Garlic & Its Anti-Microbial Characteristics – A Healthy Decision

For ages, garlic has been mentioned as being an effective agent to fight diseases that are infectious. In fact, if you go back to the ancient Greek civilization, Hippocrates is connected with the common saying, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Garlic was significant in the renowned ancient civilizations of Japan, India, China, Greece, Egypt and Rome. It also played a critical role during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe, and in the Americas, Native Americans used garlic in a certain tea to fight symptoms of flu. Herbalists would stock soups and other foods with garlic, and they would lay garlic compresses on people’s chests to treat cold symptoms and chest conditions. Now, recent studies have validated the impressive capabilities of garlic.

The Important Thing is Allicin

Allicin, the effective anti-microbial properties in garlic, modifies the ability of bacteria to flourish and prevents the organisms from growing. Much research has been conducted on the antibacterial and antimicrobial impacts of garlic, and the conclusions have been good.

In a study done at the University of Ottawa, research analysts examined some natural health products that had garlic in them and fresh garlic extracts. They placed the garlic products and the extracts against three types of common bacteria:

  • E. faecalis – The cause of meningitis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae – The cause of the sexually-transmitted disease gonorrhea
  • Staphylococcus aureus – A strain responsible for various types of infections found in hospitals

The products that contained the higher amounts of allicin were the most successful at wiping out these various types of bacteria.

Another research case that shows the strong influence of garlic’s anti-microbial effects was conducted at the University of California, Irvine where the properties of garlic juice were the test subject. The juice was applied and tested counter to an array of pathogens, and this comprised strains of bacteria that were antibiotic-resistant. Not only were the outcomes positive in fighting these pathogens, but the tests were still rewarding when the juice was diluted.

When garlic is paired along with prescription pharmaceuticals, it can boost the drugs’ effectiveness. Rutgers University tested garlic and two common antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus (gram-positive) and Escherichia coli (gram-negative), which are two strains of bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant. The bacteria were killed since the garlic was capable of increasing the antibiotics’ effectiveness.

How to Use Garlic in Your Cooking to Obtain the Benefits

It’s worthwhile to indicate that cooking garlic ruins the allicin, so the best way to get the benefits in garlic is to eat it raw. One way to combat Escherichia coli in your cooking is by using raw garlic as a rub for all meats- the allicin in the garlic will kill those germs. The same can be used with vegetables- using raw garlic in dressings may help with spoiled lettuce or spinach.

If you want to include it in your cooked food, you can cut it or crush it and keep it out for ten minutes. So you can still consume it alongside your baked, sauteed and roasted food. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, however a clove of raw garlic with your food each day is much more worthwhile. Always remind yourself to eat raw garlic with other food to prevent stomach issues and bad breath, and you can always eat some raw parsley after to remedy any breath issues.