The truth about garlic is everywhere. What’s interesting is that it’s been around from a long time as well. Of course, there are myths also associated with garlic, about how it can ward off vampires. In today’s world, if it can help ward off the many diseases that we seem to be developing, it’s nothing short of a wonder herb.
Garlic has been used since the ages for good health. But scientists are discovering new and exciting uses of this herb and the goodness it can offer. Here’s a look at some of the ways in which garlic can benefit you.
- Treating cancer – Yes, garlic can actually help in treating cancer. Studies have shown that certain components in garlic such as diallyl disulfide can kill the cancer cells and help you in developing a strong immune system. Garlic is also known to reduce papillary lung tumors. Eating a clove of raw garlic is also known to reduce the occurrence of cancers in the first place.
- High blood pressure – Amazing, but true. Garlic can help in monitoring your blood pressure so that the high levels can come down to normal levels. Traditional Asian medicine recognizes garlic as an effective hypertension controller and this fact is being corroborated by scientists the world over today. For garlic to help you in controlling your hypertension, you can consume its fresh juice, crush a clove in hot milk or simply take one clove each day.
- Garlic is known to even cure ear infections, especially in children who are very susceptible to them. Garlic acts as nature’s own antibiotic without the harmful effects as it has strong anti bacterial and anti microbial properties. Juice from the cloves of raw garlic diluted with water can be placed in the ear directly. Do note that this can cause plenty of pain as the garlic starts acting on the microbes that have caused the infection. The pain however lasts for just a little while and along with it the infection also subsides.
- Garlic as antibiotic – Garlic is nature’s very own antibiotic and the best part about it is that it doesn’t get rid of healthy bacteria as well. More and more people are turning to garlic as an effective antibiotic.
- Increasing antioxidant levels – Garlic helps in pushing up the overall antioxidant levels of the body and this in turn has its own chain of actions resulting in decreased serum glucose levels as well as lowered blood pressure.
- Garlic flushes out the toxins from the body so it is a great way to get your body cleaned up.
- Garlic contains allicin, a powerful compound that works as an antibiotic and helps heal skin infections as well. It’s interesting to note that allicin doesn’t occur on its own but is formed when garlic is chopped or crushed.
- In the olden days garlic was recognized not just as a vampire repellant but also because it helped in healing wounds and bruises. It was also a popular treatment for flatulence and indigestion.
- Garlic is not just healthy for your body, but it’s also great for your skin. Regular consumption of garlic tones the skin, making it smooth while also making your nails stronger. Another wonderful benefit is that it controls dandruff related problems as well.
There are of course some side effects that you need to consider before you liberally start consuming garlic to get all those benefits. Anything in moderation works well but if you overdo it, that is, eat more garlic than you should, the following are the most likely side effects that you might possibly undergo –
- Body odor – If you eat too much garlic, you’ll notice that you have started smelling like garlic. This is because the garlic is secreted through your pores and this continues until all garlic is removed from your body. The body odor can be embarrassing and can cause a lot of distress.
- Garlic breath – Eating too much raw garlic can cause plenty of bad breath and this could hamper your social life. The only way to counter it would be to eat raw garlic along with your food and to preferably eat it before you go to sleep.
- Digestion problems – Too much of a good thing can only be bad. So also with garlic and studies have shown that if you eat too much garlic, it can burn the lining of your stomach and cause you plenty of pain.
- Allergies – For some people who suffer from garlic allergy, there could be rashes, fever or vomiting. It could also react adversely with some anti-coagulants as well.
- The sulfur in garlic can result in botulism, which can cause severe stomach upset or even death.
If you’ve decided to make garlic a part of your healthy lifestyle, make sure that you get organic garlic which has all the goodness inherent in garlic. In your regular shops, you might come across chemically treated garlic which is of no use. If the garlic bulb has sprouted, it means that the garlic has aged and has lost all its valuable compounds.
The best way to ensure that garlic retains all its beneficial compounds is to crush it finely and add it to food. Some people also prefer to have garlic juice while others hate its smell and taste. For such people, there are plenty of garlic based supplements which work just fine and can be had like your daily dose of vitamins.
Physically speaking, a bulb of garlic might resemble an onion bulb but metaphorically also, there’s a huge similarity. Just as you peel the different layers of an onion, with garlic everyday new and more potent uses are being uncovered.