Garlic: The Healthiest Affordable Food

Garlic is one of the healthiest affordable foods.

In addition to being a tasty universal seasoning used in many varied dishes, throughout human history it has often been used as a natural remedy by numerous cultures to help treat or prevent a wide variety of diseases.

Garlic—Origins

Garlic originates from Central Asia and its use in alternative medicine has been known since the third millennium BC, in India and Ancient Egypt.

In the famous 2,550 BC Ebbers papyrus, for example, there were more than 20 garlic-based recipes indicated to combat infections, headache, and pharyngitis.

The slaves who built the great pyramid were fed garlic to improve their resistance.

Hippocrates, in detail, demonstrated the use of garlic as a diuretic and laxative.

Plínio and Galeno, Roman doctors, also used garlic to treat intestinal infections, digestive problems, high blood pressure, senility, and impotence.

In Marco Polo’s notes, there are several showing the use of garlic by the Chinese for detox.

Their anti-microbial properties and their beneficial effects on the heart and blood circulation were valued in the Middle Ages.

In 1858, Louis Pasteur was the first western to document the anti-infectious properties of garlic, known to her herb for thousands of years.

It is thus evident that its benefits have been known for a long time, but only after a series of scientific research carried out was it possible to prove that its famous properties are real and effective.

Garlic—Ayurvedic Medicine Point of View

As we saw in the previous point, garlic has been used in India for thousands of years.

From the point of view of ayurvedic medicine, only fresh (not dry, or powder) garlic should be ingested as a medicine. This is because when the garlic is preserved (drying it, dehydrating it, for example) it is not possible to conserve the essential oils that are in it, besides that we will change its humoral composition.

Garlic is considered very important food in Ayurvedic medicine, as it contains the 5 flavours, except the acid flavour. And this is the secret of your versatility when used as a medicine:

  1. The root—is spicy
  2. The leaves—are bitter
  3. The stem—is astringent
  4. The upper stem area—is salty
  5. The seeds—are sweet

The part we usually use is the root, so its energy effect is predominantly spicy and heating—decreases the energy of Vata and Kapha, and increases the energy of pitta.

Garlic Benefits for 3 Doshas

It is food with a great detoxifying and rejuvenation power.

It has a rejuvenation effect on bones and tissues, for the Vata and, to a lesser extent, for the Kapha.

Furthermore, it is useful for Vata’s chronic or sporadic fevers.

Cleans the blood and the lymphatic system of excess AMA (excess mucosities) and kapha.

Its attribute—causing increased heat and internal fire—can however aggravate Pitta and problems related to blood and circulatory system, and provoke or aggravate bleeding situations.

It is an excellent natural medicine to prevent arthritis, as regular use does not nullify Vatta.

Improves vision and strengthens the nervous system, brain, blood vessels and the heart.

Increases ojas (vitality, emerged) and strengthens our immune system. The power of the body to react to infections is even greater if you practice Yoga regularly, in one of our CPYOGA centres, such as CPYOGA Barcelona.

Promotes digestion and liver functions.

Recommendations for Use for the 3 Doshas

  1. Use the garlic regularly in your daily life in small quantities.
  2. As a preventive measure, the advised portion will be 1 to 2 cloves of garlic (1 to 4 grams) / day.

However, you must find the appropriate dose for you, depending on the nature of your mood, your dosha.

When you use garlic as a medicine, it should be used raw and prepared as follows:

  • If you are Pitta—Peel and crush the garlic with a little coconut oil, honey, or ghee (clarified butter) to reduce its heating effect. Pitta individuals should use it sparingly and monitor their body’s response.
  • If you are Vata—Peel and crush the garlic, then cook it in ghee or olive oil to reduce its strong, spicy nature. This will make it more digestible for Vata types, who should consume it in moderation.
  • If you are Kapha—You can consume raw garlic without cooking. Its pungent nature can help balance Kapha’s heavy and cold qualities. However, use it in moderation to avoid excessive heating.

To eliminate the intense smell of garlic, or its Pitta effect, you can chew anise or cardamom seeds.

