If garlic had been created in the laboratory instead of by nature, it would probably be a high-priced prescription drug. Garlic has been used medicinally for at least 3,000 years, but until recently its benefits were considered little more than folklore. Medical studies have shown that garlic can lower cholesterol, prevent dangerous blood clots, protect LDL cholesterol and the endothelial lining of the arterial system against oxidation, reduce blood pressure, prevent cancer, and protect against bacterial and fungal infections.
Garlic is so effective in preventing abnormal arterial blood clotting (thrombosis) that some surgeons advise their patients to avoid garlic one week prior to surgery because garlic can cause excessive bleeding during surgery.
Just what makes garlic so good? Known scientifically as Allium sativum, garlic contains more than 100 biologically useful chemicals, including substances with names such as alliin, alliinase, allicin, S-allylcysteine, diallyl sulfide and allyl methyl trisulfide.
Scientific research has confirmed garlic’s role as a natural antibiotic. Garlic extract has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against many types of bacteria and fungi. Garlic holds a promising position as a broad-spectrum therapeutic agent because many of the microorganisms susceptible to garlic extract are medically significant. [Medical Hypotheses 1983;12 pp.227-37]
One way garlic enhances the immune system is by promoting phagocytosis, the ability of white blood cells to fight infections. Another is by stimulating other immune cells, such as macrophages and T-cells to fight bacterial and viral infections and to scavenge for cancer cells. One report described how garlic enhanced the body’s natural killer cell activity against the AIDS virus. [Deutsche Zeitschrift fuer Onkologie, April 1989;21 pp.52-3]
In what seems to be one of nature’s contradictions, raw garlic has less biological activity than when processed in some way. When it is “damaged”, by slicing, cooking or chewing, the enzyme alliinase immediately converts alliin into allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic odor. Research is continuing to help define which forms of garlic are best for which purposes.
For anti-bacterial or anti-viral effect, raw garlic is better than cooked. Both raw and cooked garlic seem to have cardiovascular, decongestive and anti-cancer benefits. Eating more than three raw cloves a day can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and fever in some people. Cooked garlic is gentler on the stomach.
Allicin was once thought to be garlic’s principal active ingredient but researchers now know that allicin is rapidly oxidized into more than 100 biologically active compounds. While allicin may still serve as a general marker of garlic’s potency, research increasingly points to S-allylcysteine and other compounds as the most therapeutically active ingredients in garlic.
So how should you take garlic? Most scientific studies have, for consistency, used a standardized garlic extract in capsule or liquid form. However, just about any form offers some benefits. If you enjoy the taste of garlic, and others are not offended by the odor on your breath, use it liberally in your food. Otherwise, deodorized garlic provides the desired benefits without the odor. Either way, garlic is good for your health.
Garlic can help with the following
When taken in high doses, garlic increases fibrinolytic activity. This increased fibrinolytic activity inhibits platelet aggregation which contributes to the formation of blood clots.
Hypercoagulation (Thickened Blood)
Garlic is one of the most researched herbs in America. It has been found repeatedly to have a natural blood thinning effect that is safe and well-tolerated. Its activities are more potent when the garlic is raw. Three cloves of raw garlic per day can have a substantial effect on the functioning of the blood, and will work just as well as conventional blood thinning medications without the side effects.
Kyolic (a standardlized, extracted, aged form of garlic) has numerous research studies demonstrating it’s effectiveness in naturally thinning the blood
H. Kieswetter, M.D., of the University of Saarlandes, Hamburg, Germany, recently found that garlic could help patients suffering from peripheral arterial occlusive disease, characterized by blood clots in the legs. Typically, patients with the condition are asked to walk, because increased blood flow reduces the number of clots. However, they are easily discouraged because peripheral arterial occlusive disease causes extreme pain after walking only a short distance.
Kieswetter gave 32 patients 800 milligrams of garlic powder tablets daily for 12 weeks, while another 32 patients received a placebo. He then measured their “pain-free walking distance.” For the first several weeks, both groups of patients progressed about as they would in a typical walking program. As time went on however, patients taking garlic were able to walk about one-third farther without pain. The researcher also noted that garlic’s benefits, which included decreased blood pressure, could be detected after patients took a single garlic powder capsule. [Clinical Investigator (May 1993;71:pp.383-6)]
A mechanism by which atherosclerotic plaque accumulates on the walls of arteries is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Garlic has been shown in repeated studies to protect against LDL cholesterol oxidation and oxidation in the linings of the arteries themselves. Garlic, ginger and onions all have a beneficial effect on platelet aggregation which reduces the tendency to form clots too easily, thus preventing the blockage of narrowed arteries.
One study found that aged garlic extract at 7.2gm per day reduced total and LDL cholesterol, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
To disperse the build-up of a protein called fibrin that makes skin near varicose veins hard and lumpy, try eating more cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, ginger (zingiber officinale), and pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes the breakup of fibrin.
