There has been an interest in finding out the medicinal properties of common food items. Long observation and experience has got some herbs the name of super food. Garlic is one such herb.
It belongs to the Allium family like onion, chives, leek and shallot. The bulb as well as the cloves of garlic are enclosed in a sheath which is thin like paper.
Garlic was mentioned in Sanskrit texts about 5000 years ago. It has been used for centuries due to its taste but more because of its medicinal properties. Today, every year nearly 10 million tons of garlic is cultivated worldwide, China produces about 66% of it and is the leader.
Whether garlic is a super food that can be useful in a number or diseases from Alzheimer’s to different types of cancer remains to be seen. But schientists agree that garlic is a healthful addition to our diet.
In a review published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2016, there was an assessment of 20 different trials on humans. The conclusion was that garlic lowered the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol – which are known to be risk factors for heart disease. Additionally the study said garlic boosts immunity and fights respiratory infections.
Some of the specialties of garlic are –
Contents of garlic – It is a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and selenium. Allicin, the sulphur-containing compound found in garlic is believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties,
Combat against cancer – Allicin and other sulphurous compounds have been studied and found effective in their combat against cancerous cells and inhibition of tumours by controlling DNA replication.
Antioxidant properties – Because of its antioxidant properties garlic prevents neurological deterioration and is used in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Antioxidants also have a role in flushing out toxins. Here, it helps to remember that herbs and spices in their fresh form contain higher levels of antioxidants than in processed or dried forms. Fresh garlic too is more powerful in antioxidant content than dry garlic powder.
Useful in cardiovascular diseases – Garlic has been found useful for many conditions related to the heart and blood system such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It has been found to lower blood pressure, systolic and diastolic both. Also, American scientists have found that it can successfully lower the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Improves absorption of iron and zinc – Those who are deficient in iron or zinc should use garlic as it will improve the absorption of both iron and zinc.
Diverse uses – Garlic is also useful in hepatitis and high cholesterol levels caused by HIV drugs. Garlic has been found helpful in fever, common cold, gastritis and scalp ringworm.
Garlic in diabetes – Oil extracted from garlic is useful in diabetes. Thus, it can protect you from the harmful effects of diabetes on the kidney, nervous system, heart and eyesight.
Improves bone health
Unhealthy lifestyle and age can make our bones weak and prone to osteoporosis. Garlic has been found useful against osteoporosis and also arthritis.
Helpful in everyday problems – Because of high levels of allicin is can be used by those who are suffering from hair loss. Sliced cloves of garlic if rubbed on scalp, squeezing it slightly for best results, can stop or reduce hair loss. Also oil boiled with garlic and cooled down can be used to massage the scalp. Used like this, it can also help control dandruff.
Cures ear aches – Garlic provides relief in ear aches due to its anti fungal and antibiotic properties. For this purpose we can extract the juice of garlic and add it to olive oil. Remember that this oil cannot be saved for very long and should be used within a few days.
Good for eyes
Because it is rich in selenium and vitamin C, garlic has been found to be good for eyes in case of infections or swelling.
Garlic could also help you control your weight. A study showed that mice who were fed a garlic-rich diet lost their weight and fat . Try to cook with garlic daily for this benefit.
Cosmetic uses – It is a great natural remedy in case of pimples. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so it can be sliced and rubbed on pimples. It has been found very effective in this case.
The health benefits of garlic have been known since centuries and modern research has confirmed most of them.
Just one clove of garlic, chopped or crushed, consumed everyday can bring great improvement in health and wellbeing.
Easily available as it is, we should take advantage of its medicinal properties. Though, as a matter of caution, garlic should not be consumed before surgery or medical operation. Also we should not take more than 2-3 cloves of garlic in a day without the advice of a doctor.