Garlic has been a common home remedy for many years. When ingested it is believed to help with common colds as it contains anti-oxidants which are able to combat the build up of bacteria within the body. It is also said to be able to assist in the healing of small wounds and muscle pain. Allicin, which is the active ingredient, is found in the “gums” of the clove and is what gives garlic its strength.
Allicin, the chemical component in garlic, is able to provide numerous health benefits when taken in supplement form. One of these is its ability to provide vitamin C, which is one of the most important nutrients needed for a healthy digestive system. Vitamin C is able to assist in healing various stomach disorders such as heartburn and indigestion. It also has the ability to help increase the immune system. Additionally, vitamin C can aid in reducing the negative affects of free radical damage on the body.
Another of the health benefits of garlic contains compounds called allicin and sulfur compounds. Allicin is found in all parts of the plant and is produced through the process of oxidation by oxygen. Allicin is responsible for the chemical reaction that produces sulfur compounds and is also responsible for many of the effects of garlic. As a result of allicin, garlic contains compounds that have the ability to fight off cancer cells.
Sulfur compounds are also produced when allium bulbs are grown. In addition to its health benefits as a stimulant of the body, the sulfur components of allium are believed to possess antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The antibacterial properties of allium may be the cause of why garlic clove is known as “the maid of medicine”. Garlic clove has been recommended by ancient Greek physician Hippocrates as a remedy for curing coughs and colds.
However, the Greeks were not the only ancient greek physician to consider allium in treating certain ailments. Early Egyptian medical writings indicate that a frankincense herb was used as a cough remedy. Pliny the Elder wrote that allium was useful in the treatment of asthma and other lung diseases. He recommended that if a person wished to eat allium he must drink it before going to bed.
Not only are there numerous health benefits of garlic but also its ability to stimulate the immune system. Since the immune system is responsible for fighting off infections, the body needs to regularly receive antibiotic doses. Although antibiotics are known to have side effects of their own, they can be used together with garlic supplements to effectively treat infections. For instance, the active ingredient of garlic oil extract, allicin, has been shown to fight invading bacteria with great effectiveness. Garlic supplements not only help to prevent infection they also help in relieving congestion, which is another symptom associated with many respiratory conditions.
There are several other health benefits of garlic which make it a highly potent herb. Studies have shown that allicin helps to reduce cholesterol levels and it may also lower blood pressure and save lives. Allicin has also been proven to be effective against several forms of cancer. While allicin has not been found to be as effective as beta-carotene in lowering cholesterol, allicin does appear to help reduce the risk of various forms of cancer.
Garlic extracts are often added to antioxidant teas as a way to boost the health benefits of the herb. However, ingesting the entire clove of garlic has been proven to be more effective in providing health benefits than simply ingesting the extract alone. This is due to the high antioxidant content of the clove of garlic extract.