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Garlic, More Than Just for Taste Alone

Garlic, that smelly little bulb, more than any other herb has played a major role in all cuisines of the world, and in the medicines of every great civilization. With such a reputation it’s not surprising that this humble vegetable continues to astound modern researchers.

Although small in size, the clove of garlic is a source of over 100 health-promoting compounds: 75 different organosulfur compounds (allicin being one of them), arginine, vitamins C, potassium and zinc, to name but a few. As with most whole foods, garlic’s health-promoting abilities are probably due to the sum of the whole, rather than a single component.

With that said, science has discovered some compounds are more abundant than others, and the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic appear to be responsible for many of its powers.

Studies indicate garlic protective against some cancers

A number of studies have reported on garlic’s ability to fight cancer, and research continues to find out just how. A review of more than thirty-five studies report some protective effect against cancer in about 75% of the published articles.

Garlic supports cardiovascular health

Garlic has gained lots of attention for its benefit to cardiovascular health. Specifically, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, raise levels of HDL cholesterol, improve triglyceride levels, reduce levels of heart-damaging homocysteine, inhibit blood clotting, improve blood pressure, reduce plaque formation, and protect against the damaging affect of free radicals and toxins such as cigarette smoke.

Powerful antibiotic activity

In the oldest records of medicine garlic has been used as an anti-infectious agent.

Four Thieves Vinegar was a concoction fed to condemned criminals in the 1700’s made of vinegar wine and crushed garlic. During the bubonic plague in 1721, as part of their death sentence, criminals were condemned to collect dead bodies and dig their graves. Surprisingly, the criminals avoided catching the plague due to the garlic concoction they drank!

Today, garlic has been the subject of many studies into its antibiotic and antiviral powers. Not surprising, garlic has been shown to defend against a host of pathogens. Even antibiotic-resistant strains of staphylococci have been no match for garlic.

How to buy garlic supplements

When purchasing garlic supplements look for a supplement that provides all the components of fresh garlic. Some odourless products have removed important constituents of the fresh bulb. Look for a supplement that guarantees potency.

Sources:

Budoff, Matthew, M.D. Enhancing Health
Health, Impakt Health, Boulder, CO, 2003
Sala, James, Ph.D., Prescription for Longevity, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1992
Pratt Steven, M.D., Super Foods Health Style, Harper Collins Publishers, NY, NY, 2006






 

 

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