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  • Garlic Overview

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    GARLIC OVERVIEW

    Garlic

    Garlic belongs to the family of vegetables called Allium, which also includes onions, scallions, leeks and chives. According to AICR's second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, foods belonging to the allium family of vegetables probably protect against stomach cancer. Moreover, the evidence in the report shows that garlic, in particular, probably decreases one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.
    The protective effect of garlic was shown to have a dose response relationship. In other words, highest exposure to the food showed the greatest decrease in risk. For cancer protection, AICR experts suggest including garlic as part of a well-balanced predominantly plant-based diet.
    These allium vegetables contain many substances now being studied for their anti-cancer effects, including: allicin, allixin, allyl sulfides, quercetin and a large group of organosulfur compounds. In laboratory studies, components of garlic have shown the ability to slow or stop the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue.
    Laboratory research has also shown that one garlic component, called diallyl disulfide, exerts potent preventive effects against cancers of the skin, colon and lung. Recently, this compound proved able to kill leukemia cells in the laboratory. A compound derived from garlic called ajoene has displayed similar activity.
    In animal studies, components in Allium vegetables have slowed the development of cancer in several stages and at various body sites: stomach, breast, esophagus, colon and lung.

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    Importance of Garlic

    Garlic is nature's wonder drug. Its medicinal value has been understood by herbalists for at least 2000 years. While modern research is confirming this ancient tradition, don't expect to hear much about it from the pharmaceutical companies or their puppets: allopathic doctors (i.e. "conventional medical doctors"). Garlic cannot be patented and exploited as such. They will attempt to find an "active ingredient," derive a drug from it, and patent and promote that. Vitamin and supplement companies, on the other hand, are extolling some of the virtues of garlic and promoting their "deodorized" products. But these products are not nearly as effective as raw garlic. Once again, the best source for proper nutrition comes from food itself.

    Garlic contains hundreds of minerals and nutrients. It is very likely that no one ingredient is the "active ingredient." It is very likely that garlic's effectiveness and safety comes from these ingredients working together in concert. And if any particular ingredient should be found more potent than the others, and that ingredient were isolated and made into a medicine, it will probably have powerful negative side effects like virtually every other drug in use today.

    Garlic Healing Power

    The Healing Power of Garlic   discusses the historical uses of garlic, current research findings, and how to prepare and apply it for various ailments. Garlic has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal characteristics. Garlic is as effective as many modern antibiotics, without the dangerous side effects. What's more, garlic is an antiviral. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. In fact, in all of modern pharmacology, there are no effective antiviral drugs. This has important implications for AIDS patients, and in preventing colds and flu's. Included in this book is a recipe for garlic nose drops, which in animal studies have proved to be 100% effective in preventing influenza. Considering the danger of allopathic flu inoculations, of which one of the side-effects can include death, this is welcome news.

    Cholesterol Support

    Compounds in garlic can help to reduce total and LDL, or "bad," cholesterol, according to the UMMC. And garlic may help to raise HDL, or "good," cholesterol, leading to a reduced risk of more serious forms of heart disease. The NIH notes garlic's potential as a treatment for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries--a condition caused by excessive cholesterol plaque in the arteries of the heart. These findings are encouraging, but it is important to follow your health-care provider's recommendations for the treatment of high cholesterol. Do not stop taking any medication without consulting your physician.

    Antioxidant Protection

    Antioxidants are molecules that defend the body against the damages associated with free radicals--reactive oxygen molecules produced after exposure to sunlight, radiation, pollution, stress and cigarette smoke. According to the UMMC, raw garlic is an excellent source of naturally occurring antioxidants; it may help to block some of the damage associated with free radicals. People taking raw garlic may be less likely to experience the forms of cellular damage associated with free radical exposure.

    Cancer Prevention

    People who eat large amounts of raw garlic are less likely to develop several forms of cancer, according to the UMMC. Raw garlic can reduce the risk of stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, throat cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. It is unclear if other members of the garlic family, such as onion and shallot, offer similar benefits. Garlic cannot replace the role of a healthy diet and smoke-free lifestyle for cancer prevention.

    According to the National Cancer Institute website, "Preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract." The website explains that this conclusion is based on a number of studies that use different garlic preparations like capsules, powder and raw, and different amounts in each study. This makes it hard to prescribe an exact amount. Garlic is thought to "offer protective antibacterial properties that block cancer-causing substances, halt the activation of cancer-causing substances, enhance DNA repair, reduce cell proliferation or induce cell death," says the website.