Upcoming Surgical Procedure
Large amounts of garlic may increase the risk of bleeding by thinning your blood.
AIDS / Risk
In one study, 10 patients with AIDS who were given 5 to 10gm per day of an aged garlic extract later had increased levels of natural killer cells, a higher helper:suppressor ratio, and reduced infection rates.
Immune System Imbalance (TH2 Dominance)
Garlic, raw or aged extract, promotes TH1 cytokines to help balance the immune system. Raw garlic can kill many kinds of fungus and bacteria.
Garlic is an excellent antibiotic and studies have shown that its compounds can very effectively kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. There are several possible methods of application:
Yeast / Candida
Liberal consumption of garlic, ginger, cinnamon and other aromatic herbs can have significant antifungal activity.
With the widespread overuse of antibiotics for the past 60 years, more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to more and more antibiotics. A common strain in hospitals (and also spreading to the general population) is MRSA: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Josling reports on one case of MRSA infection of spinal surgical wounds that had not healed after several years, even with intravenous, oral and topical antibiotic usage. Amazingly, combined use of oral and topical Allicillin cleared the wound infections in a short period of time. Allicillin is so effective against MRSA that each new production batch of Allicillin is tested against MRSA to establish its antimicrobial efficacy. You can be absolutely sure that when you choose Allicillin from Designs for Health for a broad array of clinical applications that you are getting the world’s finest and only truly allicin standardized garlic product.
Colds and Influenza
Drawing upon hundreds of years of using garlic to treat illnesses, many contemporary herbalists prescribe it to help prevent colds and flu, stimulate circulation, lower high blood pressure, aid digestion, and heal superficial wounds. Modern research has substantiated many of these therapeutic uses.
Garlic is sometimes referred to as a truly natural antibiotic because it can destroy foreign bacteria and viruses while being one of the few herbs that can be taken in large quantities, usually without dangerous side effects. However, eating more than five cloves a day risks heartburn and flatulence and may also slow blood clotting, so people taking anticoagulants should consult with their health-care provider before consuming large quantities of garlic. In addition, there have been rare reports of allergic reactions to this popular herb.
Garlic’s antibiotic properties stem from the substance allicin, a potent antibacterial agent, that is released when garlic cloves are cut or bruised. Because garlic’s therapeutic effectiveness depends on the presence of allicin, dried garlic preparations, such as capsules or tablets, should have an enteric coating to protect the garlic from stomach acids, which can inactivate allicin. Scientific reports confirm the antibiotic effects of freshly pressed garlic juice, and steam-distilled garlic oil has been shown to be an effective fighter of mucous membrane infections. The effectiveness of other types of garlic extracts depends upon preparation methods, details of which often are unavailable to consumers.
Dose: 4 grams of fresh garlic (about one medium-sized clove) or 8mg of volatile oil daily is recommended; if you prefer capsules, make sure that they are enteric-coated.
Peter Josling published results of a double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of Allicidin in 2001. Seventy active treatment patients and 72 placebo patients took one capsule daily of Allicillin or placebo for 12 weeks. The results were impressive. The placebo group had 65 colds during the study compared to the Allicillin group which had only 24 colds. The average duration of symptoms was 5.01 days for the placebo group, 1.52 days for the Allicillin group. The placebo group required an average of 5.63 days to recover, the Allicillin group 4.63 days. The total for days of infection was 366 for the placebo group, 111 for the Allicillin group. During the trial, 16 placebo group members had more than one cold, while only two of the Allicillin group had more than one cold. The “accelerated relief, reduction in the severity of troublesome symptoms …and recovery to full fitness” as well as “reduced likelihood of becoming reinfected with other viral strains” clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of Allicillin against the common cold.
Parasite, Pinworm Infection
Studies in humans support the use of garlic to treat various worms, including pinworm. [Garlic: The Science and Therapeutic Application of Allium sativum L. and Related Species. Williams & Wilkins, 1996, pp.173-4] In addition to consuming garlic, consider carefully peeling a raw garlic clove (don’t scratch or nick it), then insert into rectum before bed.
Compounds in garlic have been shown to be an effective treatment for malaria. Does eating garlic influence the outcome of malaria? There is evidence that yes, it may. The compounds, called disulfides, occur naturally in garlic, onions and mahogany trees, and are known to have antifungal, anticancer and antibacterial properties. For years scientists have suspected one of these compounds in garlic may be helpful against malaria, and have proven it in animal models.
It is believed that the mechanism of action may be through the glutathione system within the cell. Glutathione is a small protein that plays a crucial role in protecting the cell. It neutralizes potentially harmful oxygen molecules, boosts the immune system and rids the cell of toxins. Without it, cells could not survive. The protein is of particular importance in cells that rapidly reproduce, like cancer cells or malaria-infected cells.
