Aside from its delicious taste, we have all heard about how garlic is good for a person. But knowing that, have you ever done the deep dive to find out exactly why garlic is so for you? In researching the benefits of garlic for The Top Ten Ways to Build Immunity and Safeguard Against Viruses, I was truly amazed by what I learned.
Garlic contains potent anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties, in addition to being highly beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Throughout history, garlic has been used to treat infections of all kinds, including colds, flu, sore throats, bronchitis, stomach flu, arthritis, toothaches, chronic cough, constipation, parasitic infestation, snake and insect bites, gynecologic diseases, as well as in infectious diseases (as antibiotic).
Garlic is thought to have originated in China, where it was used to treat depression. There is documented use of garlic being used by ancient Indians and Egyptians as far back as 3700 BC, to treat all sorts of physical, emotional and spiritual ailments. In fact, garlic was known to be such a powerhouse of nutrients to the human body that the Egyptians fed their slaves garlic to make them strong and capable of doing more work.
Garlic is also known as Russian penicillin because Russian physicians used it to treat respiratory tract diseases.
French priests of the Middle Ages used garlic to protect themselves against bubonic plague and during World War I and European soldiers prevented infection by putting a garlic poultice directly on their wounds.
To read more about the fascinating history of garlic, have a look at this article found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website: Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic, this article found on The Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health website: The History of Garlic: From Medicine to Marinara or this article found on The Journal of Nutrition website at: Historical Perspective on the Use of Garlic
In more recent times, a study by the US National Cancer Institute concluded that garlic may be the most potent food having cancer preventive properties. Garlic has a variety of anti-tumor effects, including tumor cell growth inhibition and chemo-preventive effects.
At the time when antibiotics and other pharmacy products did not exist, a bulb of garlic itself represented a whole pharmacy industry due to the broad spectrum of effects.
Don’t take it from me, though! Have a look at the variety of scholarly resources that describe the medicinal and healing qualities of garlic:
- Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects
- Garlic: An Exploration of Allicin and Antioxidant Activity
- Revealing the Therapeutic Uses of Garlic (Allium sativum) and Its Potential for Drug Discovery
- Medicinal Properties of Garlic–A Concise Review
- Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic
- The History of Garlic: From Medicine to Marinara
- Historical Perspective on the Use of Garlic
Based on the use and healing properties of garlic that have been recorded since the beginning of recorded time, the intake of garlic is truly an essential tonic for health and should be consumed as frequently as possible. Garlic is incorporated in the list of German Commission E, which is a therapeutic guide in herbal medicine, complied by a special expert commission of German Federal Institute of Medicines and Medical Inventions (the German equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)).
German Commission E recommends usage of an average dose of 4 g of fresh garlic or equivalent preparations of garlic as a supplement.
6 Easy Ways to Use Garlic to Combat Viruses, Bacteria, Infection and Cancer
- Simply eat more garlic!
To activate the anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and other therapeutic effect of the allicin within garlic, the cloves must be crushed and allowed to rest for at least 10 minutes. Chopping, and allowing time for the sulfurous compounds to develop in the garlic, will make it more potent.
The quickest way to consume it is to just chop a clove, add a bit of honey and a small squeeze of fresh lemon juice and eat it by the spoonful until it’s gone. Honey is known to assist with many physiological concerns, ranging from healing wounds to bronchial asthma to throat infections, all the way to treating cancer. Honey contains many anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that you can read more about in Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research
Some people complain of a strong garlic smell in their sweat or breath when consuming garlic. To alleviate this complaint, it is recommended to eat fresh parsley, mint or cilantro with the garlic.
- Make a garlic foot bath
Crush a head of garlic as described above, let sit for at least 10 minutes to activate the allicin, then add to a warm foot bath. For something to be able to be absorbed through the skin it must follow what is referred to as the “500 Dalton Rule”, which means that any molecule with a molecular weight of up to 500 Daltons is readily absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. The molecular weight of allicin (an active constituent of garlic) is 162.26 g/mol, which is equivalent to 162.26 daltons; therefore, it is easily absorbed into your bloodstream and throughout the body.
