Garlic – known as ‘the stinking rose’ – has been prized since Biblical times as both a food and a medicine.
Thankfully, modern science has finally caught up with this ancient way of thinking and we are beginning to acknowledge garlic as the wonder-herb it is.
Read on to discover all the ways that fresh garlic can benefit you.
A Natural Medicine
You’ve most likely heard by now of garlic’s incredible healing powers – but science backs up these ancient claims.
One of the most beneficial substances in the bulb is a sulfur compound called allicin. When allicin is digested, it produces sulfenic acid – which reacts with free radicals faster than any other known compound, making it a highly potent antioxidant.
Prevent Colds and Flus
Around cold and flu season, it’s especially important to boost your intake of garlic.
In a study of 146 people, carried out over 12 weeks in winter, it was found that taking a garlic supplement every day reduced the number of colds by 63%, compared with a placebo.
And even those who got sick while taking the garlic also experienced its healthful properties! The average length of symptoms was reduced by 70% thanks to the garlic – from 5 days in the control group to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
Want to look more youthful? Whip up a batch of roasted garlic soup!
Reduce or Cure Acne
Indian Ayurveda healers to this day believe that garlic is a helpful way to fight persistent adult acne thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and anti-microbial powers. For clear skin, it’s recommended you eat two cloves a day.
Traditionally, garlic has been applied topically to spots and pimples but, for many, this causes a burning sensation. If you really want to try it, mix a crushed clove with a little warm water until a paste forms. Apply to the skin before wiping off with a warm washcloth. If you feel a stinging or burning sensation, thoroughly rinse your face immediately.
Blackheads occur when open pores become clogged with dead skin and oil. Usually occurring around the nose, forehead and chin, they’re unpleasant to look at. Thankfully, naturally antiseptic garlic can offer a simple way to remove these little blemishes.
Cut or mash a garlic clove, and rub the sticky juice into the blackhead. Leave it to work its magic for five minutes before washing away.
If you’re still plagued by blackheads, why not try one of these eight other natural remedies for blackhead removal?
A common scalp condition, dandruff leads to itchiness and flakiness caused by dry skin or infections.
Garlic can cure dandruff by killing any fungal infections that may be causing your snow-capped shoulders. It also contains salicylic acid, a common ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos to manage seborrheic dermatitis, another cause of dandruff.
To treat your scalp, heat peeled garlic gloves and argan oil over a stove-top with a low flame. Allow the oil to cool, discard the garlic and then further dilute the garlic oil with a little more argan. Massage into the scalp and leave on for thirty minutes before washing out.
Prevent Hair Loss
Use the same method as you would to treat dandruff, and you’ll enjoy thick, flake-free hair in no time.
Remove Heavy Metals from the Body
We all carry some level of heavy metals in our bodies, caused by pollution in all its forms. Thankfully, there are many things we can do to reduce the amount of heavy metals in our system.
One such step is to ensure we eat garlic regularly. In a study on rats, it was found that the lead content in the liver, kidneys, brain, and bone of the animals decreased thanks to high doses of garlic extract.
Human studies show that garlic is as effective as medication, and clinically safer, when used to treat chronic lead poisoning.
Protect your Heart
Eating a clove of garlic every day will reduce damage to your heart and maintain a good blood flow in the aorta, say scientists.
The researchers discovered that men who took garlic had only a 1.1% increase in plaque volume; but those who took the placebo had a 5.5% increase!
High cholesterol doubles your risk of heart disease, so reducing the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) in the body should be top priority for sufferers.
Studies have shown that garlic has an effect on lowering LDL cholesterol levels – although it’s modest at best.
However, it may help indirectly too. Garlic is also a prebiotic – a non-digestible carbohydrate that ‘feeds’ probiotics (good bacteria) and helps them grow in the gut. Probiotics are believed to lower cholesterol by binding to it in the small intestine, preventing it from being absorbed in the blood stream.
Here are some more natural ways to lower cholesterol.
Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition which many experts believe arises from poor lifestyle and dietary choices.
In some research, garlic extract was found to be just as effective as medication prescribed for hypertension, when taken over a 24-week period. Other studies have shown garlic to be effective in mild cases in just 12 weeks.
Learn which other foods and drinks have been proven to lower blood pressure here.
Help Prevent Cancer
The National Cancer Institute says that garlic can provide significant anti-cancer benefits.
For example, clinical studies suggest that eating garlic and onion regularly may prevent prostate cancer. Consuming ample amounts of garlic is associated with lower levels of stomach and colorectal cancers.
While by no means a miracle food for weight loss, there is a growing body of research out there to say that garlic may play an important role in weight management.
In tests, rats given a high-sugar diet put on less weight if they were also fed allicin (the potent compound in garlic).
