According to an Egyptian scroll that is 3500 years old, garlic was being used for many ailments. This herb has so many wonderful benefits that it is difficult to name them all. So before we begin I have just three words for the ones who say they don’t like the smell of garlic “get over it“. In April of 1998 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an alarming study that found adverse reactions (side effects) to prescription drugs to be the forth to sixth leading cause of death in this country – right behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke. As a Naturopath I believe in natural medicine and feel that these herbs have a proven record of thousands of years. Lets get back to what is natural and away from drugs that always do harm along with the good.
Garlic is known as a natural anti-biotic, without the deleterious effects of the drugs that kill all life within the body. Hippocrates recommended it for infections, wounds, cancer, leprosy and digestive problems. Plainly used garlic in sixty-one prescriptions for ailments ranging from the common cold to epilepsy and from leprosy to tapeworm. In 1721, during the plague in France, four condemned criminals were forced to bury the dead. They drank a concoction of garlic and wine that apparently made them immune to the disease. The drink became known as vinaigre des quatre voleurs (four thieves’ vinegar), and is still available in France today. During World War I, physicians in the British, French and Russian armies used garlic juice to treat infected wounds and gangrene. Amoebic dysentery was also treated with garlic juice. In World War II, Russia was so overwhelmed with more than 20 million wounded they used up all of their penicillin and sulfa drugs. Physicians reverted to treatment with garlic, which became known as “Russian penicillin”. Louis Pasteur in 1858 was the first scientist to research garlic. He found that by putting a bit of garlic in a petri dish full of bacteria, the garlic quickly killed the bacteria. Albert Schweitzer used garlic extensively in his clinics in Africa.
Since Pasteur many researchers, primary in Europe and Asia have studied garlic. They have found it to be helpful in treating many of our more modern diseases such as arteriosclerosis. Its ability to lower serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, hypotensive effects, anticarcinogenic effects and the ability to moderate blood sugar levels have been demonstrated. Garlic can offer significant protection against heart disease and stroke. Studies have indicated that individuals supplemented with garlic showed a reduction in serum cholesterol of 10 –12 percent. Also, LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased about 15 percent, HDL (good) cholesterol increased about 10 percent and tryglyceride levels dropped about 15 percent. Garlic has also demonstrated the ability to lower blood pressure in both animals and humans. In people with hypertension (high blood pressure) garlic can reduce systolic pressure by
20 –30 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 10-20 mmHg. Garlic has shown in human studies to increase serum fibrinolytic activity (part of the blood clotting system) significantly. So overwhelming is the evidence, one researcher commented that garlic was at least as potent as aspirin as an anticlotting heart-attack preventer. I could go on about marvelous herb but am
out of time. I wish you all good health