    Garlic is a veritable pharmacopeia. That's why garlic has been found in every medical book of every culture ever. For thousands of years, garlic had been used for the treatment and prevention of disease. So there has to be something there.
    Healing traditions have recognized garlic as a natural "wonder drug" for thousands of years. Now medical research indicates garlic may prevent and even reverse high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, as well as a host of other serious health problems. In fact, a recent head-to-head comparison proved garlic just as effective as the leading cholesterol-reducing drug in lowering cholesterol levels.

    GARLIC NOTES:
    NOTE: No single food or food substances can protect you against cancer. But scientists believe that the right combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet may. Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and photochemical in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy. In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low-energy-dense, low calorie foods and probably protect against weight gain. According to the Second Expert Report, experts believe that weight gain – particularly obesity and overweight – are implicated in the development of cancer. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and therefore protect against those cancers whose risk is convincingly increased by higher body fat (namely cancers of the colorectal, esophagus, endometrial, pancreas, kidney, and breast in postmenopausal women). That is why AICR recommends that at least 2/3 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.

    It's functionalities

    • Prevent cancer
    • Lower your cholesterol level
    • Reverse high blood pressure
    • Boost your immune system
    • Overcome fatigue

    Is garlic a spice or a medicine?

    Is it therapeutic for the major diseases of our times? Scientists posed these two questions, respectively, in the titles of articles appearing in research journals in 1988. Most of us know of garlic as a favorite seasoning in salad dressings and as a staple of French, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese cooking. But garlic is also a medicine, an unusually powerful and versatile one, that has been used since the dawn of medicine.
    From epidemiological studies of cancer in China and Italy to clinical trials in high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the United States, Europe, and Japan, garlic has come under intense scientific scrutiny in the last ten years as a potential "wonder drug." Much of this research has investigated the effects of garlic in cardiovascular disease. This priority of research is probably inspired by the prominence of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, the leading causes of death in the industrialized world.

    In 1994, scientists reviewing a collection of previous clinical trials of garlic concluded that it lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure, two important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Notably, normal dietary amounts of garlic did this without any side effects more serious than a garlic odor in a small percentage of participants. Conventional drugs for these diseases cause side effects such as dry mouth, insomnia, drowsiness, depression, and impotence. In a head-to-head trial comparing garlic against the cholesterol-lowering drug bezafibrate, garlic was just as effective. This is good news for the 25 percent of men and women aged twenty-five to fifty-nine in the United States who have high cholesterol levels.

    Scientists have also recently investigated the possibility that garlic can prevent or treat some kinds of cancer. As early as 1981, scientists noted that populations in China eating more garlic had less incidence of stomach cancer than those eating less garlic. By 1985, researchers experimenting with constituents of garlic had identified mechanisms that could inhibit tumors. One focus of research has been the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic -- the very compounds responsible for the odor of garlic coming from the skin of people who eat a lot of it. By 1994, the lower cancer rates among garlic eaters in China were found to also hold true in Italy and in Iowa. Scientists have now found evidence for the cancer-preventing effects of garlic from such population research, from research on isolated cancer cells, and from animal research. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and this research suggests that garlic may help prevent stomach, bladder, breast, colon, and esophageal cancers.

    So it seems that the answer to the questions posed by the scientists in 1988 is "yes." Garlic is indeed a medicine and it is a preventive for the major diseases of our times. But so far, we've only been talking about prevention. What about treatment? Garlic has been used since the dawn of written history in medicine, and its main uses have remained virtually unchanged, meaning they have been verified by one generation after another. In contemporary systems of traditional medicine, such as Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, modern naturopathic medicine, British herbalism, and others, garlic remains in use as a therapeutic agent.

    Garlic is also good for

    • Respiratory conditions: Cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis
    • Digestive disorders: Stomach ulcer, diarrhea, amoebic dysentery, worms, parasites
    • Cardiovascular disease: Atherosclerosis, post-heart attack therapy, post-stroke therapy, claudication
    • Skin problems: Acne, boils, eczema, fungal infections, insect bites and stings

    Many of these uses come from the antibiotic and immune-stimulating effects of garlic constituents (historically, garlic was found useful even for prevention of the bubonic plague, the dreaded Black Death!). Garlic can treat or prevent many diseases caused by infection by bacteria, viruses, molds, or parasites.

    We have grown up in the era of so-called wonder drugs. Garlic seems to be perhaps the greatest wonder drug of all.

