count, which such powerful compounds as quercetin, diallyl sulphide,allin and ajoene. These have the ability to block cancer causing agents such as nitrosamine and aflatoxin which have been specifically linked to stomach, lung and liver cancer.
Meat cooked at high temperatures (well done to burnt) can produce carcinogenic (cancer producing) chemicals and research has recently discovered that when meat is cooked with garlic this effect is limited.
Garlic- and the Immune System
Not surprisingly the presence of all these antioxidants in garlic have a very positive effect on the immune system in general and can therefore protect the body against all types of bacterial and viral attacks.
Garlic also acts as a good cold medication, decongestant and expectorant. It is a surprisingly good source of vitamins C, B6 and the minerals selenium and manganese all of which have long been associated with boosting the immune system.
Garlic-Promotes Weight Control
Allicin is the most potent substance found in garlic and this has been shown to not only lower blood pressure, insulin and triglyceride levels but also to prevent weight gain. The allicin in Garlic has a practical value for weight control.
Garlic Home Remedies: at home you can use the potent cloves of garlic for many benefits
Garlic is an invaluable medicine for asthma, hoarseness, coughs, difficulty of breathing, and most other disorders of the lungs, on account of its powers of promoting expectoration..
For ear infections: Wrap a small piece of garlic in some tissue, and insert it into the ear. Leave it there overnight if possible. Pain is almost immediately removed and the infection tends to start clearing up
For scratchy throats: Put a small slice of garlic in your mouth and suck on it for 10-15 minutes. The juice slides down your throat and removes the pain.
Garlic can heal the pain caused by insect bites like those of scorpions and centipedes. The juice of fresh garlic mixed with salt can be applied to bruises, sprains and ringworms.
At the first sign of a cold, chop up 4 cloves of raw garlic and eat or use it as a garnish in soups etc.
Cut raw garlic and rub the cut edge on the tooth and gums a couple of times a day to stop toothache.
Garlic to clear sinuses. Melt some butter and add minced garlic cloves, spread on toast and eat.
Use raw garlic juice on rashes and bug bites, it stops the itching immediately.
According to the National Library of Medicine3, part of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), USA, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), highcholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease and hypertension.
So go ahead include cooked and raw garlic in your every day diet and reap its amazing benefits.