Garlic adds flavour to your favourite dishes, but its therapeutic benefits of this all-around spice makes it versatile herb too. Known scientifically as Allium sativum, garlic is cultivated on all parts of the world for its very important role in cooking and as a natural remedy. Its culinary and medicinal can be traced about five thousand years ago in Egypt, during when the pyramids were built. It was also written that the Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” himself, prescribed garlic for different disease conditions like respiratory diseases, poor digestion, fatigue, and infections. Through scientific research in the modern days, the benefits of garlic range from relieving the common colds to reducing the risk for the big C or cancer.
Garlic is rich in active ingredients that according to scientists, works wonders within the human body. This spice contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, flavonoids, and an additional 200 more compounds. Garlic’s remarkable health benefits are associated to its most potent ingredient called Allicin. However, allicin is not readily available in fresh garlic. The enzyme alliin is converted to allicin when garlic is crushed or cut. Scientific studies suggest that allicin exhibit powerful anti-bacterial, lipid-lowering, anti-hypertension, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Allicin helps in relaxing the blood vessels, which is very useful in reducing blood pressure levels in patients with hypertension or those recovering from heart attack. It is also known to optimise a person’s blood lipid profile, which reduces the risk for high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, hypertension, heart attack, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and also stroke.
Garlic has a broad spectrum antimicrobial activity, making it a very effective herb against bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can initiate infections. Scientific studies on garlic found that it is useful for digestive and respiratory infections caused by gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Moreover, it is suggested to fight E.coli, salmonella, candida albicans, and listeria, the microorganisms to which penicillin is commonly prescribed for. Garlic extract has also been found to promote recovery from the common colds, Urinary tract infections (UTIs), flu, vaginitis, warts, and typhoid fever.
Eating foods with garlic reduces one’s risk for inflammatory diseases. Allicin’s anti-inflammatory powers are very useful for patients with arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and inflammatory bowel disease. Allicin in garlic helps increase the production of glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage. Garlic’s antioxidant benefits are also linked with anti-ageing, helping the body look younger and maintain its youthful vitality despite old age.
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