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Garlic has been used throughout the centuries, for treating various illness. Garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol. In addition to lowering cholesterol garlic has gained mainstream alternative medicine acceptance as an immune booster,acting like mother natures own antibiotic.
A Remedy For
- Elevated Cholesterol
- Depleted Sickness
- Compromised/Deficient Immune System
- Poor Blood
- Poor Cardiovascular Health
- Bladder Infections
What It Is; Why It Works
Garlic is an onion, with the bulb made up of cloves instead of layers. The flowers are white to pink in round shaped umbels. Hollow long leaves, can reach up to 2 feet. Garlic has been used since the days of the Egyptians to treat wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites. Anti bacterial, antibiotic, antiseptic, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal ailments, and lowering cholesterol. Garlic contains 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids, and many other vitamins and minerals. Depending on how garlic is handled depicts which compound is released.
Medical studies have shown that garlic can lower cholesterol, prevent dangerous blood clots, reduce blood pressure, prevent cancer, and protect against bacterial and fungal infections. In fact, garlic has been used medicinally for at least 3,000 years, but until relatively recently its benefits were considered little more than folklore. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Nov. 28, 1990;264:2614), the therapeutic roles of garlic have been described in more than 1,000 scientific studies.
Modern scientific research confirms these ancient uses for garlic, including the ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (fats) as well as elevated blood pressure increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Garlic's sulfur-containing compounds, which lend the herb its pungent, spicy aroma, are responsible for many of its healing properties. Specifically, these compounds lower cholesterol by stimulating the release of bile by the gall bladder (bile contains cholesterol and related compounds) and by decreasing the production of cholesterol in the liver. In addition, garlic compounds gently lower blood pressure by slowing the production of the body's own blood pressure raising hormones.
Garlic also possesses the ability to stimulate the immune system. The bulb stimulates the activity of macrophages, white blood cells which engulf the foreign organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and yeast. It increases the activity of the T-helper cells, immune cells which are central to the activity of the entire immune system. Garlic may be particularly effective in treating upper respiratory viral infections due to its immune-enhancing properties and its ability to clear mucous from the lungs.
Garlic also possesses the ability to inhibit the growth of parasites in the intestines, including amoebas which cause dysentery. Garlic has also been used in folk medicine in many parts of the world to treat pinworms, an annoying but generally harmless intestinal parasite.
This amazing herb has also demonstrated the ability to protect against a variety of environmental and other toxins. Garlic's sulfur compounds, in addition to selenium containing compounds, are potent antioxidants which protect cell membranes and DNA from damage. Furthermore scientific studies have shown that garlic stimulates the production of the liver's own detoxifying enzymes which neutralize carcinogens and other toxins.
Adesh K. Jain, M.D., of the
Center and Tulane University School of Medicine,
New Orleans , reported that garlic can lower blood levels of "total" cholesterol and, particularly, of the dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) form. Jain gave 20 men and women 900 milligrams of garlic powder tablets daily and compared them to 22 people getting just a placebo.
By the end of the 12-week study, total blood cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 6 percent among those taking the garlic tablets, compared with only a 1 percent drop among those taking a placebo. The garlic takers also benefited from an 11 percent decrease in the LDL form of cholesterol, compared with a 3 percent reduction in the placebo group. American Journal of Medicine (June 1994;94:632-5).
Garlic is also an anticoagulant - a natural blood thinner. H. Kieswetter, M.D., of the University of Saarlandes, Hamburg, Germany, recently found that garlic could help patients suffering from peripheral arterial occlusive disease, characterized by blood clots in the legs. Typically, patients with the condition are asked to walk, because increased blood flow reduces the number of clots. However, they are easily discouraged because peripheral arterial occlusive disease causes extreme pain after walking only a short distance. American Journal of Medicine (June 1994;94:632-5).
Kieswetter gave 32 patients 800 milligrams of garlic powder tablets daily for 12 weeks, while another 32 patients received a placebo. He then measured their "pain-free walking distance." For the first several weeks, both groups of patients progressed about as they would in a typical walking program. As time went on however, patients taking garlic were able to walk about one-third farther without pain, according to Kieswetter's report in Clinical Investigator (May 1993;71:383-6).
