For a small vegetable, garlic (Allium sativum) sure has a big, and well deserved, reputation. This member of the Lily family, a cousin to onions, leeks and chives, can transform any meal into a bold, aromatic and healthy culinary experience.
Garlic is arranged in a head, called the “bulb,” which is made up of separate cloves. Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheathes that can be white, off-white or pinkish.
Garlic cloves are off-white in color, and although they have a firm texture, they can be easily cut or crushed. The taste of garlic is like no other; it hits the palate with a hot pungency that is shadowed by a very subtle background sweetness.
Health Benefits of Garlic
- Diabetes: Diabetes could harm the kidneys, nervous system functions, cause heart disorders and even lead to poor eyesight. The oil extracted from garlic may aid diabetic patients from these side-effects.
- High cholesterol levels: Of the two kinds of cholesterol –LDL and HDL, the former is bad for human health. Garlic, rich in allicin compound effectively prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidization. All those who have high cholesterol level must include garlic in their daily diet.
- Hypertension: It is an herbal ingredient for curing hypertension. When exposed to high levels of pressure, allicin present in garlic relaxes the blood vessels. Garlic also fights against thrombosis by reducing the platelet aggregation.
- Digestion: Daily inclusion of garlic in diet aids in eliminating any digestive problems. Garlic assists in normal functioning of the intestines for good digestion. Even any swelling or irritation of the gastric canal may be rectifies with garlic treatment.
- Eye care: Garlic is rich in nutrients like Selenium, Quercetin and Vitamin C that helps treat eye infections and swellings.
- Earache: It is used for curing ear ache, as it has several antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic properties. Garlic oil can be made at home itself, by squeezing the juice of garlic cloves and adding it to olive oil. The mixture should be kept at room temperature for a few days.
- Intestinal problems: It clears most of the intestinal problems like dysentery, diarrhea and colitis. Its role in dispelling worms is phenomenal. It does not affect the functioning of useful organisms in the intestine, which aid in digestion but it does destroy the harmful bacteria present in intestine.
- Cold: Raw garlic is used to treat cold and cough. At the very onset of cold, you should eat at least two cloves of crushed garlic, which will thereby help in lessening the severity of cold illness.
- Infected wounds: Garlic can be placed on infected wounds for the herbal treatment. It should be mixed with three drops of water, rather than using it in raw form, as the direct juice can irritate the skin.
- Acne: Half the people in the world suffer from mild to sever forms of acne. Garlic may be used along with other ingredients like honey, cream and turmeric to treat acne scars and even prevent acne growth. Garlic acts as a cleanser and antibiotic for soothing skin rashes.
- Asthma: Boiled cloves of garlic do wonders for asthma treatment. Each night before going to sleep, a glassful of milk with 3 boiled cloves of garlic can bring subsequent relief for such patients. The asthma attacks may be brought under control by having crushed garlic cloves with malt vinegar.
- Sexual problems: Garlic has aphrodisiac properties, which could be utilized as an effectual sex rejuvenator. The health benefits of garlic are further known to enhance the libido prowess of both men & women. People who overindulge in sexual activities should take garlic in diet or supplement form to protect their selves from sheer nervous fatigue.
- Cancer: Regular intake of garlic reduces the risk of colon, stomach and esophageal cancer. It aids in reducing the production of carcinogenic compounds. It also reduces the occurrence of tumor and breast cancer.
More on This Wonderful Herb
The health benefits of garlic were realized centuries ago by mankind. Garlic is very effective when eaten raw-(crushed or chopped). Just one clove per day may bring vast improvement in your over al health. 2 to 3 cloves could prevent an attack of common cold. Garlic used in cooking should be added last for more benefit. But, taking too much garlic is also not very god as it may cause irritation in the digestive system. Garlic should be added as a part of healthy normal diet, it need not be used as an alternative. The only drawback being its pungent smell and taste that leaves a bad breadth, garlic is a medicinal boon for mankind.