However, you can incorporate garlic into your daily culinary preparations, and use it to solve small problems, yet get your beneficial effects—consult the points below: Garlic-regular consumption in everyday life, and also: in cooking, Practical recipes.

Precautions

  • In the case of addicted pitta (very increased) – DO NOT eat garlic.
  • Continued use of large doses is not recommended during pregnancy.
  • Eating excess garlic gives rise to some restlessness and physical and mental agitation, and excessive thirst.
  • In case you ingested a large deal of garlic, and to surpass the harmful effect that this intake has caused, a coriander infusion is advised.

The Garlic Under the Magnifying Glass: Garlic Composition

Allium sativum, popularly known only as garlic, is an edible perennial plant whose scamiform leaves that form the “garlic teeth” are grouped into a Bolbo known as “head of garlic.” It is a cousin of onion, French garlic, chives, and the halls, and a relative farther from the lily and aloe vera.

Garlic has a great nutritional value, containing fructans (chains of fructose molecules) in abundance that give it a clear diuretic action. It is rich in several vitamins such as A, B1, B2, B6, and C, as well as amino acids, adenosine, minerals (iron, silicon, iodine, selenium), and biologically active enzymes and compounds.

Among the various components we find in garlic, we have sulphur derivatives, where the main thing is Allicin (sulphur volatile oil), responsible for most pharmacological properties of the plant.

In fact, Allicin, a yellowish liquid, which only appears when the garlic is chewed, crushed, or cut, breaking the cells of Bulbous. And it is also Allicin responsible for the strong odor of the plant.

When garlic cells are broken, an enzyme called aliniase chemically modifies the substance alinia into allicin, which results in the smell of garlic.

This complex composition makes garlic have a very diverse action in the body.

Properties of Garlic

In a simple way, we can say that garlic is often indicated as an auxiliary in the treatment of mild arterial hypertension, reduced cholesterol levels, and prevention of atherosclerotic diseases.

Garlic is also attributed to the ability to prevent constipations and other infectious diseases, and to treat bacterial and fungal infections. It also has antioxidants (such as Allicin) and flavonoids that fight ageing, and many other properties that we will speak about later in detail.

Most of these properties are thought to be due to the richness of sulphuric substances in their composition.

The healthiest action of garlic, as we will see, is its ability to improve heart conditions, its germicidal and anti-cancer action.

In vivo research recently done by the University of Brasília and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company of Vegetables (Embrapa vegetables), in 2010, shows that garlic can contribute to the reduction of acute myocardial infarction.

Garlic—Medicinal Benefits

1. Protects the Heart

The composition of garlic contains important substances that play a crucial role in preventing and treating various diseases and problems, particularly those related to heart health. Key substances for heart health include:

  • DialylDissulfide oxide: This compound can reduce lipid and blood cholesterol levels, preventing the accumulation of fat on artery walls and assisting in its removal.
  • Germanium: Known for its oxygen-conducting ability, it invigorates and rejuvenates. It acts as a hypotensive agent, helping to control blood pressure without side effects.
  • Selenium: A heart protector that prevents clot formation, normalizes blood pressure, and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic also contains Allicin, with additional antibacterial properties.

Garlic provides benefits in:

  • Preventing coronary and circulatory diseases by reducing blood pressure and promoting peripheral vasodilation.
  • Treating high cholesterol levels by reducing LDL (“bad cholesterol”).
  • Preventing strokes by reducing circulating cholesterol.
  • Reducing blood coagulation, decreasing the likelihood of platelet clumping, thrombosis, and arteriosclerosis.

2. Anticancer Potential

Garlic contains two powerful compounds, Allicin and salil-cysteinna, known for their antioxidant potential. Additionally, its high vitamin B6 content can reduce the risk of various cancers, including colon, breast, skin, lung, bladder, prostate, esophagus, and stomach cancers.

3. Assists Liver Function

Garlic’s sulfur compounds aid the liver in detoxification by activating enzymes that inhibit bacterial growth and promote the elimination of unnecessary substances.

