Garlic is not only a great superfood, it’s also one of the world’s oldest and best natural medicines. Garlic has been found in ancient caves, and even the oldest medical text from 1500 B.C. This book described garlic as an effective treatment for heart issues, tumors, headaches and even scorpion bites. Today we consider garlic an excellent natural treatment for certain infections, ulcers, high cholesterol and lead poisoning.
The smell of garlic is something that takes a bit of getting used to, especially for anyone who didn’t grow up with it daily. The ancient Greeks famously called their Egyptian counterparts “the stinking ones” because of their personal garlic use. The Egyptians venerated garlic so much that they even used it to seal oaths and would swear on garlic to prove they were telling the truth. It was given to slaves to keep them healthy, and is even mentioned in the Bible as something the Jewish slaves fleeing Egypt missed while wandering the desert with Moses.
Garlic is considered the most medicinally potent plant of the Allium genus, and much stronger than its cousins, onions and chives. When garlic is chewed or bruised, the chemical compound allicin is released. This compound is known by herbalists and medical practitioners worldwide as a powerful and natural antibiotic. Studies have shown that allicin kills the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and even salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning. Garlic in several different forms (supplements, oils and the bulb) is often used to prevent the common cold, ulcers and even blood clots.
Most herbalists will suggest regular use of garlic for almost everyone as part of a natural health regimen. People with clotting disorders, however, should avoid garlic. Anyone taking blood thinners should consult his or her doctor before adding a garlic supplement. Nursing mothers may want to avoid eating garlic since it is known to cause colic in nursing babies. Anyone allergic to foods in the allium genus (onions, chives, leeks, chives, shallots) should avoid garlic altogether. And of course, if you can’t stand the smell, then this healing plant may not be for you…or your loved ones.