There’s an old saying that “Garlic is as good as ten mothers.” Packed full of natural antibiotics, garlic has been called “Nature’s Penicillin” because of its infection-fighting properties. Even more amazing, it doesn’t carry any of the dangers of pharmaceuticals. You’ll never hear a commercial for garlic closing with a long list of potential side effects—even if its smell threatens our sociability for a few hours. Small price to pay when considering the plentiful rewards of this incredible food.
Garlic Health Benefits
Garlic health benefits have been highly lauded since ancient times in countries the world over. Sages throughout history considered it a “theriac” or “heal all” herb. Here are just a few garlic health benefits:
1. Circulatory booster
Garlic stimulates the entire circulatory system, regulating blood pressure and preventing clots. This enhanced blood flow spreads vitality throughout the body, benefiting every other system.
Garlic is an incredible cancer fighter, thanks to its high allicin, or sulfur, content. Sulfur, as one of the world’s best minerals for transporting oxygen, aids in healing by providing the “breath of life” where it’s needed for healing.
3. Immunity Booster
Garlic offers a powerful boost to the immune system. When consumed in the early stages of an illness, it has the capacity to prevent the sickness from taking hold.
4. Anti-inflammatory and Anti-fungal
Garlic is effective at reducing fevers and inflammation. It also works to eliminate fungal infections. Historically, it’s even been applied as a poultice to the bottoms of the foot in cases of smallpox with good results.
According to Dr. Edward Shook, British doctors in the first world war made zealous use of garlic with triumphant results. In 1916, the government offered a shilling for a pound of garlic, with no limit to how much they’d pay for the bulbs.
According to Dr. Shook, the garlic controlled suppuration in wounds with great efficacy. The raw juice mixed with water was put on sterilized sphagnum peat moss and applied to a number of different types of wounds with the result of not a single case of sepsis taking hold. There’s no telling the number of lives saved in this manner, considering how this one miracle plant may have shortened the duration of the war.
Garlic’s Nutritional Value
Nutritionally, garlic health benefits pack quite a punch. Here’s a list of its nutritional benefits as listed by the USDA.
Garlic provides folates, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, electrolytes, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, beta carotene, crypto-xanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin.
To enjoy the garlic health benefits, it’s important to know that the nutritional constituents require activation before cooking. To simply add garlic to a recipe doesn’t mean you’ll be availing yourself of this incredible creation. Instead, minced garlic needs to wait at least ten minutes before being subjected to heat to prevent loss of those vital properties that make it a miracle plant.
Probably the most potent way to consume garlic is raw, although it will keep friends and loved ones at bay. Another effective remedy is to insert a cut clove of garlic so it fits in the ear like a hearing aid. The powerful antibiotic properties can heal a multitude of illnesses. According to Hsu Wei-Cheng of Inner Mongolia Medical College, the use of fresh garlic in a clinical setting worked to repair eardrum perforations.
Many others have found that using garlic in the ear, either by using the clove method or using garlic oil, is an effective remedy for both ear infections and sinus problems, since the ear canal connects to the rest of the nasal cavities. It’s a simple, painless method that works surprisingly well.
Another great way to use garlic is by mincing it, pouring vinegar over it, and letting it steep for several days, shaking once a day. When the spent garlic is strained out, the remaining garlic vinegar works sensationally for a variety of ailments and skin conditions, and with only the side effect of smelling like a spaghetti factory.
Uses for Garlic
Garlic’s uses are many and varied. From pungent spaghetti to piquant salsas, garlic’s colorful flavor can be found in almost everything ethnic, and it always seems native to whatever country claims it at the moment. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy garlic:
1. Garlic bread
Simply smear an open-faced loaf of bread cut lengthwise with a generous slather of butter, then sprinkle minced garlic along with freshly cut thyme and basil. Toast under the broiler just until the butter is melted and the bread turns golden on the edges.
2. Chili/Taco flavoring
For homemade southwest flavoring without the pre-made packet, simply mix red chili powder, a minced clove of garlic, cumin, lemon juice, and a dash of cayenne. It’s great in anything from refried beans to enchiladas.
Whether you’re making southern refrigerator pickles or Korean kimchi, any fermented food is enhanced by the inclusion of garlic.
4. Roasted Garlic
Although garlic prepared this way doesn’t make use of all garlic health benefits, it’s a tantalizing treat spread on a piece of toast. Simply place whole bulbs of garlic in a greased muffin tin and drizzle them with olive oil and salt. Bake them for an hour at 400 degrees. The garlic will caramelize into a sweet delicacy perfect for spreading. Maybe not quite as nutritious as raw, but infinitely more appetizing!
Garlic really is a miracle food. It adds incredible flavor to any cuisine. Its health benefits are legendary. It’s also incredibly versatile and easy to use.