Garlic can neutralize toxins like nitrosamines, preventing their accumulation in the body.

4. Protects Against Inflammation and Boosts Immunity

Garlic is a rich source of vitamin B6, essential for a healthy immune system and cell growth.

It has anti-inflammatory properties and is used to combat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, such as nasal congestion, cough, allergies, bronchitis, asthma, flus, and constipation.

Garlic’s allicin content acts as a natural antibiotic.

Consuming garlic dipped in honey at the first sign of a cold is a popular remedy.

5. Eases Premenstrual Tension

Garlic’s ability to aid in eliminating excess substances from the body, including estrogen, makes it beneficial for relieving symptoms of premenstrual tension. It can help prevent headaches, lower back pain, and chest discomfort during this stage.

6. Other Important Benefits of Garlic

Garlic offers additional benefits for the gastrointestinal system, reducing intestinal fermentation and alleviating gastric discomfort. It stimulates appetite, aids digestion, and prevents stomach acidity. It has a mild anthelmintic effect for intestinal parasites.

Garlic can help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin circulation, making it useful in diabetes management. Its high iodine content makes it effective in treating hyperthyroidism. Garlic helps eliminate excess liquid, sodium, and potassium, making it valuable for renal problems.

It contains significant levels of vitamin C, making it useful in combating scurvy. Garlic can be used externally for chilblains, warts, and skin irritation. Additionally, it has applications in arthritis, rheumatism, and various skin conditions.

Garlic / Medicines—Important Council

Thus, we can see the potential of regular garlic consumption, in decreasing the dependence that people can have in relation to more expensive chemical drugs and with potentially dangerous side effects.

If you will use garlic as a medicine, do so only according to your doctor’s indications and not on your own initiative if you have any illness or issue, because in fact, the garlic intensifies the action of a large number of drugs if taken inadvertently together, what some experts interpret as a reason against bulbous ingestion for medicinal purposes—it does not necessarily have to be this way, if you are advised by a competent professional.

Ideally, you will be able to find a phytotherapist and accredited herbal medicine that can advise you seriously.

If you can’t, talk to your family doctor about your intentions to try a more natural approach and ask him to monitor your progress carefully.

Garlic-Contraindications

But beware! Like all medicine, garlic also has its contraindications. Despite so many positive points, the ideal is to consume in moderation. High doses can cause cramps, vomiting, headaches, and belly, and other problems. You should never take more than the recommended dose.

It should not be used (especially in the form of a fasting garlic clove) by people suffering from gastritis and gastric ulcer, having low blood pressure and low blood glucose (hypotensive and/or hypoglycemic).

It should not be used by those who are undergoing coagulation drug treatment, such as varfarin (Marevan composition and other anticoagulants). It should also avoid its use close to a surgery. Continued use of large doses is not recommended during pregnancy.

Garlic—Regular consumption in everyday life

1 – If you use fresh garlic cloves

The protective effect can be achieved if you eat one to two cloves a day.

To make the most of the medical properties of garlic, you must crush it or chop it at the time of preparation. It is recommended to be raw consumption, or added at the end of dish preparation, as these properties are lost in the process of garlic cooking (particularly Allicine, responsible for its medicinal benefits).

2 – Garlic with extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients:

  • One clove of garlic for every 20 pounds of weight.
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Crush the raw garlic cloves, and place them inside the olive oil for a minimum period of 30 minutes (the ideal, it will be overnight). You can then add the mixture to the usual food, or in hot broths, vegetable soups, etc.

As medicinal treatment

To enjoy the medical benefits of garlic we mentioned previously, you should take the preparation at night, as it gives some drowsiness (promotes a deep and repairing sleep).

You must do the treatment for 4 months in a row, and after this period, rest one week for each month.

To enhance its effect, try to have a healthy eating simultaneously.

3 – If you choose the garlic powder

If you decide to consume garlic in tablet form, it is recommended that you use powder capsules. The processes used to create garlic pills destroy the Allicine that is present.

