Garlic: What It Is and What It Is Not

herbal medicineMost readers who frequent this site know of garlic’s antibiotic properties that do not interfere with probiotic or “friendly bacteria”, which we all need to create and supervise immune system reactions and help digest nutrients from food.

But there’s more to garlic than simply “Russian penicillin”. A small group of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina discovered something else that’s useful for anyone willing to properly consume lots of garlic. They discovered that certain organo-sulfur compounds in garlic do kill brain cancer cells without disturbing healthy cells.

They did this in 2007. It didn’t get much mainstream press, if any. Hmmm, did we miss something? Maybe Big Pharma is trying to figure out how to create those compounds synthetically to get a patent and pay the FDA for approval after offering dubious papers from some sketchy trials and marketing it as the latest cancer cure sure to be a financial blockbuster.

Whether it’s useful for the cancer industry remains to be seen. But the results of this study haven’t received much if any attention from the mainstream press. It’s hard to tell if there was even a ripple in the medical establishment.

Background for that obscure garlic brain cancer study

Interestingly, what’s implied from the background of the study abstract (sourced below) is that the protection against carcinogenesis provided by these garlic sulfur compounds was already known. The researchers, being curious fellows, were attempting to determine the mechanics of how theses compounds were so protective. That’s usually what in vitro (lab cultures in glass) studies are for.

Apparently they found out how and more. They isolated the exact mechanics, detailed in the full study text below, and determined that these compounds are more than protective. They do what currently accepted brain cancer treatments are supposed to do but don’t, while leaving other healthy cells alone which those “standard of care” treatments also don’t.

Three researchers teamed up in South Carolina for an in vitro analysis of what three natural garlic compounds can do to brain cancer cells, specifically glioblastoma, the fastest growing brain cancer tumor common to adults. Two types of brain cancer cells were cultured, and three sulfur compounds from garlic were administered into the culture.

The compounds were diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), and diallyl trisulfide (DATS). All three provided cytoxic (cancer killing) effects, especially DATS, which “induced cell death via reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and a mitochondria-mediated pathway”.

These compounds are able to get through the blood brain barrier to induce cancer cell apoptosis (natural cell death) and prevent future cell growth.

It’s recommended to peel open garlic cloves and expose them to air for 15 minutes or so to release those compounds. Some even say crush them for more exposure, then consume them raw to get the full benefits. This may not seem inviting to most.

But is sure beats the agonizing torture of oncology’s “standard of care” procedures that often cause death while attributing those very deaths to the disease and not the treatment.

Garlic toxicity disinformation or misinformation

What garlic is not:

A little bit of knowledge is dangerous when it overlooks all the details of the complete picture. There are claims that pop in on the internet that garlic is a poisonous plant food. The disinformation fear mongers or muddled misinformation mentors should all be ignored.

But, there is some truth about toxic garlic if you buy conventionally raised imported garlic. Over half of conventionally grown garlic comes from China. Almost all the rest comes from Mexico and some Central and South American nations.

Some of that garlic in China is grown in human feces, according to an Australian report. After having several large shipments detained in the USA due to mold and insect infestation, China and other nations have resorted to bleaching and fumigating their garlic with methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide that has been banned in some areas.

That’s what’s making some garlic toxic. The toxicity comes from institutional interventions that tend to ruin natural food benefits.

There is an option. Pay slightly more to purchase locally or domestically grown organic garlic bulbs.

Sprouted garlic is even healthier

Sprouted garlic, older garlic bulbs with bright green shoots sprouting from their cloves, are commonly thought to be past their prime and routinely get tossed into the garbage bin without a second thought.

While some aging plant foods that begin to sprout, like potatoes, can actually be dangerous because they release toxic chemicals which can harm the body, that’s not the case with sprouted garlic.

In fact, a study funded by Korea’s Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology, which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry circa 2014 found that sprouted garlic has even more antioxidant activity than its younger, fresher brethren.

Researcher Jong-Sang Kim explained, “Plants are very susceptible to attack from bacteria, viruses, and insects while sprouting. This causes them to produce a variety of chemicals called phytoalexins to defend themselves. Most of these are toxic to microorganisms and insects, but beneficial to human health.”

Kim’s group postulated that a similar process may be occurring when green shoots grow from older garlic cloves. Extracts from garlic sprouted for five days had the highest antioxidant activity, whereas extracts from raw garlic had lower antioxidant activity. Furthermore, sprouting changed the metabolite profile of garlic.

Sprouted garlic enhances raw garlic’s proven anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, cardiovascular health protection, and its ability to kill 14 types of cancer cells.

So go ahead and grab a few domestic organic garlic bulbs from market shelves or farmers’ market locations and chew them raw in cooked foods and sandwiches, sliced and diced or crushed. I consume at least two raw large cloves daily.

Simply allow them to sprout to enhance their antioxidant properties. You can chew some parsley to help eliminate your “garlic breath” if you feel that’s important.


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