Health Attributes of Garlic – Protection Against Microorganisms

For ages, garlic has been mentioned as being an effective agent to combat diseases that are infectious. In fact, if you go back to ancient Greece, Hippocrates is connected with the common saying, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Garlic has had its place in the ancient civilizations of India, China, Japan, Egypt, Greece and Rome. It also played a substantial role during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe, and in early America, Native Americans put garlic in a certain tea to combat symptoms of flu. Herbalists would stock soups and other foods with garlic, and they’d plant garlic compresses on people’s chests to alleviate cold symptoms and chest conditions. Now, current studies have demonstrated the impressive capabilities of garlic.

Why is Garlic so Beneficial? It’s All in the Allicin

Allicin, the effective anti-microbial compound in garlic, reworks the ability of bacteria to reproduce and prevents the organisms from growing. Much research has been conducted on the anti-microbial effects of garlic, and the results have been positive.

In a study administered at the University of Ottawa, researchers conducted tests on some natural health products that contained garlic in them in addition to fresh garlic extracts. They placed the garlic products and the extracts against three commonplace types of bacteria:

  • E. faecalis – The cause of septicemia, an infection that causes damage to its own tissues and organs
  • Gonococci – The root of gonorrhea
  • S. aureus – Although it isn’t always pathogenic, it can cause abscesses, respiratory infections and food poisoning

The products that had increased quantities of allicin were the most successful at wiping out these various types of bacteria.

Another study that shows the strong impact of garlic’s anti-microbial effects was done at the University of California, Irvine where garlic juice was tested. The juice was used and tested against an array of pathogens, and this comprised strains of bacteria that were antibiotic-resistant. Not only were the results productive in combating these pathogens, but the tests were still favorable when the juice was diluted.

When garlic is consumed with prescription pharmaceuticals, it can enhance the drugs to work better. Rutgers University conducted a test with garlic and two common antibiotics to fight S. aureus (gram-positive) and Escherichia coli (gram-negative), which are two antibiotic-resisting strains of bacteria. The bacterium was killed since the garlic was able to increase the antibiotics’ strength.

Using Garlic in Your Meals to Take Advantage of the Perks

It’s worthwhile to indicate that cooking garlic ruins the allicin, so the most optimal way to get the benefits in garlic is to eat it raw. One way to stop Escherichia coli in your cooking is to use raw garlic as a rub for all meats- the powerful antibiotic agent in garlic will help assist in killing those bacteria. The same practice can be used with salads- putting raw garlic in dressings may help with spoiled lettuce or spinach.

If you want to add it to your cooked meals, you can cut it or crush it and keep it out for approximately ten minutes. So you can still use it with your baked, sauteed and roasted meals. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, yet a clove of raw garlic with a meal each day is much more rewarding. Just keep in mind 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.