You can take 1 400 mg capsule of garlic daily.

Avoid supplements that supposedly leave you without smelling of garlic, as it is Allicin (intense smell) that contains most of the medicinal power of garlic.

4 – You can opt for other less intense odor solutions

Flavored garlic water recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh, peeled and smashed clove
  • 100 ml of water

Preparation:

Put the clove of garlic in the glass with 100 ml of water for 6 to 8 hours to soak (while sleeping, for example) and fasting the next morning.

Drink 2 glasses of flavored garlic water a day to achieve the same benefits.

5 – Another method

This method, more complex to do at home, is the steam distillation where the natural oil of garlic is removed.

Garlic—How to Buy

Nowadays, we find a wide variety of garlic types in stores and markets, but not all are suitable for medicinal use.

When you buy garlic, look for the smaller and biological.

  • Garlic heads should be round, formed, and full, with the outer part intact and without blemishes.
  • The garlic cloves must be firm, big and united. Avoid buying garlic heads whose cloves are loose, soft, and withered.
  • Try not to buy more than you need for a week. It is not important if they are white or pink, however, the taste of the latter can be a little softer.

Garlic—How to Store, Conserve

Guard the garlic in a cool, dry, ventilated and not too hot place. If kept in humid and hot places, the garlic will rapidly create mould and wither. Do not put the garlic directly in the fridge, as it loses the aroma!

Although they are decorative and beautiful, garlic rejoices should not be hanging long in the kitchen, as they risk drying only bark. A good way to store an entire garlic head is to place it in a ceramic container with ventilation holes. Another form of storage is to peel the garlic cloves and place them in a very clean and dry glass bottle in the refrigerator.

They must be consumed within 3 to 5 days so as not to lose their medicinal properties. As long as you have proper care at the time of purchase, you can store it for up to one month. If environmental conditions are appropriate, it can reach up to two months. However, and as we mentioned above, it is always preferable to buy the right amount for a week.

For later use in the food: To keep large amounts of garlic over longer, and use such a spice in food, you must peel your cloves, place them in a glass and cover them with olive oil. Thus, part of the garlic aroma will be absorbed by olive oil, and then you can use both together, for example, to season a salad.

ATTENTION! Never consume garlic stored in olive oil outside the fridge, because at room temperature it can develop harmful bacteria, being a great source for botulism.

There are many garlic products for sale on the market, where garlic is ready to use, but for better results we only recommend fresh garlic.

Garlic—How to Peel

There are many ways to prepare garlic, but first, it is necessary to peel it.

To peel the garlic, it is just necessary to give a small tap with the flat part of the knife over the garlic, so its shell comes out more easily.

To peel large quantities, cover the garlic cloves with a cloth of the dishes and give little taps with a heavy pan. It is also possible to cut the ends of the cloves and peel one by one.

Sometimes it is necessary to keep the garlic shape intact, so there is a garlic peeler. Soak cloves in the water, it also helps to remove the shell.

To use garlic in your recipes, you can chop it, crush it, cut it into pieces or slices, grate in a grater, or even use it whole. The entire clove leaves a softer flavor. Sliced or chopped, its flavor becomes more present, and crushed is stronger due to the release of Allicin.

Garlic—How to Use in Cooking

In general, Mediterranean people are the greatest lovers, usually employing it together with tomatoes and onion. Other people, less adept at their use, even designated the plant as “fetid rose” due to its strong and spicy odor.

Garlic aroma is one of the most exciting in the kitchen, but if cooked wrong, it can spoil a plate. The most common error is to cook the garlic on high heat, as it burns quickly and your taste becomes bitter. When you are stir-frying, frying, or sautéing the garlic, you should always be very careful that the garlic does not burn.

Give a boil in the garlic, preserve its shape, and the taste becomes more delicate. In this case, it is not necessary to remove the shell, because it will easily come out and if you want to make a garlic purée, just continue cooking until the cloves are very soft to be smashed.