- Make a garlic-infused oil
To release the potent medicine in garlic, chop a couple of cloves of garlic and let stand for at least 10 minutes. Place the garlic in a small jar and just barely cover garlic with olive oil. Let this infuse for a minimum of 30 minutes, ideally up to 12 hours before using to generate maximize potency. Strain the oil infusion, squeezing the oil from the garlic pieces and store in an airtight glass container. To use, rub the oil onto the feet and cover them with an old pair of socks. Do not ingest garlic infused oil that has been stored at room temperature. Research performed by the University of Georgia confirmed that mixtures of garlic in oil stored at room temperature are at risk for the development of botulism. For internal use, garlic in oil should be made fresh and stored in the refrigerator at 40 °F or lower for no more than 7 days. It may be frozen for several months.
- Make a garlic poultice for bronchial conditions
Poultices may be one of the oldest ways in which herbal medicines are used. They provide an excellent way of applying healing herbs directly to the afflicted area. A poultice must be kept damp to work. A hot poultice (not hot enough to burn) helps to increase the circulation in the area where it is applied so that the medicinal properties of the herbs can get to the cells needing it more quickly. A garlic poultice applied on the chest, over the lungs, can help ease inflammation, loosen and break up hardened mucus, and help expectoration.
2 – 3 cloves of fresh minced garlic, thin fabric like cheesecloth, bowl of warm water, olive oil or non-petroleum jelly
Place crushed garlic into the middle of the cheesecloth, then fold cheesecloth so that no garlic can escape and come in direct contact with skin. Place the poultice in a bowl of warm water and leave for a few seconds before squeezing out the excess water. Lay the poultice on either the chest or bottom of feet. It is a good practice to apply some olive oil or another well-tolerated oil to the skin before applying a garlic poultice (helps protect the skin from irritation).
- Make the Legendary Four Thieves Vinegar Tonic
You have likely heard the folklore of how the Four Thieves Vinegar blend provided immunity to a group of thieves during the infamous Bubonic Plague, a significant point in history from which humankind eventually won. The usual story is that a group of thieves during the outbreak were robbing the dead and sick and remained immune to the virus while surrounded by it. When caught, they offered to exchange their secret recipe of herbs, spices, oils and vinegar in exchange for leniency with the courts.
There are many versions of this recipe and the essential oil version for topical use is sold as Original Immunity on EssentialTonics.com.
To make the Four Thieves Vinegar Tonic, mince a head of garlic, add 2 tablespoons each of four or more dried chopped herbs that contain the therapeutic properties you desire (consider Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Cloves, Cinnamon).
Add to a wide mouth mason jar, cover with apple cider vinegar that contains “the mother” to the very top of the jar so there is minimal air.
Place the vinegar tonic in a cupboard to steep for 4 – 6 weeks. Make sure to shake the tonic daily.
- Make a Garlic Tincture
When you are looking for a fast-acting herbal extract, appropriate for an acute ailment, tinctures are the way to go. Even if you’re not looking for fast-acting relief, the convenience of having a few drops of garlic tincture that is easy to consume does tend to make life easier.
Herbal tinctures are handy, quick, and long-lasting, from 1-5 years depending on the liquid used to extract the medicinal properties. Tinctures are also believed to be more bioavailable to and more efficiently used within the body than the dried forms of the herb found in pills and capsules.
Before making and using an herbal tincture, seek medical advice to understand:
- possible interactions with current medications
- safe ways to use the tincture, as some may be toxic
- potential allergic reactions
A garlic tincture has historically been used externally to treat viral skin infections, wounds or ulcers. Used internally, garlic tinctures have been used as a do it yourself (DIY) remedy for flu and colds, viruses, strep, worms, high blood pressure, kidney and bladder problems and respiratory ailments.
Internal Dosage and Administration per German Commission E:
Unless otherwise prescribed: 4 g per day of fresh, minced garlic bulb.
Infusion: 4 g in 150 ml of water.
Fluidextract 1:1 (g/ml): 4 ml.
Tincture 1:5 (g/ml): 20 ml.
Interactions with Other Drugs
In 1988, Commission E reported that none were known. ESCOP notes that “none [are] reported” (ESCOP, 1997). Garlic consumption substantially increases the anticoagulant effects of warfarin (Sunter, 1991). WHO notes that, “Patients who are on warfarin therapy should be warned that garlic supplements may increase bleeding times. Blood clotting times have been reported to double in patients taking warfarin and garlic supplements” (WHO, 1999).
Thank you for joining me on my journey in learning more about garlic. I hope you find it helpful and will consider adding it to your arsenal of health maintaining protocols.
Yours in Creation,
**By Teresa Dawn Roulette