The researcher also noted that garlic's benefits, which included decreased blood pressure, could be detected after patients took a single garlic powder capsule. Blood pressure increases in response to the body's production of angiotensen I-converting enzyme (ACE). Some prescription blood pressure drugs work as "ACE inhibitors," blocking formation of the chemical. Garlic contains gamma-glutamylcysteine, a natural ACE inhibitor, according to an article in Planta Medica (Sendl, A. Feb. 1992;58:1-7).
Garlic also protects against cancer. Benjamin Lau, M.D., Ph.D., noted in Molecular Biotherapy (June 1991;3:103-7), that garlic "is one of the most ancient of plants reputed to have an anticancer effect. As recorded around 1550 B.C., in the Ebers Papyrus, garlic was used externally for the treatment of tumors by ancient Egyptians and internally by Hippocrates and Indian physicians."
Lau, a researcher at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, has identified three ways garlic protects against cancer: by directly inhibiting tumor cell metabolism, by preventing the initiation and reproduction of cancer cells, and by boosting a person's immune system to more efficiently fight cancer cells.
John Milner, Ph.D., of
University Park , recently studied how aged garlic powder might protect against nitrosamine-induced cancers in laboratory mice. Nitrosamines are formed when processed meats, such as bacon and bologna are eaten.
Milner found that a diet consisting of 2 to 4 percent garlic delayed the growth of breast cancer and reduced the number of tumors. "The total tumor number was reduced by 56% in rats fed the 2% garlic-powder diet throughout the 20 weeks feeding period compared to control-fed rats," he explained in Carcinogenesis (Oct. 1992;13:1847-51).
Another benefit was that levels of glutathione-S-transferase were 42 percent higher among the animals eating high-garlic diets. Glutathione-S-transferase is an enzyme that helps the liver detoxify carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals.
In a separate study, Milner found that garlic could dramatically reduce the number of "adducts" in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Adducts are chemicals that attach nitrosamines to DNA, setting the stage for cancerous changes.
Milner exposed a group of laboratory rats to nitrosamines, but some of the animals were also given large amounts of aged garlic powder - again, 2 to 4 percent of the diet. Depending on the amount of garlic they ate, the rats had a 40 to 80 percent reduction in the adducts in the liver. In addition, garlic-eating rats benefited from 55 to 69 percent fewer mammary gland adducts, according to Milner's article in Carcinogenesis (Feb. 1994;15:349-52).
Several studies have also shown that garlic reduces the risk of stomach cancer. One study, conducted in , found that garlic consumption was inversely related to the incidence of stomach cancer, according to a report in Preventive Medicine (Han, J., Sept. 1993;22:712-22). Other experiments, such as the one described in Cancer Letters (Nagabhushan, M., Oct. 21, 1992;66:207-16), noted that diallyl sulfide significantly reduced stomach tumors in hamsters.
In still another experiment, Professor M. M. El-Mofty of
Alexandria University, , fed Egyptian toads either freshly minced garlic, garlic oil, or corn oil (placebo) for four months, then exposed them to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), a food contaminant that can cause liver cancer.
Only 3 percent of the toads fed fresh garlic and only 9 percent of the 65 animals fed garlic oil developed tumors. In contrast, 19 percent of those fed corn oil developed liver and kidney tumors.
Our results show that feeding toads minced garlic or garlic oil resulted in a marked reduction in the incidence of tumors induced by AFB1," El-Mofty wrote in Nutrition and Cancer, 1994;21:95-100). "The fresh garlic showed a greater inhibitory effect...This suggests that there are additional highly active components in fresh garlic."
Microbial and Fungal Infections
Scientific research has also confirmed garlic's role as a natural antibiotic. Back in 1983, Lau noted in Medical Hypotheses (12:227-37) that "garlic extract has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against many genera of bacteria and fungi...Because many of the microorganisms susceptible to garlic extract are medically significant, garlic holds a promising position as a broad-spectrum therapeutic agent."
One way garlic works is by promoting phagocytosis, the ability of white blood cells to fight infections. Another is by stimulating other immune cells, such as macrophages and T-cells to fight bacterial and viral infections and to scavenge for cancer cells. One report, in Deutsche Zeitschrift für Onkologie (April 1989;21:52-3), described how garlic enhanced the body's "killer cell" activity against the AIDS virus.
Lau has also noted that garlic can combat Candida infections. In one study, he injected an aged garlic extract into mice with Candida infections. After a day, the Candida colonies numbered 400, compared with 3,500 among the mice given only a salt-water solution. After two days, the garlic-treated mice were free of Candida.