The Anti-Microbial Response Discovered in Garlic

For centuries, garlic has been noted as being a favorable agent to fight diseases that are infectious. In fact, if you go back to ancient Greece, Hippocrates is connected with the notable 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 had a significant function during the Middle Ages and Renaissance on the European continent, and in early America, Native Americans put garlic in a certain tea to fight symptoms of flu. Herbalists would fill soups and other foods with garlic, and they’d place garlic compresses on people’s chests to care for cold symptoms and chest conditions. Today, current research has demonstrated the impressive capabilities of garlic.

The Important Thing is Allicin

Allicin, the effective anti-microbial compound in garlic, tweaks the capability of bacteria to reproduce and stops the organisms from growing. Many studies have been tested on the anti-microbial impacts of garlic, and the results have been positive.

In a study administered at the University of Ottawa, research analysts examined some natural health products that contained garlic in them along with fresh garlic extracts. They put the garlic products and the extracts against three types of common bacteria:

  • Enterococcus faecalis – The cause of meningitis
  • Gonococcus – The root of gonorrhea
  • Staphylococcus aureus – A strain accountable for various types of infections found in hospitals

The products that included higher quantities of allicin were the most successful at eliminating these various types of bacteria.

Another study that demonstrates the impressive impact of garlic’s anti-microbial effects was conducted at the University of California, Irvine where the properties of garlic juice were tested. The juice was used and tested counter to an array of microorganisms, and this included strains of bacteria that were antibiotic-resistant. Not only were the outcomes of the tests effective in stopping these pathogens, but the studies were still successful when the juice was diluted.

When garlic is paired with prescription pharmaceuticals, it can boost the drugs’ effectiveness. Rutgers University conducted a test with garlic and two common antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus (gram-positive) and E. coli (gram-negative), which are two antibiotic-resisting strains of bacteria. The bacteria were killed because the garlic was capable of increasing the antibiotics’ potency.

Applying Garlic in Your Meals to Gain Its the Benefits

It’s worthwhile to mention that cooking garlic impairs the allicin, so the most efficient way to get the active compounds in garlic is to eat it raw. A good way to combat E. coli in your cooking is to use raw garlic as a rub for all meats- the allicin in the garlic will kill those pathogens. The same method can be done with vegetables- putting raw garlic in dressings may save you from spoiled lettuce or spinach.

When you want to make it an addition to your cooked meals, you can crush it or cut it and leave it out for 10 minutes. That way you can still consume it with your sauteed, baked and roasted meals. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a clove of raw garlic with your food each day is much more worthwhile. Just remind yourself to eat raw garlic with other food to avoid stomach problems and bad breath, and you can always eat some raw parsley afterward if you’re concerned with your breath.