If the term wonder drug can be applied to any healing herb, garlic deserves that distinction. It is the world’s second oldest medicine (after ephedra), and still among the best. The first garlic prescription, chiseled in cuneiform on a Sumerian clay tablet, dates from 3000 B.C. The entire ancient world form Spain to China loved garlic, but no people enjoyed it more than the Egyptians, called “the stinking ones” because of their garlic breath. During World War I, British, French, and Russian army physicians treated infected battle wounds with garlic juice. They also prescribed garlic to prevent and treat amoebic dysentery.
Modern herbalists recommend garlic for colds, coughs, flu, fever, bronchitis, ringworm, intestinal worms, elevated cholesterol, and liver, gallbladder, and digestive problems.
How It Works
Garlic contains alliin which when mixed with the garlic enzyme, allinase, transforms into allicin and is a powerful antibiotic. Allicin then can combine with another chemical in the herb, ajoene, and reduce internal blood clots, which can trigger heart attacks and some strokes. Some researchers have claimed garlic is “at least as potent as aspirin” in reducing clots. More than a dozen journal reports document garlic’s ability to reduce cholesterol by 5 to 7 percent.
Garlic, because of its anti-clotting action could conceivably cause problems for those with clotting disorders. Some individuals may have allergies to garlic and develop a rash and should not eat the herb. Garlic enters the milk of nursing mothers and may cause colic in infants. For otherwise healthy non-pregnant, non-nursing adults who do not have clotting disorders, garlic is considered safe even in larger amounts.
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