Garlic’s long-lived use as a medicinal plant across the world is due to its various sulphur compounds, each with slightly differing properties.
Garlic is a natural antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal so keeps the gut clean and supports the immune system, regular use in cooking is a great preventative for a whole host of infections and conditions. Its ability to kill harmful organisms was harnessed as an antiseptic in World Wars I and II. Garlic’s ability to reduce platelet aggregation or ‘thin blood’ is so strong that too much in the diet is contraindicated with blood-thinning drugs like warfarin. This also means that it is a powerful defence against atherosclerosis and coronary-artery disease. Amounts as small as one clove a day are shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels, as well as supporting the nourishing effects of circulation. Cooking garlic reduces its potency so eating it raw is a good all-round home remedy, but chopping, crushing or chewing releases the chemical allicin which has the antibacterial and antifungal action – this is also responsible for the hot taste of raw garlic.
- Contains the prebiotic fibre inulin which feeds beneficial gut bacteria to add to its digestive and detoxification health potential.
- Sulphur content shown to be effective at removing harmful and ageing toxic metals such as lead and mercury.
- Due to its ability to regulate blood sugar levels, people with diabetes should consult a doctor before taking medicinal amounts or supplements of garlic.
- Long used in most herbal medicine traditions for treating the common cold, sore throats, coughs and hoarseness and associated with vitality.
Did you know? …..that garlic is one of the oldest flavourings that man has used. It was one of the most commonly used relishes with bread, much like the Spanish still serve on bruschetta, and helped to sustain the workers who built the Egyptian pyramids. They would have eaten purple heads with about 45 cloves, we know this because some have been found in tombs. Hippocrates and Aristotle recommended garlic for medicinal purposes, even back as far as 460 BC. Garlic had magical properties for the Greeks and warriors took before battle for strength, but the elite Greeks and Romans looked down on those who ate and smelt of it. It permeates the world as a valuable, health-promoting ingredient and cooking would be unthinkable without it.