It’s reputed to fight infections, colds, bacteria and lower cholesterol – no wonder this herb tastes so good! Garlic has been used as an herbal remedy for over 5000 years and has long been recognized for it’s anti bacterial powers and has even been used by medical doctors to fight off infections in wounds.
Garlic, the pungent herb that we associate with Italian Foods is loaded loaded with vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, B and C, selenium, potassium, calcium, zinc and magnesium. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties and claims to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A recent study even shows that taking a garlic supplement once a day can reduce the risk of getting a cold by 50% and help you gain a speedy recovery if you do happen to catch one. In addition, garlic is thought to help athletes foot, worms, respiratory ailments, some cancers of the stomach, colic, ear aches, and bladder problems.
So what gives this herb it’s powerful healing properties? Researcher say it is in the allicin which is released when garlic is crushed. This phytochemical is also what makes it so pungent and is best when eaten raw and shortly after crushing. For the best effects, you should chop or crush the garlic into the tiniest pieces possible then let it sit for 10 minutes or so and eat it raw! If it sits for too long, it will start to degrade and lose some of it’s power. Cooking it also causes it to become less potent so if you are planning to combine it in a sauce or with cooked food try just adding it during the last 5 minutes of cooking to preserve some of the healing properties.
If you are trying to serve yourself a garlic herbal remedy by adding garlic to your foods then make sure you crush it a bit ahead of time and don’t add until the final 5 minutes of cooking. This will give the allicin enough time to develop and will insure you don’t cook all the garlic health out of it. My favorite way to enjoy the health benefits of this powerful herb is to make a garlic bread as described below.
1) Crush 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
2) Cut up some Italian bread
3) Pop the cut up bread in the oven or toaster
4) Spread butter on the toasted bread along with a generous amount of the crushed garlic
Garlic can have an affect on blood clotting, so don’t start eating more of it unless you discuss it with your physician first especially if you are on blood thinning medication or due to have surgery in the near future.