Garlic has a long history of preventative health benefits. As far back as 6000 years ago, people have recorded history of the benefits of garlic. It prevents vampire bites and wards off the evil eye. It also protects virgins and pregnant women from nymphs apparently. Of course, today, some long for vampire bites, especially from one Edward Cullen. In ancient Egypt, garlic was actually worshipped and clay models of it were placed with King Tut in his tomb. For all those years though, garlic has had many uses, including as a seasoning for food and for medicinal purposes. Garlic is a close relative of the onion, hence the “Allium”, and it means “spear leek”.
The beneficial substances in garlic, or what I like to call “good stuff”, are the sulfur-containing compounds, especially one called allicin. Must be a girl. Crushing or mincing the garlic releases the allicin and gets the chemical processes going to create more good stuff. I read in a couple different places that crushing or mincing the garlic, and letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to recipes, allows more allicin to be released and more good stuff to be formed so that there is more available. Heating lessens the benefits that garlic provides, so having more available means that losing some isn’t as critical. I also read that the majority of garlic sold in U.S. grocery stores comes from China and has been irradiated, which severely reduces, or completely kills, the good stuff in garlic. *LOOK FOR AMERICAN FLAG OR PRODUCT OF USA OR LOCALLY GROWN* I don’t know that that will guarantee better quality garlic, but it sure can’t hurt! Personally, I am off to the local garden center today to buy some seed bulbs and grow my own garlic. I don’t have much to say about growing your own garlic, because I have not been successful at it yet. I tried to grow some from bulbs purchased at the grocery store…it didn’t work. This year I am going to try the right way. It is supposed to be planted in the fall so that it starts growing early next spring. And that’s all I know.
Garlic is a strong immune booster. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Garlic also has cardiovascular benefits. It has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and to slow hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Also, research is being done to decide of garlic also has some cancer fighting abilities. (I really hope that one’s true because cancer runs in my family!)
1) applied topically (bet that smells good) ;p
3) as food
Let’s address #1 first, applied topically. Apparently garlic used to be used for getting rid of warts. Just place fresh minced garlic on the wart and cover it with a bandage, or get this, duct tape. I swear that is what it said! Repeat daily with fresh ingredients until the wart is gone. *One note of caution, if skin irritation occurs from the garlic (or the adhesive I would imagine) then stop immediately. I have not tried that one with my family, but it might be worth a try before you head to the doctor. I can say with confidence that over the counter remedies, and I have tried all of them, have never worked for anyone in my family.
For achieving the general health benefits of garlic, you can either take it in capsule form or use it in your food more often. It will help prevent colds and infections by boosting your immune system, or if you already have a cold, eating (or taking in capsule form) extra garlic will speed your recovery time. By the way, I take no responsibility for these claims. I only know that I have tried it and it works for my family.
I prefer to eat my medicine rather than take a pill, so I use a lot of garlic in my cooking. Plus I’m part Italian, we use a lot of garlic anyway. I mentioned above about crushing garlic about 10 minutes before adding it to a recipe and using minimal heat. Sometimes, I have to slightly adapt the recipe to accommodate those techniques, but they still turn out tasty.
I found a recipe that used 20 garlic cloves, but you were supposed to leave the skin on and roast them with a chicken. No crushing and all that heat would pretty much defeat the purpose of eating garlic for health reasons…but it would probably taste pretty awesome! Below are some recipes that I have found. (Can you tell that I love Family Circle recipes?) The first one is a blog that I follow. They just posted that recipe yesterday and it sounds delicious! I am going to make it Sunday and eat it while watching the Bears game. I am also posting these links on my Herbal Recipes page.
My lesson that I learned is that practice makes perfect (or almost) when linking to other pages. I have also improved (greatly may I say) my cut and paste technique. Who knew it could be so easy?!
Hope you enjoy the garlic recipes! Happy and Healthy eating!