Baking the garlic in the oven is a way of enhancing its flavor and aroma and giving a caramel color to the garlic (more used for bruschettas). You can also bake the garlic with water, so it will be cooked at the same time and will have a result with a milder flavor.

Another way to use garlic is grilling it: grilling both sides of the clove, turning when one side is brown. Use as if it were roasted, but the taste is milder.

So you don’t smell garlic in your hands

Some people rub their hands in cold water with salt, lemon, or parsley. There are special metal utensils for sale in stores that take the smell of garlic from the hands. There are also soaps that help to take the smell.

So your breath doesn’t smell like garlic

When consumed in high quantities, the strong odor of garlic can become evident in the sweat of those who ingest it. The characteristic and generally considered unpleasant breath can be minimized by doing the following:

  • You can choose to drink some lemon juice, or suck on lemon or cloves.
  • Chew anise or coriander seeds, or parsley or mint leaves.
  • Also, drinking a glass of wine or taking chlorophyll extract works.
  • As a last resort, and if you are traveling, for example, you can take natural pills to eliminate this type of effect, but the important thing is that you don’t deprive yourself of getting the benefits of this wonderful natural product, just because of its intense smell!

Below, we leave you some practical recipes to help you solve some problems using garlic!

Garlic – Homemade and practical recipes for small problems

1 – To treat flu, colds, mucus, and hoarseness in smokers

The ideal in these situations, and as we have already mentioned, is to eat raw garlic. But you can also prepare a drink where, even using the preparation process we are going to describe, the nutrients are preserved. In the case of smokers, it is clear that the best thing is to stop smoking! But whether or not you continue smoking, and if you are in that expectoration phase, garlic can be a fantastic ally!

Recipe 1

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 10 ml of pure lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Preparation:

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to boil.
  2. Then add the grated garlic cloves, cover, and leave on high heat for 3 minutes.
  3. Turns off. Add lemon juice and honey. Stir well and strain.
  4. Drink during the day. The taste and smell will be gone, but the powerful properties of garlic will still be effective.
  5. The same conditions mentioned above can be treated with another prescription.

Recipe 2

Ingredients:

  • 15 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 L of red vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Chop or grate the garlic cloves and mix them in the red vinegar.
  2. Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
  3. After this hour, strain and transfer to a dry, clean bottle that can be tightly closed.
  4. Drink 1 tablespoon of this solution every time you want immediate effects.
  5. It can be used for various conditions, in addition to those mentioned, such as: stopping coughing, improving digestion, or metabolism, for example. This drink can also be ingested once a day, simply to keep the immune system well protected against diseases and infections.

2 – To treat infections in general

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of hot water

Preparation:

  1. Crush the garlic cloves and add hot water.
  2. Wait for it to cool down and drink.
  3. Do this three times a day. Some components of garlic help, as we have already seen, to kill various types of microbes.

3 – Natural mosquito repellent

Regularly using garlic in your diet already protects you against insect bites, as it is a preventative against malaria and other diseases spread by insects. However, if you are going outdoors or in areas infected with mosquitoes, try this solution:

In a smoothie blender, add garlic and water and blend until the garlic is broken down. Use this garlic solution with water on your arms, legs, and exposed body skin, and mosquitoes will not bother you. Another solution is to rub crushed garlic on the skin without water, which may work for a longer period of time.

4 – Localized pain in the joints

Make a paste with crushed garlic and apply it directly to the skin to alleviate or eliminate localized pain. Normally, we don’t do it because of its very intense smell, but in case of an emergency, it’s excellent!

5 – To combat worms

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 1 cup of coffee

Preparation:

  1. Crush the garlic clove together with the mint.
  2. Add water and strain through a cloth, squeezing well.
  3. Take 1 tablespoon in the morning, on an empty stomach, and another at night. For children, just 1 dessert spoon.

6 – More beautiful and stronger hair

Garlic helps prevent hair loss, thanks to its high levels of Allicin – this sulfur compound is similar to that found in onions. Homemade recipe to prevent hair loss, with Garlic:

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 300ml of water.

