The wonders of garlic


Garlic is one of the most broad-reaching therapeutic plants in existence. Louis Pasteur observed garlic’s antibacterial activity in 1858 and it has been used as a food and medicine for thousands of years. Greek military leaders fed it to their troops to strengthen them for combat and the Russians used it to treat soldiers’ wounds during World War II after they ran out of antibiotics.

Indeed garlic has a myriad of medicinal uses. Its antioxidant activity and high sulphur content offer powerful protection against blood clot formation. The sulphur-based essential oils, which cause the pungent odour, are extremely effective at destroying both viruses and bacteria as they move through the body, in particular in the respiratory and digestive tracts. It is also second to none for expelling worms.

The high sulphur content of garlic is also very useful for joint health. Sulphur makes up about 75% of all connective tissues and a good dietary source offers support to these tissues, making sure that they stay strong and supple.

Garlic is also now often used for its advantageous effect on the cardiovascular system. Hundreds of studies show that garlic offers protection against the formation of plaques within artery walls. In addition to this, garlic seems to lower blood pressure, probably by it vasodilatory action which causes blood vessels to relax thus lowering overall pressure.

There is even evidence to suggest that regular garlic consumption may protect against colon cancer by protecting the cells from damage (antimutagenic effect). It has a positive effect on digestion in general and swelling and irritation may be rectified with regular consumption.

Although adding garlic to your dishes will always be enormously beneficial (and delicious) whichever way you decide to use it, the absolute best way to consume it is raw. What’s more, the oils are made even more powerful when garlic is crushed or very finely chopped as this starts the enzymatic process that releases the active compounds. Use garlic raw in salad dressings, over roasted vegetables or added to your dishes at the last minute. Bon appétit!


10 responses to “The wonders of garlic

  1. I wish I liked raw garlic, you almost make me want to eat it but I really don’t like the taste. Cooked I am fine with but raw no. I should probably get garlic pills. This is really a wonderful post full of really great information. How are you feeling???

    • It’s funny you don’t mind it cooked but don’t like it raw, although I suppose thinking about it raw garlic is much stronger… I’m getting more mobile every day really – I can walk without my crutches, although not as far as I’d like. Patience is the key. Thank you for asking. x

  2. J’adore l’ail cru, cuit, confit, mariné, rôti, écrasé, émincé… bref j’adore l’ail. I usually process garlic, fresh ginger, and a little hot pepper into a paste, and eat it with a piece of bread. I make large quantities, top the paste with a little oil, and it keeps for a while in the refrigerator. I wouldn’t just eat raw garlic alone, I’ve tried it, and it was just too strong for me!

    • Moi aussi je l’adore sous toutes ses formes et j’en mange à presque chaque repas (à part le petit déj., et encore…) I love the sound of your paste – it sounds not only delicious but also like it would fight off colds and flu! I must make some. 🙂

      • Indian recipes often call for a ginger and garlic paste, but it is often cooked; my yoga teacher taught me how to make these raw pastes, and eat them by the spoonful (and they do help against colds)! I kind of got used to always keeping a small jar on hand!

        • Great tip – I’m going to try it. How long can you keep the paste in the fridge?

          • Hmmm… I don’t really know; the one I currently have in the fridge is still perfectly good, and I’ve had it for about 10-12 days I believe. I add a thin drizzle of oil on top to prevent oxydation, but I also make smallish jars, just so as never to have to throw any out. I also want to try lacto-fermenting larger quantities, but I haven’t tried that yet!

            • Have you got a recipe for it on your blog? If you have I’d like to reblog it…

              • No… I’m sorry I don’t! But then, I don’t have a “recipe”, I litterally just blend a few garlic cloves with a random amount of ginger and a few whole hot peppers (including seeds if you like even more heat). The peppers are optionalof course. I also add an optional pinch of salt. I’d say a ratio of 100 gr. garlic for 150 gr. ginger is about right, but I never weigh the ingredients, and never make the same paste twice!

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