Learn More About Garlic

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What is garlic?

Garlic, or allium sativum, is one of the best known herbs in the world. Native to Asia, it has been adopted as a cooking spice by many cultures around the world, and is especially prized in the Mediterranean area. This herb is closely related to leeks and onions.

What is garlic used for?

In addition to its uses as a food seasoning, garlic is one of the most widely used and intensively studied medicinal spices in the world. To condense its many benefits into a short article presents a real challenge, particularly given its long history.

Ancient Egyptians used to give it to their pyramid-building slaves as form of payment, which ought to give an idea of how prized it was even back then. A few centuries later the Greeks would eat it raw before battle, in the belief that it would promote vigor and courage. And during the Middle Ages, when the Black Death ravaged Europe, thieves would douse themselves with a concoction of vinegar and garlic before looting the houses of the sick and dying, so as to protect themselves from the plague.

Chicago gangsters in the Roaring Twenties used to rub garlic on their bullets in the belief that this would cause those injured by their attacks to develop gangrene. But we now know that if anything, this resulted in cleaner, more antiseptic gunshot wounds. A considerable body of evidence exists that garlic fights infections of various kinds, including viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

These benefits appear to stem in large measure from allicin, the sulfur-rich compound that gives garlic its distinctive odor. This compound is formed when the garlic is chopped, crushed, chewed, or otherwise exposed to air, and is probably the main reason it has been employed against everything from athlete’s foot to diabetes to candida to tuberculosis for thousands of years.

Other healthful substances found in garlic include diallyl sulfides, which help to maintain blood chemistry and promote cardiovascular health. These are believed to be the key to garlic’s ability to improve the ratio of so-called good to so-called bad cholesterol, to increase blood flow, and to boost the immune system. These compounds also have anti-inflammatory effects that can ease both arthritis and asthma attacks. Their ability to promote the production of nitric oxide also helps to fight high blood pressure by dilating the arteries.

Garlic may turn out to accomplish still more
, given that the National Institutes of Health are currently funding a multimillion-dollar, decade-long study to determine to what extent the consumption of garlic—also a powerful antioxidant--reduces cancer risk.

How is garlic taken?

Using garlic can present certain difficulties. It can be consumed directly, of course, although not everyone can handle its strong taste. In addition, the consumption of raw garlic can not only cause stomach upset but, because of its strong odor, cause social difficulties.

For this reason many people prefer to benefit from garlic by using enterically coated garlic pills designed to break down in the small intestine. This considerably reduces or eliminates odor.

Is garlic safe?

The blood-thinning properties of garlic are well documented. Pregnant women and those on prescription drugs, especially coumadin, should definitely discuss the advisability of taking garlic with a doctor before actually doing so.

And remember—you can get the best garlic supplements
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High-Quality Garlic Supplements Are Available From A1Supplements.com. Go To The Full Garlic Product Listing!

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