Thursday, June 3, 2010
Garlic's health benefits and medicinal properties have long been known (1). Garlic has long been considered a herbal "wonder drug", with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague! It has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy, sometimes spelt phitotherapy). Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne and there is some evidence that it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels. It can even be effective as a natural mosquito repellent.
In general, a stronger tasting clove of garlic has more sulphur content and hence more medicinal value it's likely to have. Some people have suggested that organically grown garlic tends towards a higher sulphur level and hence greater benefit to health. In my experience it certainly tastes better so I buy organic whenever possible whether or not it's best for my health.
Some people prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding garlic breath.
Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The body does not appear to build up resistance to the garlic, so its positive health benefits continue over time.