It also kills cancer. Now you’re curious, right? What could it be?
- a) marshmallow pudding
- b) squid eyeballs
- e) ground rose petals
- c) frog liver
- d) garlic
Yes, that humble little spicy clove called garlic does all that.
So many ways to use garlic
Chop it or crush in a garlic press and add it to every conceivable savory dish:
- roasted and sautéed veggies
- baked or grilled fish
- roasted or grilled chicken, lamb, bison, steak, hamburger
- frogs legs, calf liver, venison, shrimp. Hey, if you’re eating locusts, add it into that!
- soups and stews
- rice and other grains
- scrambled eggs and omelettes
- canned tomatoes and pasta sauce
- buttered mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower
- whatever else is for dinner
Unexpected ways to use raw garlic
- scrambled eggs: sprinkle raw garlic on top—balances nicely with a cooked egg
- avocado toast: use a gluten-free, low-glycemic flour like almond (not rice flour or tapioca starch), spread butter and a layer of avocado, sprinkle garlic. Or use a red pepper half instead of bread.
- smoothies: add to any combination of fruits and veggies. Start with a little, then add more as you adapt.
- juicing: press it along with your celery-carrot-ginger juice.
- honey-lemon-garlic tea. Only fresh ingredients, mind you.
At first the taste is a bit jarring but then you get used to the kick and it makes your mouth feel alive.
And guess what? You can even eat it all by itself! Crush it, swallow it, and chase it down with lots of water or a starch to absorb the spiciness.
Can’t eat it raw? Try lacto-fermenting the garlic in a salt brine. This removes some of the bite and produces additional enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Here’s an easy recipe.
Garlic has long been used in cooking for its wonderful flavor, but, surprisingly, its medicinal properties have been recognized since the beginning of recorded history.
The discovery of garlic’s ability to cure illness developed independently in cultures with no known contact: documents in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India all attest to the medicinal applications of garlic and its use to treat disease.
For example, the Ebers papyrus, an Egyptian scroll from 1550 BC containing hundreds of formulas and remedies recommends garlic to treat parasites, circulation, insect infestations and general physical malaise.
- Assyrians used garlic as an antibiotic.
- Greeks used garlic for asthma and to neutralize the toxins from poisonous plants.
- The famous Greek physician Pliny the Elder recommended garlic for toothaches, hemorrhoids, consumption, animal bites, bruises, ear aches, sore throat and 15 other maladies.
- The Chinese used garlic to treat diarrhea, prevent plague, and treat fatigue and headaches.
- Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, counted garlic as a medicine and used it to treat a myriad of conditions.
To learn more about the illustrious history of garlic as a medicine, check out this fascinating and well-researched blog.
But what about cancer? There wasn’t even cancer back then.
Cancer was rare in ancient times and is widely considered a “modern Western disease”. In Egypt, hundreds of mummies have been examined and only one case of cancer was found. But the role of garlic in treating a range of diseases is so well substantiated that researchers are compelled to study its potential to treat cancer. A molecule in garlic called allicin has been shown to cause the death of cancer cells and to prevent their proliferation.
- In this study aged garlic extract (ACE) inhibited the growth of sarcoma and lung carcinoma cells.
- In this study fresh, raw garlic stopped the growth of breast cancer cells.
- Here, certain compounds of garlic—S-allylcysteine and S-allylmercaptocysteine—suppressed the growth of prostrate cancer.
Is garlic still used to treat ailments and diseases?
Yes, indeed. There’s something for everyone!
- Garlic strengthens the immune system by stimulating certain types of cells. Both raw garlic and aged garlic extract supplements are protective against colds and may reduce their incidence and severity.
- The allicin that we talked about can inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
- A compound called S-ally cysteine can help with memory impairment and inflammation in the brain.
- Taking garlic supplements—specifically aged garlic extract—reduces blood pressure.
- Garlic has a protective and curative effect on cardiovascular health.
- Garlic reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimers Disease.
- Garlic even protects against deliberately-induced chromosomal damage in mice. So if you have any mice with damaged cells, feed them garlic for 30 days, lol!
So you see, garlic is nothing to sneeze at and its practical applications for healing are still in use today.
Note that garlic is a powerful food, and the downside is that it may have an impact on medication you currently take. So if you have cancer or another medical condition, and especially if you are taking blood thinners, check out this list of interactions or talk to your doctor.
How to consumer garlic if you’re not cooking:
- Crush a clove and swallow it with a large chug of water.
- Mince a clove of garlic and steep it in hot water for 5 minutes. Enjoy your new cough syrup!
- Take a supplement of aged garlic extract (ACE). Kyolic brand has been clinically studied. Note that there is controversy surrounding the efficacy of supplements—they may not offer all the health benefits of raw garlic.
I hate garlic. Will anything else do the trick?
Glad you asked. Onions, leeks, chives, and scallions belong to the same family (Allium) and share a lot of the health benefits. Some people can’t stomach garlic—literally; it can cause heartburn and nausea, especially if eaten on an empty stomach. A small percentage of people are even allergic to garlic. if this is you, don’t worry! Either eat it cooked or become a leek-eater!