Garlic acts as a warming herb for the digestion and respiratory tract, and is the “herbal antibiotic,” and much more. Garlic is one of the herbs that falls into the category of “medicinal foods.” Known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, it has been a favorite necessity for many cuisines throughout the world for countless centuries. It’s a medicine that has a lot of clinical research, including randomized, placebo-controlled studies that support its use as a beneficial aid to the digestion, respiratory tract, and immune system. It has a long history of use for the prevention of parasites in the GI tract, and as a “people’s antibiotic,” that can help fight infections. I love medicinal foods because their safety is insured through hundreds or thousands of years that literally millions use everyday in their diet. The only caveat here is that if the medicinal food is markedly changed by extractions with harsh solvents, and purification of particular compounds, then the safety profile becomes less certain.
You can never go wrong adding cloves of garlic to your food for flavor, and health! Research shows it’s best to crush it with a garlic press first, let it sit for a minute or two, then cook with it. When you cook garlic in its whole form, you are not creating the active sulfur compound, allicin, which is an enzymatic byproduct of the enzyme aliinase coming in contact with the parent compound, allin. When these two compounds come together after crushing the garlic clove within the cells, allicin is produced. An important note is that allicin is necessary for the strongest antibiotic properties of garlic. Other benefits such as cardiovascular support and anticancer effects come with allicin and its breakdown products, disulfides and trisulfides.
Garlic is an important antibiotic and antiviral remedy for colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections. Garlic is an important herbal supplement for protecting the blood and cardiovascular system. Used regularly, the herb can slightly lower your blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, and help prevent atherosclerosis. Garlic has long been used as a remedy for intestinal parasites and as a cancer-preventative.