Colds: One of the most common ailments garlic has been credited as beneficial in fighting is the common cold. According to numerous studies, garlic extract improves the body's immune function and helps conserve the body's antioxidants levels.
The strengthening of the immune system aids in the body's defense against other health related conditions such as:
Cancer: A healthy immune system is necessary to fight cancer, and it is well-established that garlic supports that system. Studies have determined that garlic has the ability to reduce the formation of cancerous cells, and is shown to actually block cancer causing compounds from forming, slowing the growth of tumor cells.
Garlic is especially helpful in blocking oesophagal, breast, stomach, prostate and bladder cancer. Research has proven that compounds in garlic not only slow the rate of growth in a tumor, but can reduce the tumor size by half. When studying the effects on breast cancer, these compounds can actually prevent carcinogens from attaching to breast cells.
The compounds credited with this cancer-fighting benefit are diallye disulphide and s-allycystein. These compounds form when garlic is crushed. In addition to the sulfur components of garlic there are some called "ajoenes," which are also noted for their "antitumor" abilities.
Heart Disease: Just as there are many factors that cause heart disease, there are many benefits of garlic that aid in preventing and treating it:
- Garlic helps lower LDL our cholesterol levels
- Garlic raises our HDL (good) cholesterol levels
- Garlic prevents cholesterol from building up on arterial walls This reduces the chances of plaque forming in our arteries
Recent studies have also shown it to protect the aorta (the heart blood vessel that maintians blood pressure & flow while the heart is pumping). Studies have also shown that regular consumption of garlic slows the aging of the aorta and helps keep it flexible.
Hypertension: Another heart benefit of garlic is its ability to help control our blood pressure by thinning our blood. The chemical in garlic (ajoene) thins the blood and keeps clots from forming. Studies have shown that where there is more garlic consumed in the general population, there is also a reduced incidence of heart disease and hypertension (Chinese herbalists have been using garlic to treat people with angina attacks and circulatory disorders for centuries).
Infection: In 1858, Louis Pasteur discovered that bacterial cells died when they were saturated with garlic. Other uses of garlic include:
- In WW II, British doctors used garlic to treat those wounded in battle
- Albert Schweitzer used garlic to treat typhus and cholera
- Garlic can also help by stimulating T-cells that help fight infection
Garlic is also known to have antiviral and antifungal abilities as well. It is effective against intestinal parasites, recurrent yeast infections and the growth candida albicans is slowed by garlic.
While garlic shows ample benefit in dealing with health issues, it should be condsidered only as an aid to antibiotics in fighting infections, not a substitute.
Impotence: Garlic has also been found to be helpful to those dealing with impotence. Studies have verified folklore dating back centuries hailing garlic as an aphrodisiac. We already know that garlic aids in blood circulation and keeps veins and arteries youthful (important in being able to sustain an erection, but an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase is required to obtain an erection. Compounds in garlic stimulate the production of nitric oxide synthase in people who suffer from low levels of it.
Pregnancy: One can also benefit from garlic during pregnancy. According to a study done by doctors in a London hospital, garlic supplementation may help weight-gain for babies that may be at risk for low birth weight. The study also found that the chance of other at-birth risk factors could be reduced.