One of the most commonly used cooking spices, garlic has more purposes than just being used in the kitchen. The common herb is a member of the Allium genus and has high concentrations of sulfur that make it an effective health remedy. From reducing inflammation to eliminating infection, the number of health benefits garlic possesses are seemingly limitless.
What is Garlic?
Garlic is an herb from which the leaves, seeds and flowers are used in flavoring food as well as making medicine. The herb has even been used in cosmetics, perfumes and dyes.
A member of the Allicae family, garlic is closely related to chives, leeks, and onions. An edible herb, the most common form of garlic is the traditional bulb of garlic cloves from which the bulb itself is used.
Historically speaking, garlic was first used in ancient Egypt; however, its use has spread worldwide today. This history also secured the herb as a dual-purposed plant with functions in the culinary arts as well as the medicinal world.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has a varied history of use and has been applied in numerous ways to benefit the health. Its innate composition make it an effective remedy for a variety of conditions, yet the herb can also be used to prevent a number of health problems as well.
Garlic possesses a number of active components that make it an effective health treatment. Allin, allicin, allinase and several unique sulfur compounds present in garlic give the herb its potent medical affects. These elements make garlic a powerful antibiotic, anti-viral and a fungicide.
As such, garlic is considered a “superfood” capable of treating a range of conditions. The herb effectively treats high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory infection, sore throat, bacterial vaginosis and a variety of other conditions. The treatment is also effective for preventing a range of conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
With its wide range of applications, garlic has purposes that extend far beyond culinary creations. Garlic is a potent herb with a variety of active compounds that reduce inflammation, fight infection and regulate the cardiovascular system.
History of Garlic
Garlic has a long history in folklore as a protector from disease and evil spirits (such as vampires). For these reasons, garlic is not only consumed as a healthy food and medicine but it is also worn to fight various ills. Many native cultures throughout the Caribbean use garlic in religious rituals and divinations. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used garlic in infectious diseases and particularly prescribed it for intestinal disorders.
12th century German mystic Hildegarde von Bingen recommended simmering garlic in water for twenty minutes and drinking the “tea” for bronchial problems like asthma. This treatment is still in use in many cultures. Three cloves of garlic in boiling water is also recommended as a topical cure for athlete’s foot. Additionally, garlic was used extensively in the battlefields during World War I (1914-1918) to treat and dress wounds and infections. Being a natural antibiotic and widely available, it was the most effective antiseptic available at the time.
HEALING POWERS OF GARLIC:
Garlic has been used in herbal medicine to treat asthma, deafness, leprosy, bronchial, congestion, hardening of arteries, fevers, worms and liver and gall bladder trouble. Herbal books list it being useful in Leucoderma, leprosy, piles, worms, catarrhal disorders and cough. Additionally, it is reported that garlic is good for the heart, stimulates appetite, and is an energy tonic.
Garlic’s unpleasant odor is due to its sulphur content. This mineral is contained to a greater degree in its volatile oil, which has remarkable medicinal virtues.
Juice of garlic has a most beneficial effect on the entire system as it helps dissolve an accumulation of mucus in the sinus cavities, bronchial tubes and the lungs. It also helps expel poison from body through pores of the skin.
Garlic is a gastric stimulant & helps with digestion.
* It acts as an anti flatulent, carminative and diaphoretic.
* It stimulates the kidneys and is diuretic in nature.
* It is a tonic, giving strength & vitality
* It is an expectorant having a special effect on the bronchial and pulmonary secretions.
* It is beneficial for eyes & brain.
* It helps to heal fractured bones
* It is a great antiseptic.
* It has allicin, which has the property to destroy germs which are not killed by penicillin. As such, it is a very powerful germicidal.
* It rehabilitates sexual malfunctions.
* It improves functional activity of heavy smokers.
* Half a raw garlic clove a day can increase body activity to dissolve blood clots, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes.
* A couple of raw garlic cloves daily can bring blood cholesterol levels down in heart patients.
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