In another study, mice were given a fattening diet for eight weeks, and then fed the same diet supplemented with garlic for another seven weeks. The garlic was found to lower the mice’s body weight and fat levels, and protect the creatures’ blood and liver from the unhealthy diet.
A compound in garlic, FruArg, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which means it can protect brain health and cognitive function right into old age.
A 2011 study found that consuming garlic could help those with type 2 diabetes.
The scientists found that raw or cooked garlic (or aged garlic extract) can help to regulate blood glucose and potentially stop or lower the effects of some diabetes complications, as well as fight infections, reduce bad cholesterol and aid blood flow.
Kill Foot Fungus
Athlete’s Foot, caused by sweaty feet or passed on by another sufferer or contaminated surface, is both painful and embarrassing.
Garlic is a powerful natural cure for this condition which is even more effective than conventional treatment!
A study, which compared the commonly prescribed medication Lamisil 1% and a garlic solution, found that the garlic solution had a 100% cure rate, compared with the 94% cure rate of Lamisil.
Candida Albicans are a pathogen that cause a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in the gut. This can lead to a whole host of health conditions like headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel, recurrent yeast infections and more.
Treat Cold Sores
Those painful clusters of red, swollen blisters around your mouth can be healed in no time with a little garlic. Simply cut a clove in half and hold it against the cold sore until it stops stinging. Repeat three times a day, until healed.
Here are 11 more remedies for natural cold sore relief.
Nobody likes to be bitten by creepy crawlies – like mosquitos and ticks – which can often carry nasty diseases.
Taking garlic capsules has been found to reduce the risk of tick bites by 21% in a study of Swedish marines.
Although studies in the area of other bugs are sorely lacking, plenty of anecdotal evidence says that garlic works for all manner of insects, not just ticks!
Don’t expose your body – and your plants – to commercially available pesticides, which are full of harmful chemicals.
Whip up a batch of garlic pesticide instead. It’s quick and easy, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and non-toxic.
Take 5 garlic bulbs and extract and peel all the cloves. Crush them and mix with a half liter of water. Allow to infuse for at least six hours. Add in some natural dish washing soap and pass the mixture through a fine strainer. Dilute with four liters of water and place in a spray bottle. Spray your plants once or twice a week for best results.
(It’s a good idea not to spray too close to harvesting time, as it may affect the food flavors. Garlic is also a broad-spectrum pesticide, so only spray the plant parts that are infested to reduce destruction of beneficial insects).
Cure an Ear Infection
Traditional garlic olive oil has been used for hundreds of years for ear infections. It’s far less toxic to the body than antibiotics and can provide immediate and long lasting relief.
When pain strikes, heat two tablespoons of olive oil with one clove of minced garlic over a low heat for 20 minutes. Discard the garlic. Allow the oil to cool before adding 1-2 drops to the afflicted ear. (Note: do not use if ear drum is ruptured.)
Boost Your Workout
Get more out of your gym sessions with garlic! This herb was traditionally used as a performance enhancer in early cultures to boost the work capacity of laborers; and was even given to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece.
Study subjects given garlic oil for 6 weeks experienced a 12% reduction in peak heart rate, along with improved exercise capacity. Garlic was also found in research to help reduce exercise-induced fatigue.
Strong, healthy bones contribute to a higher quality of life and reduced risk of premature death. Add garlic to your daily menu and protect yours!
A study of menopausal women found that dry garlic extract (the equivalent of 2 grams of raw garlic) every day significantly decreased a marker of estrogen deficiency (something which can negatively impact bone health).
Fox News named garlic as one of the top seven foods to help you live longer. And, with all the incredible health benefits that garlic brings, it’s easy to see why!
While removing splinters from the skin isn’t a proven benefit of garlic, it’s a folk remedy that has been around for years – with many still swearing by it today.
Place a slice of garlic over the splinter and cover it with a bandage or duct tape. Leave for a few hours, or overnight, before removing and the splinter should pop right out.
A Natural Glue
Bizarrely, garlic can be used in place of glue in a pinch – a practice originating in the time of the Roman Empire. Rub garlic juice on paper, porcelain or glass and it should hold – or at least that’s what legend tells us!
Adds Flavor to Food
Perhaps the most common reason that people add garlic to their meals – it boosts the flavor of almost anything its added to.
It Doesn’t Have to Stink!
Many people don’t eat garlic because of its pungent and off-putting odor. Don’t let that stop you from reaping all these incredible health benefits – scientists have discovered that eating garlic before, or with, milk, apples, parsley or spinach can neutralize the odor.
You could also try oil pulling to freshen breath, improve immunity and much more.
Get The Most From Your Garlic
We know garlic contains allicin – a super substance that brings most of the herb’s health benefits.
But do you know how to release allicin from the cloves?
It’s easy! Simply crush or chop the garlic clove and allow to rest for five minutes before using, giving the allicin sufficient time to form.