Garlic: An Herbal Healer

garlicGarlic has long been believed to have many health benefits. As a part of a balanced and healthy life style, there are few foods more versatile.

This pungent herb is believed to be an effective – or at least preventative – treatment for many acute and chronic disorders including:

  • high blood pressure
  • colds and other illnesses prevented by a strong immune system
  • atherosclerosis or hardening of the arties which affects a person’s ability to stretch and flex as he or she gets older
  • colon cancer
  • rectal cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • tick bites
  • fungal skin infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot

Some scientists also believe that garlic can be used to lower cholesterol. While this theory has been backed by studies involving injecting garlic directly into blood cells, it has been less conclusively shown by case studies involving people who eat varying amounts of the herb daily.

Most of the benefits of garlic seem to come from the allyl sulfide compounds, like allicin, that cause, among other things, that distinctly “garlic” smell. These compounds are produced when garlic is crushed or chopped to break down the cell walls and begin a chemical reaction that results in healthy sulfides. Aged garlic and garlic pills have been shown to have many of the same effects as raw garlic.

The general consensus seems to be that garlic, in whatever form, is good for you. To benefit most form it, five or more cloves a day should be consumed after the cloves have been chopped and left to sit for about fifteen minutes.

Side effects of garlic may include indigestion, and most people are leery of a garlicky body odor and bad breath. Some suggestions for combatting bad breath include eating fennel seeds like those found in a lot of Indian dishes or chewing a fresh sprig of parsley. To eliminate the smell of garlic from hands, rub your hands with used coffee grounds and wash.

A more serious danger of garlic consumption results from its blood thinning properties. It may cause excessive bleeding and should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinning medication.

Massage is another effective non-traditional healing treatment.