Nature’s cure-all


I thought it would be interesting to discuss a few things about the foods we eat.  Today, I’m going to talk about garlic.

We all love the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove or the warm bread dripping with garlic butter, but, where did garlic get its start?

Garlic is naturally grown in Central Asia and Northeastern Iran.  It has been used as a seasoning and as a medicine for thousands of years.  Garlic was actually found in ancient pyramids!!

So, what was garlic used for?  Back thousands of years ago, garlic was a natural   medicine.  In Egypt, they gave it to the slaves to help with productivity, strength and heat stroke.  They also used garlic oil for skin disease.  In Greece, soldiers ate it to enhance courage and performance.

Garlic was also thought to cure small pox, intestinal worms, circulatory ailments, depression, edema, animal bites, joint disease, seizures, and to prevent you from getting the plague.

Oh, and let us NOT forget….the Europeans used garlic to keep vampires, werewolves, and demons away by wearing a string of garlic around their neck or hanging it in the windows of their homes.  Garlic was also rubbed on chimneys and key holes for added safety!!

In the 19th century, American Indians were discovered using garlic as a tea for flu-like symptoms.  Louis Pasteur reported that 1mm of raw garlic was as effective as 60mg. of penicillin.  During WWI, garlic was known as the Russian penicillin.  Garlic was used in WWI and WWII as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.

Not only is garlic used for medicinal purposes, it’s also known for its natural repellent.  Garlic is used in the UK as an insecticide and nematicide for controlling the cabbage root fly and red mites on poultry.  It is also used as a meat and fish preservative.  Garlic also repels rabbits, moles, birds, garden worms, mosquitoes, slugs and other insects.

With all its history, modern science is doing research with garlic for preventing cardiovascular disease and on certain cancers such as upper digestive tract and stomach cancers.

Why is garlic such a cure-all?  It’s not when eaten in a typical serving size of 1 to 3 cloves.  When used per 100 grams it contains several nutrients that exceed 20% or more of your daily value.  Garlic has vitamins B6 and C, thiamine and pantothenic acid, as well as calcium, iron and zinc.  It also contains the minerals, manganese and phosphorus.

With all the wondrous things garlic can do, unfortunately, bad breath and smelly body odors go along with the product.  The chemicals in the garlic are absorbed into the blood and travels to the lungs and is released through skin pores.  Brushing your teeth and taking a bath will help only so much.  The smell has to eventually go through your system.  FYI, taking sips of milk while eating garlic will help neutralize bad breath.  Parsley is another good cleanser.

Some people have allergies to garlic.  Symptoms include, irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties and in rare cases anaphylaxis.  Garlic may also interfere with medications you are taking.  Before you think about taking garlic in high doses or a supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor first!!!

I hope you enjoyed this little informative blog.  Maybe the next time you sit down to your favorite meal, you can start some table chatter!!!