Preparation:

  1. Blend the ingredients in a mixing glass. Strain.

Application:

Before washing your hair, you should apply the solution (the liquid that has been strained) only to the scalp, massaging for 1–2 minutes.

Then rinse with plenty of water and wash normally using your usual shampoo and conditioner.

7 – Toothache

Simply place some crushed garlic directly on the affected tooth. This can help relieve toothaches due to garlic’s antibacterial and analgesic properties.

However, BE CAREFUL, as garlic can be irritating to the gums!

8 – Ear infection

In the case of a simple ear infection, the body generally recovers on its own.

However, in the case of pain associated with an ear infection, and to alleviate symptoms, one of the most effective remedies is garlic oil due to its antiseptic, anti-viral, and antibacterial properties.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil over low heat with the chopped garlic, without letting it boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, put on a lid and let it macerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain and place in a dark glass bottle (dropper bottle).
  4. Place 2 to 3 drops in the affected ear. You can apply whenever pain arises.
  5. Keeps for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

9 – To combat acne

Crush a clove of garlic and rub it on your face before going to sleep – this helps to reduce inflammation in the area affected by blackheads and pimples, as its antioxidants help to kill bacteria.

10 – Treat canker sores

Just apply the crushed garlic to the wound, holding it for a few minutes.

Its natural anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce pain and swelling. If you do this several times a day, you will speed up the healing process.

11 – Soothe ingrown body hair

The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic can be useful in relieving ingrown hairs, which cause discomfort, especially in women after waxing.

Ingredients:

  • 14 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 dl of olive oil

Preparation:

  1. In a non-metallic container, mix the olive oil and garlic, heat gently until the garlic cloves appear to be “cooked”.
  2. After cooling, spread it onto the skin over the ingrown hairs. This will greatly alleviate the symptoms.

12 – Against warts and calluses

  1. Crush or slice 1 clove of garlic. Place the garlic over the callus and make a bandage with gauze, or place cotton and adhesive tape on top.
  2. Do this before bed, leave the garlic to act overnight and remove the dressing in the morning. Remember to only put the garlic on the callus, as it can burn the skin.

13 – Ingrown nails

This recipe is similar to the previous one: Place a crushed clove of garlic on the ingrown toenail and cover it with tape or an adhesive plaster.

14 – Treating chilblains

Due to its antifungal properties, garlic can be a good way to eliminate chilblains and itchy feet. Soak your feet in a bathtub or basin with hot water and crushed garlic.

15 – Helps remove ice

An American university did the test: Salt and garlic together are 10x more effective at melting ice. Some cities that suffer from snow use this recipe to remove ice from streets and roads.

16 – Protect your plants with garlic

The plagues that attack gardens or vegetable gardens don’t like garlic!

Ingredients:

  • 100 gr. of garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil or liquid paraffin
  • 1 l of water
  • 14 gr. of soap shavings

Preparation:

  1. Chop and soak the garlic cloves in mineral oil or liquid paraffin for at least 24 hours.
  2. After fermentation, slowly add the water with the soap chips, mix well, shaking.
  3. Strain and make a solution of 5% of the product mixed with water (insecticide effect) or 10% of the product mixed with water (repellent effect).

Care:

Place the mixture in a spray bottle and make sure you spray the parts to be treated thoroughly. However, be aware that it can be very aggressive to auxiliary insects.

Start experimenting with this fantastic and versatile food, and if you have a recipe of your own, share it with us!

Conclusion

Garlic is indeed a remarkable food with a rich history of use in various cultures and traditional medicine systems. Its health benefits can be harnessed by individuals of different constitutions (doshas) by adjusting the preparation and quantity to suit their needs.

However, while garlic offers numerous health advantages, it’s essential to use it mindfully and in moderation, especially if you have a specific dosha imbalance or medical condition. Consulting with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can provide personalized guidance on incorporating garlic into your diet for optimal well-being.

Remember that the information provided here is for educational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare practitioner or Ayurvedic expert before making significant dietary changes.

Enjoy the many benefits of garlic while nurturing your dosha balance and overall health!