Uses of Garlic in Folk Medicine
Garlic is known throughout the world by many different names. The word "garlic" comes from old English and means "spear leek". In China, garlic is known as "Syun tauh" and "Da Suan" and in Ayruveda, it is called, Rasona (void of sour taste) and Ugraghandhi ( one that smells pungent).
The Egyptians worshipped garlic as a deity and the Greeks used it to appease the gods. Garlic has been around mankind since the invention of writing, and plants benefits in cooking and in medicine can be found in writings of the Sumerians and Hebrews. It is even written about by Moses, as he tells of his tribe lamenting the loss of garlic as they leave Egypt.
We all know what typical garlic looks like. The fleshy cloves, bunched together, surrounded by a white flakey skin. Anyone who has used garlic can also tell you how it smells, that strong pungent aroma that opens your airways and whets your appetite. It is no wonder why the ancients thought it was worth mentioning.
Garlic has been traditionally used for many different purposes
In India, it has been used to treat worm infestations, skin disorders and low libido. Ayruvedic physicians also recommend it to help enhance you complexion, improve eyesight, strengthen bones and joints, improve digestion and regulate bowel movement. They also have believed garlic to be healthy for the heart and to be beneficial in cases of heart disease.
Garlic has been called "nature's antibiotic". It has long been used as an antiseptic and is very effective against fungus, yeast and viral infections Garlic has been used in army field hospitals during World War 1 , touted by Louis Pasteur in the late 1800's and even used to help prevent anthrax in cattle.
Eating garlic can help you produce more phlegm and help you cough more effectively. It makes a great medicine for coughs, hoarse throats, breathing disorders and anything else lung related. Since it is such a good expectorant, garlic is also a good remedy for whooping cough as well as chronic bronchitis.
Science is catching up to what the ancients already know. More scientific papers are being produced everyday that show that the bioactive agents in garlic can help lower cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels in the blood. It also helps with platelet viscosity, and help slow the rate of blood coagulation. It also contains antioxidants.
Lowers blood pressure
Clinical studies have also proved that garlic can effectively lower blood pressure and help the heart recover faster. It also eases small artery spasms and reduces the amount of pressure on them.
Consuming garlic stimulates peristaltic action and the secretion of digestive juices thereby whetting the appetite. It can also rid the body of toxins and its antimicrobial properties make it ideal for intestinal infections.
Garlic helps purify the blood and can reduce the effects of minor skin infections
Studies indicate that eating garlic on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, namely esophageal, colon, and stomach cancer. Researchers believe that this is because of allicin's ability to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds.
Garlic can help improve blood circulation and research has shown that it can help stimulate the production of nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme thought responsible of erections.
Eating garlic during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of raised blood pressure and studies point to garlic as being a way to help boost the birth weight of babies.
Research has also found that oral or topical applications of garlic or garlic extract may help reduce an outbreak.
Garlic can cause heartburn and flatulence. People on anticoagulants should first talk to their doctor before taking garlic since garlic itself is an anticoagulant. Rubbing garlic on the skin can cause burning and peeling.