Continuing the focus on ways to boost immunity, here’s some information on garlic that really helps highlight how amazingly beneficial it can be. It’s supposedly even one of the top anti-aging foods you can eat. Just wish it didn’t have such a strong, lingering odor associated with it, but then you can always resort to using garlic capsules, although I’m sure using fresh, raw cloves are better in many ways.
(from Medical Medium) Garlic is one of the world’s oldest medicines and is an incredibly potent spice that can ward off a variety of illnesses and diseases. It has amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and B-6, and minerals such as selenium, calcium, copper, and iron. Garlic also contains very strong antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and anti-viral properties. One raw crushed clove of garlic contains the antibiotic equivalent of 100,000 units of penicillin and has been proven to be more effective than both penicillin and tetracycline in suppressing certain types of disease carrying agents.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to help significantly lower cholesterol and blood pressure by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme within the liver cells and blocking platelet clot formation in the blood vessels. Garlic is also very good for the digestive tract and has a strong ability to eliminate toxic matter from the lymphatic system. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it vital for autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, lupus, fibromyalgia, lyme disease, bursitis, shingles, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Garlic is also particularly beneficial for ear infections, candida, bronchitis, respiratory infections, food poisoning, coronary artery disease, stroke, colds, flus, urinary tract infections, and weak immune systems. It can even help eliminate lead and other heavy metals from the body and is also a good remedy for removing parasites and worms from the colon. Garlic can be juiced with vegetables for a powerful immune boosting drink. When feeling under the weather consider eating 1-4 cloves of raw garlic a day by adding it to guacamole, soups, hummus, or crushed on toast with a little olive oil. If the flavor of garlic does not appeal to you, odor-free garlic capsules can be a great alternative and a way to still get the health benefits of this natural wonder.
PERSONAL NOTE: While it’s great to get your garlic in something tasty like hummus or guacamole, I read recently that if you are using it for medicinal purposes, you get more bang for your buck by eating it on an empty stomach. That way there’s no food to dilute its action or get in the way of its cleansing power.
And an article by April McCarthy from PreventDisease.com that focuses on how garlic is often more effective than antibiotics…..
Garlic Proven 100 Times More Effective Than Antibiotics,Working In A Fraction of The Time!
A significant finding from Washington State University shows that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria commonly responsible for foodborne illness.
Their work was published recently in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy a follow-up to the author’s previous research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology which conclusively demonstrated that garlic concentrate was effective in inhibiting the growth of C. jejuni bacteria.
Garlic is probably nature’s most potent food. It is one of the reasons people who eat the Mediterranean diet live such long healthy lives. Garlic is also a powerful performer in the research lab.
“This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply,” said Xiaonan Lu, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the paper.
One of the most interesting of the recent findings is that garlic increases the overall antioxidant levels of the body. Scientifically known as Allium sativa, garlic has been famous throughout history for its ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. Louis Pasteur noted in 1858 that bacteria died when they were doused with garlic. From the Middle Ages on, garlic has been used to treat wounds, being ground or sliced and applied directly to wounds to inhibit the spread of infection. The Russians refer to garlic as Russian penicillin.
“This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies,” said Michael Konkel, a co-author who has been researching Campylobacter jejuni for 25 years.
“Campylobacter is simply the most common bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the United States and probably the world,” Konkel said. Some 2.4 million Americans are affected every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with symptoms including diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.
The bacteria also are responsible for triggering nearly one-third of the cases of a rare paralyzing disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Diallyl disulfide is an organosulfur compound derived from garlic and a few other genus Allium plants. It is produced during the decomposition of allicin, which is released upon crushing garlic
Lu and his colleagues looked at the ability of diallyl sulfide to kill the bacterium when it is protected by a slimy biofilm that makes it 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than the free floating bacterial cell. They found the compound can easily penetrate the protective biofilm and kill bacterial cells by combining with a sulfur-containing enzyme, subsequently changing the enzyme’s function and effectively shutting down cell metabolism.
The researchers found the diallyl sulfide was as effective as 100 times as much of the antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin and often would work in a fraction of the time.
Two previous works published last year by Lu and WSU colleagues in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry found diallyl sulfide and other organosulfur compounds effectively kill important food-borne pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli O157:H7.
“Diallyl sulfide may be useful in reducing the levels of the Campylobacterin the environment and to clean industrial food processing equipment, as the bacterium is found in a biofilm in both settings,” Konkel said.
