“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrate 460 – 370BC
Natural medicine is my jam. I love nothing more than pulling together a mix of herbs and wholefoods to fix some sort of dis-ease or discomfort. I should have been born centuries ago when the art of healing naturally was passed down from generation to generation. It saddens me to no end that this art has been lost and we are now a population that relies so heavily on medical substitutes. We are so quick to block our bodies natural cleansing processes with pharmaceutical products that we create bigger and more serious problems. How can we then be surprised when we are diagnosed with something more sinister??
Tonight my plan is not to unleash a torrent of natural alternatives, but I will give you just ONE thing that, when used correctly, will totally change your world.
GARLIC. Oh yeah baby!!!
Garlic may not appear much more than a garden bulb, but used correctly, it is one of the most potent healing herbs available and I absolutely love it. Whenever one of our family starts to feel as though we are moving away from optimal health, we reach for the garlic!
Revered since Ancient times for its healing potential and medicinal uses, it has been used by the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and Chinese.
Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition1 that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue.
Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), TB (tuberculosis), liver disorders, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers.
Still today there are countless research papers and publications researching the benefits of this incredible bulb on our health.
- Potent anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic
- Boosts the immune system (one large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo (*).
- Offers an anti-inflammatory effect
- Can assist in reducing triglyceride levels (risk factor for heart disease)
- Can assist with treating hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Can assist in reducing cholesterol levels
- Can assist in reducing fasting blood glucose concentration
- Can assist in the treatment of Cancer
- Can help to detoxify heavy metals in the body
- The antioxidants contained in garlic may help prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- It has also been shown to be an effective bug-repellent
The chemistry of garlic is extremely complex. In the 1940′s scientists identified three important compounds in garlic: aliin, allinase and allicin.
- Aliin is the sulfur containing compound in raw garlic.
- Allinase is an enzyme that interacts with aliin and other garlic compounds to form allicin.
- Allicin is the main ingredient that gives garlic its odor, taste and powerful medicinal properties.
LET YOUR GARLIC SIT!
When you crush, chop or chew garlic, you activate a chemical process that results in the production and release of Allicin. This process takes about 10 minutes to occur which is why you should always let your raw garlic sit for 10 minutes after chopping it to ensure that all of the Allicin is ready to be absorbed. Consuming it before this chemical process has taken place means that your garlic won’t live up to its full protective, disease fighting potential.
FRESH & RAW IS BEST
Garlic has to be fresh, there’s no benefit using the little cloves that have been hidden inside your pantry for weeks or months on end, they will have almost no nutritional benefit left. To be sure that it’s fresh, the whole bulb needs to have that beautiful green spear growing down the centre or it. It means your cloves will be pungent and incredibly potent.
To get the full advantages of garlic, it is best eaten raw. Many people can’t tolerate the taste of raw garlic; using it lightly cooked is better than not using it at all but I would still suggest finding ways to make it tolerable in its raw form. Try a teaspoon of raw unprocessed honey with a teaspoon of chopped garlic and consume it together. The honey does an incredible job of disguising the taste. Chase it down with a glass of water or warm organic herbal tea if you really cant handle the taste. Chewing on fresh parsley or mint leaves afterwards can also really help counteract the aftertaste of garlic.
There are, of course, powder, flake, paste and pill form, all of which have less to offer than fresh and raw.
Garlic is one of the most delicious foods to cook with, it adds the most fantastic flavours but please remember that cooked garlic has limited medicinal benefits.
After cutting or crushing garlic, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before use to ensure that Allicin has been produced. Avoid cooking garlic over high heat nor for too long. The longer it’s cooked the more its health benefits are lost. It is great if you can add it to the pan when the food is almost done or, if you can get past “garlic breath,” add it raw when you’ve completely finished cooking.
2-3 CLOVES EACH DAY
The amount you will need depends entirely on your health status. If you are healthy and well and wanting to maintain optimal health, one teaspoon a day of raw garlic will be enough.
If you are experiencing some sort of infection or ailment, you will need to up the dose to 2-3 average size cloves each day which is the actual therapeutic dose. Eating less than that probably won’t have the healing effect you need.
If you do have a more serious illness, eating 2-3 raw cloves twice a day is recommended.
In my opinion, there is no better gift for your children than to offer them an early introduction and education to healing foods. When they grow up with home-made remedies, they will be more inclined to go along with them and to use them as they grow up. My children are aged 2 and 4 and they will take a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of raw garlic when they aren’t well. Yes, it takes a couple of conversations and some preparation – I have some warm peppermint or chamomile tea ready to chase it down and even the promise of another teaspoon of raw honey by itself. But they will do it.
They hear me talk about the healing properties of garlic all the time and how this little super bulb is going to heal them from the inside out. It’s so much easier when you start doing this when they are little. In saying that, don’t be afraid to start now – its never too late!!!
I would love to hear how you use garlic in your family and if you haven’t tried before, please give it a go! You wont look back.