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What Are The Benefits Of Garlic?

Garlic has been used around the world for thousands of years for both culinary and therapeutic purposes.  In medieval times, garlic was viewed as the poor man's panacea. The well-known Greek physician, Hippocrates, prescribed garlic for a wide-range of imbalances.  The science of today supports garlic’s long history of use; garlic has a wide-range of benefits when consumed both raw and cooked. 

Garlic has impressive antibiotic properties.  The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy cites diallyl sulfide, a compound found in garlic, to be 100 times more potent than two leading pharmaceutical antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacteria, which is one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.  Studies also support the use of garlic in the prevention of the common cold.  It is suggested that consuming garlic regularly may decrease both the frequency and duration of colds.  Garlic also has an affinity for the circulatory system.  It is used therapeutically to support heart health and studies show it may help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Recent studies show that garlic may help relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. 

When looking at garlic’s nutritional profile, it is no wonder this herb can be so beneficial!  Garlic is loaded with vitamins and minerals; it is high in manganese, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and other antioxidants.  One antioxidant that garners attention is allicin, due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  Allicin is a compound that is produced in garlic when it is chopped or crushed.  It is recommended to chop or crush garlic and then let it sit for 10 minutes before consuming (if you are going for the allicin benefits, raw is best!); in the presence of oxygen, an enzymatic reaction occurs in which allicin is produced. 

One of our customers, Denise, who is a nutritionist and holistic wellness coach, has a garlic recipe that is her go-to for all kinds of ailments. For the recipe, use 3-4 bulbs of garlic (double the amount if using organic).  Rinse the garlic, then put it in a pot of water, so that the water level is a couple inches above the garlic.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until soft.  Then pour off the water into a glass container and store the garlic in a glass container in the fridge.  Once the broth water has cooled a bit, you can drink it as a tea.  Eat the garlic over the course of a few days.  One of the more palatable ways to consume more garlic is to spread it on toast with some olive oil.  Denise suggests drinking some warm tea after consuming the garlic to hydrate yourself and aid in the process.  Check out Denise’s work here.  

Consider consuming garlic more regularly to prevent imbalances, keeping the above recipe in mind for the next time you aren’t feeling your best.  As always, seek care from a qualified practitioner to address your individualized healthcare needs.  

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