Published: 09/13/2013 - Updated: 10/16/2018
Author: Miriam Reyes
Garlic is a plant which belongs to the lily family. It has long, flat leaves and is quite narrow; it is bulb-shaped with cloves grouped and individually enclosed by a white crust that clothes each clove like a cocoon. It is native to Europe and China, but its cultivation and use has spread worldwide.
Growing and traditional use of garlic
The best climate for growing garlic is in a mild environment and its cultivation is relatively easy because it usually shoots to flower in no time. Spring and Summer are the most favourable seasons for cultivating garlic as when there are frosts the bulbs can be negatively affected.
During the Middle Ages, it was believed that the smell of garlic from the Crusaders had the property to keep away the Muslims. The healing benefits found within garlic were well appreciated by the Egyptians who used it as a deworming remedy, as well as to help reduce blood pressure and even combat rheumatism, among many other medicinal uses.
Garlic has been considered a friend of good health since ancient times and even has been attributed various mystical properties, like the ability to keep demons away. However, due to its intense aroma it is often rejected in large quantities in cooking, favouring a more subtle dose to produce underlying flavour in recipes.
Garlic medicinal Uses
Garlic has been used to treat many different conditions throughout history and is perhaps one of the most used natural remedies. Some of its properties and medicinal uses are as follows:
- It is attributed to combat intestinal parasites
- Useful against colds
- Tones the body
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Remedy
- It is considered beneficial for people with diabetes
- Helps fight coughs
- Reduces inflammation of colitis
- Recommended to treat infections
- It is hypotensive and therefore helps to lower blood pressure
- Promotes proper liver function
- Useful for bladder ailments
- Recommended for varicose veins
- Promotes good circulation and has anticoagulant properties
- Prevents certain types of cancer
In relation to this last feature, recent research attributed to allicin, a substance found in garlic, found it to produce an important protective effect against the development of cancer and tumors. Research in mice has proven allicin as useful in preventing the growth of tumors. This substance in Garlic is also an excellent antioxidant.
Appropriate consumption of garlic
To take advantage of its properties, it is important to consume raw, because cooked garlic can lose up to 90 % of its properties.
For filletingm you can consume garlic into thin slices , and add to salads , or juices that contain pumpkin, beets, spinach, lemon, celery, tomato and others. You can also crush and add it as part of a dressing in salads or on bread, goes well with a little olive oil.
Starches , such as potatoes, do not allow proper digestion of garlic , hindering its development and causing unpleasant symptoms of indigestion, and belching.
Warnings about garlic
Garlic warnings are related to its anticoagulant properties as its excessive use can promote bleeding. It is not recommended for people who are under treatment with anticoagulants.
Patients who have undergone recent surgery or dental procedures should avoid eating garlic to avoid increasing the risk of bleeding.
Another consideration that must be taken into account before consuming large amounts of garlic is that it can interfere with the uptake of iodine, so if you suffer from thyroid disease, it is recommended to consult your physician prior to consumption .
Despite its benefits for diabetics and hypertension, you should consult a specialist especially if you are undergoing pharmacological treatment.
Cavallito, C. J., & Bailey, J. H. (1944). Allicin, the Antibacterial Principle of Allium sativum. I. Isolation, Physical Properties and Antibacterial Action. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 66(11), 1950–1951.
Garlic and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute
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