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THE HERBAL CORNER - "Garlic" (Allium sativum)

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GARLIC, otherwise known as the "stinking rose," is one of the most valuable foods on this planet. If the term "wonder drug" can be applied to any healing herb, Garlic certainly deserves that distinction. It is the world's second oldest medicinal herb, after ephedra, and is still the best. Within the Allium genus - which includes onions, challets, leeks, chives, and scallions - Garlic is the most powerful of these bulb root herbs and probably the most thoroughly researched.

The health benefits of garlic were praised by both the ancient Greeks and Egyptians and now supported by modern research. Its health advantages are wide-ranging because of its chemical makeup and active ingredients, including: volatile oil with sulphur-containing compounds (notably allicin, alliin, and ajoene), enzymes, B vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids. Garlic is available as cloves, essential oil, and in tablets, capsules, teas, and tincture forms, and may possess the following therapeutic properties:

  • 1. Antibiotic action against infectious agents. Garlic may be effective in subduing a range of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, such as influenza, colds, cold sores, gastroenteritis, candida yeast infections, among others.
  • 2. Reduces blood cholesterol. Many studies confirm that eating two fresh garlic cloves a day can decrease blood cholesterol levels by about 10%.
  • 3. Helps blood flow freely. Studies show that garlic helps dilate blood vessels and reduces the risk of blood clots, which can block blood vessels, leading to heart attack or stroke.
  • 4. Lowers high blood pressure. Several studies confirm that garlic helps fight hypertension and that valuable drops in pressure can be produced by moderate amounts of garlic intake.
  • 5. Lowers blood sugar levels. This may especially be beneficial to diabetics and those who suffer from hypoglycemia.
  • 6. Anti-cancer agent. Chinese population studies have shown that those who usually ate the most garlic had less than half the risk of stomach cancer of those who at the least garlic.

    Garlic is effective when combined with sesame oil and applied externally to treat ringworm of the scalp, pinworms, carbuncles, swelling, athlete's foot, arthritis, and rheumatism. Although Garlic's anticlotting action may prevent heart attacks and some kinds of stroke, large medicinal amounts could conceivably cause problems for those with clotting disorders. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their physician before using garlic. Also, people allergic to garlic may develop a rash by touching or eating the herb.

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    Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.

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