March 5, 2011

040 Garlic - the "Stinking Rose" [30 Nov 2009]

Garlic has long been famous for both its health giving properties and for its odor. It is garlic's sulfur containing compounds that are responsible for both.

Garlic aids digestion by supporting the healthy aerobic bacteria and reducing the bad anaerobic bacteria in the gut by interfering with the bacteria's oxygen metabolism. For this reason, garlic has been used for diarrhea, gastroenteritis, colitis, constipation, and indigestion.

The sulfur compounds in garlic help protect against viruses by preventing their replication. Garlic has been shown to increase the virus-killing activity of white blood cells and is also effective against fungal infections including Candida albicans.

Garlic helps your heart in several ways. A 1993 clinical study showed a significant reduction in LDL (the "bad cholesterol") with garlic supplementation. Other studies showed a reduction in total cholesterol and an increase in HDL ("good cholesterol"). While not as effective as pharmaceuticals, it is much safer and for moderate cases worth asking your doctor for a trial. Garlic also increases the blood's ability to dissolve the chemical fibrin, making blood platelets less sticky and reducing the formation of clots.

Garlic is even showing promise in fighting cancer. Garlic contains two important anti-oxidant minerals, germanium and selenium. Germanium intensifies the activity of natural killer (NK) cells which destroy tumor cells. Selenium is an important antioxidant which can prevent oxidation of LDL.

My wife loves to cook with whole garlic cloves (I hope you haven't noticed!) but the health benefits of garlic are also available in more convenient (and odorless) supplements. There are several to choose from:
·        Wild Garlic (Allium usinum) is said to be much more powerful than regular garlic (A. sativum) without the odor problem.
·        A special aging process, developed in Japan, results in a garlic supplement that is odor free while retaining many of garlic's health promoting properties. This product however contains no allicin, an important but very unstable sulfur compound.
·        A new process has been recently developed to stabilize and concentrate allicin, creating a very powerful clinically tested new garlic supplement.
Try one of these products to benefit your health without the odor.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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