    Processed garlic as the tendency of loosing its active ingredients, so we decided to capsule our garlic raw without any processing applied, taking our garlic gives you all the medicinal potentiality expected, the capsulated garlic if swallowed, reduceses garlic irritant smell.

    Cancer

    Another way in which garlic capsules are promoted for medical use is in treating and preventing cancer. Garlic contains allyl sulfur compounds and several other chemical constituents that may have anti-cancer properties, according to the American Cancer Society. These anti-cancer constituents reportedly can help eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from the body and cause cancer cells to die. Additionally, garlic may boost the immune system so cancer cells are not able to grow and multiply. The role garlic plays in fighting and preventing cancer is still being studied. If you have cancer, speak with your doctor before using garlic to help treat the illness.

    Infections

    Garlic's ability to boost the immune system may also make it useful in treating bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The allicin in garlic may be responsible for this effect because it has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-viral properties, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

    Blood Pressure

    Study data about garlic's effect on blood pressure have been mixed. Several small studies have shown garlic capsules and other garlic supplements can slightly lower blood pressure, but larger studies have not yet been conducted to verify this effect, according to the National Institutes of Health. Do not use garlic capsules to treat high blood pressure without first consulting with your medical practitioner.

    Atherosclerosis

    People with atherosclerosis, a condition in which arteries become hardened because of cholesterol deposits, may benefit from using garlic supplements. Studies have shown the cholesterol deposits that cause the condition do not grow as rapidly in people who are taking garlic, according to the National Institutes of Health. This may be due to garlic's effect on cholesterol levels or another property found in the plant.

    Garlic, an herb, greatly improves the flavors of many dishes. It also may serve as a medicinal herbal supplement in the treatment of diseases and health conditions. You can take it by powder, clove, topical oil, pill and capsule. The clove itself and its supplements may provide medicinal treatments for lowering cholesterol levels, especially triglycerides. It also may help decrease your blood pressure, Garlic may help to decrease the risks of stroke and heart attack by its preventative abilities, Side effects may occur with garlic capsule use.

    Side Effects of Garlic Capsules

    You may feel a burning sensation in your throat if you take garlic capsules. This may happen because of the irritating natural properties of garlic. Garlic can irritate the mucosal tissues of your body. The more delicate linings of the throat are sensitive to garlic. Taking garlic with your breakfast, lunch or dinner may help prevent or decrease this non serious side effect. You also could experience a burning feeling in your stomach, for the same reason: Garlic may irritate it. This non serious side effect may occur at any time. Call your doctor if burning sensations continue.

    Light-headedness

    Light-headedness can occur as a result of taking a garlic supplement, You may experience feeling light-headed when first taking this supplement, meaning you may feel slightly unbalanced or as though you may faint. You should talk with your practitioner prior to taking any new supplements because interactions may occur with your medicine.

    Nausea and Vomiting

    Vomiting and diarrhea, two non serious side effects, may occur when you take garlic capsules, usually during your initial use of the herb, You may feel ill after taking the supplement. Although both nausea and vomiting may happen in mild form. You may need to call your doctor for treatment if these side effects persist.

    Sweating

    Just as when you eat a meal heavily laden with garlic, taking garlic capsules may induce excessive sweating to occur, Sweating does not classify as a serious problem unless it continues to occur even after your body has acclimated to the garlic supplements. In that case, speak with your practitioner.

    Rash

    A rash may occur on any part of your body, usually behind the ears and on the face, if you start using garlic capsules. Unless the rash feels severe -- in which case you may be having an allergic reaction to garlic -- it should go away on its own, a mild rash can occur as a minor reaction to the new supplement and does not typically mean you are allergic. If you think you may have an allergy to garlic, stop taking it and get medical help.

    Blood Pressure

    Garlic may be useful for people with uncontrolled hypertension. A study published in October 2010 in "Maturitas" found that in a sample of patients treated with blood-pressure-lowering medications, garlic enhanced the effect. The participants took 960 mg of aged garlic extract with 2.4 mg S-allylcysteine daily for 12 weeks. S-allylcysteine is a compound in garlic with cell-protective abilities.

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    If you are experiencing more colds than usual, adding some garlic to your diet may encourage your immune system to work more efficiently. Gordon notes that garlic is antiviral and antibacterial, which aids in destroying germs before they cause you to get ill. When garlic is placed in a dish with bacteria, the bacteria die, adds Gordon, which makes it a powerful antibacterial agent. Crushing garlic into your favorite recipes is one simple way to get the benefits of a higher-functioning immune system and reduce how many colds and other illnesses you get each year.