Ajoene, the disulfide that naturally occurs in garlic, is a known inhibitor of glutathione reduction. Normal cells recharge glutathione and therefore are able to deal with the oxidative stress that normal metabolism generates, but in the presence of an inhibitor they, cannot recharge and therefore are more prone damage and eventually death.
While more research is necessary, it would seem appropriate for anyone fighting or threatened by malaria to consume more garlic.
Ear infection, External
Garlic has been used since ancient times to treat a wide variety of conditions. Garlic is useful in the treatment of ear infections because it has demonstrated significant broad-spectrum anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory activity. Mullein-Garlic ear drops can be used at room temperature or warmed under the faucet. Place 3 drops in the affected ear three times daily.
Mullein is an herb that is used specifically for ear infections. It is prepared in the form of Mullein oil and is used as ear drops. Mullein, also known as Verbascum thapsus, is useful in cases of earaches, as well as dry, scaly conditions in the outer ear.
Chronic / Hidden Infection
Garlic is another major tool in the treatment of hidden infections. Garlic also has an important blood thinning benefit which helps reduce the localized hypercoagulation which is seen around some organisms. This thickened blood effect helps shield the organism from destruction by the immune system or antibiotics.
Fungal Skin / Nail Infection
A formula that may help is called GOOT (Garlic Oil Ointment). This is made by combining 1Tbsp of fresh chopped / mashed garlic cloves, 3Tbsp of coconut oil and 1Tbsp of olive oil. The mixture is placed in a small jar and refrigerated while being used. The olive oil is added to keep the mixture soft while refrigerated – otherwise with coconut oil alone, it would be a solid at cold temperatures. Shelf life is about one month. Apply the mixture generously daily.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune-booster.
Garlic’s anti-fungal properties are well known. Garlic must be fresh in order for it to be beneficial because the active ingredient is destroyed within an hour of smashing the garlic. For this reason garlic pills are worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic, compress it with a spoon prior to swallowing it or chew it quickly before swallowing if you can.
Elevated Total Cholesterol
Several studies have shown a mild lowering effect on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Garlic oil does not produce this cholesterol-lowering benefit like raw, cooked or powdered garlic does. Large doses are required (6,000 to 8,000mg per day) to produce this effect, which causes gastrointestinal discomfort for some people. Furthermore, this benefit does not become evident until after 3 months of continuous use.
Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer
A study of Chinese men found that a diet rich in garlic, onions, shallots, leeks and scallions may cut the risk of prostate cancer. Men who ate small amounts of onions, garlic, scallions, shallots and leeks each day decreased their risk of prostate cancer by more than 33%. Those who ate 2 grams of garlic per day decreased their risk of prostate cancer by more than 50%, but even eating only one clove cut the risk. Scallions, which lowered the risk of prostate cancer by 70%, were found to be most beneficial. [J Nat Can Inst, November 6, 2002;94(21): pp.1648-51]
Crush a clove of garlic, apply to wart, tape in place for 24 hours. The wart may blister and fall off in a week.
Another formula that may work is called GOOT (Garlic Oil Ointment). This is made by combining 1Tbsp of fresh chopped / mashed garlic cloves, 3Tbsp of coconut oil and 1Tbsp of olive oil. The mixture is placed in a small jar and refrigerated while being used. The olive oil is added to keep the mixture soft while refrigerated – otherwise with coconut oil alone, it would be a solid at cold temperatures. Shelf life is about one month. Apply the mixture generously daily.
Insert a garlic clove into the vagina in the morning and an acidophilus capsule in the evening for three to seven days.
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
|May have adverse consequences|
|Reasonably likely to cause problems|
A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
(LDL): Also known as "bad" cholesterol, LDLs are large, dense, protein-fat particles composed of a moderate proportion of protein and a high proportion of cholesterol. Higher levels of LDLs are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.
Formation of blood clots causing vascular obstruction.
Tending to destroy microbes, hinder their multiplication or growth.
Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.
A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.
Process of ingestion and digestion by cells of solid substances such as other cells, bacteria, dead tissue, and foreign particles.
White Blood Cell
(WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.
T cells are lymphocytes that are produced in the bone marrow and mature in the thymus. T cells are responsible for mediating the second branch of the immune system called "cellular immune response." T cells can live for months to years. This lymphocyte population is defined by the presence of a rearranged T-cell receptor.
Any of a vast group of minute structures composed of a protein coat and a core of DNA and/or RNA that reproduces in the cells of the infected host. Capable of infecting all animals and plants, causing devastating disease in immunocompromised individuals. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and are completely dependent upon the cells of the infected host for the ability to reproduce.
Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.
Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.
A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.