Garlic is an herb that has been used for ages, not only as a food, but also as a source of healing. In the Middle Ages, it was even thought to be able to prevent the plague. While many of garlic's "powers" may be exaggerated, the culinary and health benefits of the herb have been amply demonstrated.
Various garlic health benefits have long been claimed and the “stinking rose” treatment has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy) down the centuries. It’s been considered by many to be a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing or treating everything from the common cold and fluto the Plague!
Much of that is at best unproven, however there are some very positive garlic health facts that are now widely accepted. Amongst the most interesting potential applications are suggestions that garlic might be able to assist some people in the management of blood pressure cholesterol levels.
Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant “superbugs”.
Studies have also shown that garlic – especially aged garlic – can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants can help to protect the body against damaging free radicals. There are claims that fermented black garlic contains even higher antioxidant levels than normal cloves.
Some people who want the claimed health benefits without the taste prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding garlic breath.
Even garlic isn’t a perfect. Apart from garlic breath there are other possible side effects, especially if used to excess. Use common sense and don’t overdo it.
Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could produce problems, for example irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract.
There are a few people who are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy include skin rash, temperature and headaches. Also, garlic could potentially disrupt anti-coagulants, so it’s best avoided before surgery. As with any medicine, always check with your doctor first and tell your doctor if you are using it.