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Garlic is by no means an uncommon herb, as many people use it in their cooking on a regular basis. But what you might not realize is that it has a host of health benefits, making it one of the best healing herbs around. The good news is that you can often just use it in food to get these medicinal benefits.
What exactly is garlic? It is an herb that belongs to the onion family, a reason why onion and garlic flavors go so well together. Some other seasonings and herbs within this family include shallots, chives, and leeks.
In recent years, as more people get interested in holistic medicine, garlic has been used more for its natural healing properties, and not just as a delicious and healthy way to flavor food. This information is going to provide you a look into how garlic can be used in natural healing.
1. What Healing Properties Does Garlic Have?
You are probably most curious about what kind of healing properties and medicinal qualities garlic has. That is why we’re here after all! Here is a bit of information about the history of garlic, and what it is in garlic that gives it those healing benefits. In the next section, we will get more specific of how you can benefit from it.
The History of Garlic
Before understanding where the healing properties come into place, it can help to know a little about how it became a popular way for natural healing in the first place.
The history of garlic goes as far back to 5,000 years ago in Egypt and India. During this time, it was one of the first horticulture crops and called the stinking rose. It was used to ward off evil, then over the years used for seasoning food, and for holistic remedies.
Where Do the Healing Properties Come From?
The reason garlic has so many health benefits comes down to the different properties, but mainly an oil in garlic called allicin. This is also where it gets both its pungent odor and the intense flavor. Allicin is a natural antibacterial, which is why health benefits are often related to antibacterial properties.
In addition to this, there are more than 40 healthy compounds, including selenium, flavonoids, and arginine in garlic.
2. Healing Benefits of Garlic
Now for the actual healing benefits you can get from garlic.
Boost Your Immune System
One of the benefits people look to the most is improving their immune system. While taking or eating garlic isn’t going to provide a cure or full prevention of illnesses, it can definitely reduce the risk when you have a stronger immune system. In fact, immunity shots that are natural often contain garlic, thanks to how well it works to boost your immunities naturally.
Balance Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Another excellent health benefit of garlic is that it can help to balance your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This includes lowering your blood pressure, and lowering your bad cholesterol, while helping to support good cholesterol levels. It is particularly beneficial with garlic extract, which has shown to improve your blood lipid levels.
Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
Your heart health is not something you ever want to mess around with. This is why boosting your cardiovascular health is such an amazing health benefit of garlic. Many studies have been performed with garlic extract and placebos, to show that the people with garlic extract indeed improved their overall cardiovascular health, including reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure.
Use as a Natural Antibiotic
When you get an infection, you typically go to your doctor for a harsh antibiotic prescription. It can be expensive and a little hard on your body and gut. Plus, you can build an immunity to antibiotics when you take them too often. But what if there was a natural solution? Garlic has actually been shown to be a powerful antibiotic.
Possible Benefits: Brain Health and Reducing Your Risk of Cancer
This last section we want to preface by saying studies are still being performed to look at exactly how well garlic can help with cancer and brain health. However, the results do look good so far. It may help protect from certain types of cancers, including colon, prostate, and stomach cancer by helping to kill off some of the cancer cells in your body.
Studies have also been done to look at the effectiveness of garlic for your cognitive function, and reducing the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
3. How to Use Garlic for Healing
Understanding what garlic can do for you is only the first step. You next to be a little more familiar with how to use it. The good news? In most cases, just consuming it is going to let you benefit from it!
Different Ways to Use Garlic
Consume it – The easiest way to benefit from using garlic for its health benefits is by eating it. This is with either eating it raw, or using it more in your cooking. Raw garlic does have more potent healing properties, so that is something to keep in mind.
Crush it an apply on your skin – A few different health remedies with garlic require actually using it on your skin, as opposed to ingesting it. For example, it can help a lot with athlete’s foot. You actually crush raw garlic and rub it on your feet. Another option is to rub it on pimples to help them go away, though be careful not to use it with any cracks in the skin or open wounds.
Use garlic oil or extract – Other options include getting a garlic oil to consume or rub on your body, or use a garlic extract.
4. Alternative: Using Garlic in Cooking
As we mentioned, just cooking with garlic is one of the ways you can get the healing benefits of garlic, while also seasoning your food. Here are a few quick tips for cooking with this herb.
Choose the Right Garlic Bulb
When you are shopping for a garlic bulb at the grocery store, look for a plump, fresh garlic where the skin doesn’t look dry and is not peeling off. If it is, it is likely old and not going to stay fresh for very long. Pick up the garlic and make sure the skin is smooth and doesn’t come off in your hands.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Be careful how much garlic, whether pressed or minced, you add to your dishes. If you are new to using garlic, start with a small amount, no more than a clove or two. As you start cooking more with it, you will become more familiar with how much you want to use.
Don’t Burn it!
Garlic cooks fast, often much faster than other ingredients in your pan. It is best to leave it until the end in most cases, after you have heated your oil and sautéed onions. If you throw it in first thing, it will likely burn before you are done cooking. Once it turns bitter, it has been overcooked and your dish won’t taste the same.
5. More Tips and Tricks for Using Garlic
Before you go out and buy some garlic to achieve all these wonderful holistic benefits, we have some final tips and tricks for you.
You Can Eat it Raw
Something that tends to surprise most people is that if you want to consume your garlic for its health benefits, you can actually eat it raw! You definitely need to be okay with the smell and flavor, since it is still pretty pungent when it isn’t cooked. However, the antibacterial properties are much higher in raw garlic, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.
Reducing the Breath Odor
Once you start eating garlic, whether raw or in a dish you prepared, your breath might smell strongly of garlic. It can last quite a long time, as well as the lingering taste in your mouth. To remedy this, try chewing on some mint or apple slices after you eat the garlic, and that should help freshen your bit a little.
Be Careful When Infusing Garlic
A lot of different herbs can be infused in oil like olive oil or cooking oil, but with garlic, you need to use it right away. This should not be done with oil you intend to store for a long time, or it is going to spoil and can even grow bacteria. Make sure you infuse it close to when you plan to cook with it.