“Diallyl sulfide could make many foods safer to eat,” said Barbara Rasco, a co-author on all three recent papers and Lu’s advisor for his doctorate in food science. “It can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats.”
“This would not only extend shelf life but it would also reduce the growth of potentially bad bacteria,” she said.
The natural substance could also be derived without artificially introducing harmful chemicals to disrupt its disease-reducing abilities.
Ironically, many researchers think that antibiotics may be just one of several factors that contribute to intestinal blockage in young children.
April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.
And I just came across this list of 40 ways to use garlic put together by the folks at Swanson. Some of these I’d never heard of…..
Inventive Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Use Garlic:
- Many of garlic’s benefits come from the chemical allicin. Allicin is released when garlic is chopped, bruised or chewed.
- Antioxidants keep your immune system in check, helping to prevent colds.
- Garlic helps with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease and artery hardening.
- Get rid of cold sores by rubbing a slice of garlic on the area.
- Control your weight by eating a diet rich in garlic.
- Anti-fungal properties can help rid athlete’s foot by soaking feet in garlic water.
- Polysulfides in garlic are known to control blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory properties can help fight psoriasis. Rub the area with a slice of garlic.
- Garlic’s antioxidants kill bacteria, which can help to clear acne.
- Anti-inflammatory traits can help fight autoimmune disease.
- Research shows that consuming garlic is associated with a decrease in evidence of cancer.
- Promote healthy circulation.
- Fight inflammation in the throat by steeping raw, minced garlic in hot water, straining and drinking as tea. Add ginger, honey or sugar to make it tastier.
- High levels of iodine make garlic great for fighting hyperthyroid condition.
- Remove a splinter by placing a slice of garlic over the area and covering with a bandage.
- Prevent food poisoning. Antibacterial properties kill E.coli, salmonella, etc.
- Use garlic as fish bait. Certain species of fish are attracted to the scent.
- Protect your garden by making a natural pesticide out of garlic, mineral oil, water and liquid soap. Critters and pests don’t like garlic!
- Keeping garlic nearby is said to ward off mosquitoes… and vampires!
- High allicin levels in garlic have been said to prevent hair loss. Massage the scalp with garlic oil.
- Strengthen fingernails: Add chopped fresh garlic to a bottle of clear nail polish, let it sit for 7 to 10 days, then use on nails.
- Fight ear infections by rubbing garlic oil around the outside of the ear.
- Fill small cracks in glass by rubbing sticky garlic juice and wiping away the excess.
- Mix chopped garlic with vinegar and lemon juice and use as a disinfectant or cleaner.
- Cure your rose plant from aphid attacks by spritzing the leaves with a crushed garlic/water mix.
Tips & Fun Facts You Never Knew About Garlic
- Garlic is a member of the Lily family, and is closely related to onions, shallots, leeks and chives.
- Garlic was given to slaves who built the pyramids to enhance endurance & strength.
- Greek & Roman soldiers ate garlic before war.
- Garlic is most nutritious if you let it sit for 5-10 minutes before heating it. This gives the allicin a chance to get working.
- Garlic contains only 4 calories per clove.
- Add freshly chopped garlic near the end of your recipe. Heating it too much can reduce nutrients.
- April 19 is National Garlic Day.
- Garlic is a good source of manganese and vitamin B6. It also includes vitamin C and copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and calcium.
- China produces the most garlic worldwide.
- Garlic doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- There are 300 varieties of garlic grown worldwide.
- Botulism (a form of bacterial spores) can grow in homemade garlic oil. Prevent this by using it right away and making it fresh each time.
- Want to peel an entire head of garlic? Place it between two same-sized bowls or cups, and shake vigorously for roughly 30 seconds or until all cloves come loose from peels.
- Alliumphobia is the extraordinary fear of garlic.
- Common solutions to get rid of garlic breath include drinking water, eating mint leaves or using a salt or lemon rinse.
Awesome Garlicky Recipes to Try
- Garlic Avocado Dip
- 40 Cloves and a Chicken
- Pineapple-Garlic Upside Down Cake
- Easy Roasted Potatoes with Garlic
- Italian Chicken with Garlic and Lemon
More on garlic:
And a garlic soup recipe to keep away colds and flu:
Related Self-help Health posts:
FYI, you can get garlic in capsule or powder form at discount prices at Vitacost.com, one of my favorite on-line places to shop. iHerb.com is another good discount place to shop; use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get $10 off and free shipping, plus can take advantage of their wonderful Specials and Trial Offers sections.
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Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.