Garlic: Natural antibiotic and fat-sugar buster

GarlicNaturalAntibioticGarlic has been called a lot of names, depending on whether you love or hate it. But the most enduring is ‘stinking rose.’ No one knows why, as the garlic plant, which belongs to the genus Allium, along with leeks, onions, shallots and chives, is more closely related to a lily than a rose.

Perhaps the term was coined by an ancient Greek or Roman with a sense of humor. ‘Bronx vanilla,’ ‘Halitosis’ and ‘Italian perfume’ were some of the names scornfully bestowed by some upon the pungent plant in early 20th century America where the smelly delicacy was associated with ‘foreigners’ such as Italians and Greeks.

But undoubtedly those foreigners from the old countries knew there was more to garlic than a powerful odor.

After all, the stinking rose enjoys an honored place as history’s oldest medicinal plant in existence. According to Dr. Earl Mindell, chemist and author of Garlic, the Miracle Nutrient and other popular nutritional books such as The Vitamin Book and Food as Medicine, it is featured in the Bible, the Talmud and Homer’s Odyssey. Galen, whose medical knowledge dominated the world for more than a thousand years, described the herb as a “miracle healer” for dozens of ailments.

An Egyptian medical papyrus called the Codex Ebers contained at least 22 medical formulations with garlic as an important component.

Garlic has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years for conditions as diverse as bronchitis, tuberculosis, appendicitis, malaria, boils, heart disease, tumors and various skin diseases.

Roman soldiers used garlic—not, as some wag joked, to cause the enemy to flee from the smell— but as a treatment for worms and a general tonic to ward off diseases.

Hippocrates, long referred to as the ‘Father of Medicine,’ used garlic as an internal and external treatment for dozens of diseases.

In 1858, having studied garlic extensively, French scientist Louis Pasteur proclaimed its numerous antibacterial properties, and during the Civil War and World War I physicians on many battlefields applied garlic poultices to prevent infection and gangrene. Although Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely took over from garlic, in World War II, garlic, or ‘Russian penicillin’ was again the substitute when battlefield physicians ran short of antibiotics.

An explosive demand for medications to treat a wide variety of conditions followed World War II and scientists began focusing on complex chemical compounds that eventually resulted in today’s ‘pharmaceutical age’ and modern populations heavily dependent upon manufactured drugs.

Garlic as medicine was relegated to the status of folk medicine for about three decades, says Dr. Mindell, and was no longer taken seriously by modern scientists, medical practitioners or researchers.

However, in recent years garlic’s antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties have attracted increasing scientific and medical attention, prompting such news headlines as ‘Ancient Health Remedy is Rediscovered.’ In 2006 a research team of physicians and scientists sponsored by New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell was one of 35  such groups from around the world that independently concluded that the pungent herb is indeed an effective aid in fighting cancer, heart disease and other afflictions. Their findings were published in a special issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Studies have found that garlic enhances the overall immune function, especially if the body has been compromised by poor diet. The herb stimulates the ability of natural killer cells to destroy tumor cells, virus-infected cells, and foreign invaders such as E. Coli. In other words, garlic mobilizes the body’s own natural defenses against cancer and other diseases. Even if tumors already exist garlic has been shown to prevent their growth by inactivating some of the deadly compounds in the tumor cells themselves.

Garlic has been used for thousands of years in China and Japan to promote blood circulation and dissolve clots in blood vessels. Modern scientists, working on the premise that a high-fat diet clogs the blood vessels over time, have found that garlic interrupts the process by which platelets and fibrin work to form clots, thus warding off heart attacks and strokes.

Many researchers now believe that the organic compound allicin, a sulphur-bearing agent which gives garlic its aroma and flavor, acts as the world’s most powerful antioxidant. New evidence is beginning to bear this out.  One of the latest and most hopeful of garlic treatments is treating MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus areus, a nasty multi-drug resistant bacteria that is infecting millions of people around the world today. In 2008, Dr. Ron Cutler and the University of East London released the results of their use of an allicin compound to treat 52 patients with hospital-acquired MRSA. All were cured within a matter of weeks, though all other antibiotics had failed. More than 200 more ‘garlic’ patients are in the process of recovering.

“Bugs are the best biochemists in the world,” Cutler told reporters. “They constantly adapt and change their internal structure to become resistant to antimicrobial drugs. But resistance is unlikely with allicin because it attacks on so many different fronts.”

Cutler and his associates had been working for several years on processes that extract the maximum antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal benefits from garlic allicin.

Alliin, not allicin is the form present in the garlic, and it has long been known that the powerful properties of allicin can only be released after the alliin cloves are mashed or cut. Most recently study has focused much on ‘tweaking’ allicin, but garlic also contains many other potent nutrients, including selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B-I,2,3, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and much more.

In fact, international researchers who presented their findings at the First World Congress on the Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents in the late 1980s concluded that the nutritional and pharmacological benefits of the herb are due to many compounds it contains— in addition to allicin.

In summary, researchers said garlic in any form—oil, powder, juice, raw, aged—provides daily health benefits and helps protect against not only cancer, heart disease, colds and flu. but clears most intestinal problems such as dysentery, diarrhea and colitis by destroying harmful bacteria in the intestine while not harming good bacteria.

The equivalent of at least one raw garlic clove a day is an excellent addition to your nutritional needs. When cooking, wait until the last 10 minutes to add garlic. Never microwave garlic as this kills the active ingredients and enzymes.

Keep in mind that because of natural blood purifying and vessel relaxing properties, garlic supplements may interfere with some drugs such as anticoagulants. Consult a doctor if you are unsure about anything.

Finally, remember that the “priceless stinking rose” should be a part of a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and nutritious food, NOT a substitute for it!

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WFMCwShad&Star_175Garlic is just one of more than 50 food/nutrients used in Whole Food Multi Complete, America’s innovative 7-in-1 supplement.

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