Garlic is known for its distinct aroma and flavour. This little vegetable is packed with lots of health benefits and is actually one of the most potent natural medicines and functional foods on the planet.
Since the early parts of history, garlic (Allium sativum) has been used by humans. It has its place in the ancient Egyptian’s daily diet, particularly among the working class, and also held a valued place as a medicinal herb and functional food. It was thought to instill and maintain strength for greater productivity.
Allicin, which is the garlic’s active ingredient, is a compound that contains sulphur and responsible for garlic’s strong flavor and pungent smell. Also, it is the one that makes the vegetable extremely powerful medicinal herb.
Garlic Has Anti-Cancer And Cardio-protective Properties
In developed countries, cancer and cardiovascular disease are among the top killers. Garlic has been shown to have benefits against these two groups of conditions.
In one study, its results suggest that garlic can delay the formation of plaque in the blood vessels, effectively retarding the progression of atherosclerosis. Vascular plaque constricts the flow of blood and is one of the leading reasons behind heart attacks.
Garlic was also found to have hypotensive properties. High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the leading factors behind heart disease and can lead to damage of different organs, among which are kidneys.
The antioxidant properties of garlic protect the cells from oxidative damage.
Additionally, garlic has also been found to have antioxidant properties that protect the cells from oxidative damage. It helps to modulate the level of lipids in the blood and prevents abnormal clots that lead to heart attack and stroke.
Many studies have shown this vegetable’s ability in fighting different types of cancer cells. It indicates benefits against the two most common cancers in women, breast and cervical cancer. It can also help against liver, colon, skin, blood, and pancreatic cancers.
Garlic As An Antimicrobial Agent
There have been many studies detailing the health benefits of garlic. Numerous researches found its effectiveness against infectious disease, some of the top killers in poor, developing countries.
According to the results showed in a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, garlic is effective against Staphylococcus aureus, even those strains that are resistant to methicillin, an antibiotic. Though S. aureus is normally harmless or causes only minor infections, they can cause potentially fatal staph infections in people with a weak immune system.
In a separate study, it was discovered that garlic can fight both multi-drug resistant and non-multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen behind tuberculosis (TB). In developed countries, TB is generally well-controlled, yet it still remains a disease of considerable risk in poor populations. Furthermore, conventional chemical medications have led to the development of multi-drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis, thereby making the disease a lot trickier to treat in many instances.
Apart from its effectiveness against bacteria, garlic can also combat disease-causing fungal infections. Many studies have looked into garlic’s benefits against Candida albicans, a yeast-shaped fungus that causes yeast infections, as well as several other types of infection. Due to its nature, Candida is difficult to treat using conventional medication, but fortunately, garlic was found to be effective against it.
Another study confirmed this result since it found that garlic can help prevent thrush, a condition that occurs when Candida infects the mouth and throat of infants.
Moreover, garlic was also effective against viral pathogens, such as HIV-1, and infections, including herpes and the flu.