The health benefits and healing properties from the lowly garlic plant are staggering. Garlic has been used as a natural remedy and delicious food accent for thousands of years. From infections to inflammation to colds and coughs, a cheaper cure could hardly be found.
Healing Compounds in Garlic
One little clove of garlic is packed full of vitamins, minerals allicin, sulfur compounds, potassium, and selenium.
Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasitic. It stimulates the immune system, thins the blood, and helps the bile to come out of the gall bladder. It is counted as an anti-oxidant. Studies have found that garlic reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, making it useful in heart disease prevention.1
Do I Have to Use Fresh Garlic to Benefit from It?
Some people just do not enjoy fresh garlic. While fresh garlic is an inexpensive and ideal way to use garlic, garlic powder and garlic supplements can be suitable and even sometimes preferable. Pubmed reports that the garlic in the supplement form of “aged garlic extract” appears to reduce the severity of colds and influenza and enhance immune function.2 Often “aged garlic extract” is “odorless” which may be necessary if you work in close contact with others whom might not be thrilled about your “garlic breath.” A garlic supplement is also much easier to take on the go or first thing in the morning.
List of Garlic Cures
- Strep Throat
- Staph Infections
- Sore Throat
- Tooth Abscess
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Sinus Infections
- Yeast Infections
- Heart Tonic
How to Use Garlic
First of all, you should always have a bulb of garlic in the kitchen. It lasts a long time. Hopefully you will find ways to use it before it goes bad. But for about a buck a bulb, it makes sense to have it on hand for medicinal purposes anyway. Using it regularly may make it so you wouldn’t even need it for medicine since it boosts your immune system!
Taking your garlic fresh raw is ideal. It is very powerful taken this way. When you are using it to fight an infection, you will want to take one clove (one piece of the bulb) 3-4 times a day. Break off a clove of garlic. Remove the “paper” skin. Chop your garlic up finely with a knife or garlic press. You can crush it with the handle of a knife. Crushing your garlic will begin to release the medicinal properties contained within. Allow the crushed garlic to sit for 15 minutes to allow the allicin to develop. Now you can take your dose of garlic! You can mix it into some yogurt, cottage cheese, or honey. You can spread it on a piece of bread or cracker. You can mix it into your salad.
If you are sick, you can add an entire bulb of garlic to your soup as it simmers! Break the cloves apart and remove the “paper” skins. At this point you can mince the garlic or just toss the whole cloves in. They will cook and soften. They will have a mouth feel similar to a chunk of potato. The cooking will mellow out the garlic a good bit, but you will still end up with “garlic breath!”
There is not much that beats garlic oil for a cough. You need to be prepared ahead of time, though. It is best to make a batch in the fall. It will probably last you all winter. Make a fresh batch each fall.
How to Make Garlic Oil
- You will need 1 bulb of garlic. If you have roommates or a family you will want to start with 2-3 bulbs of garlic. Even if you don’t use organic products as a rule, spring for organic for the garlic for your recipe.
- Separate the cloves from the bulbs. Remove the paper skins. Use a garlic press or food processor to mince the garlic.
- Put the minced garlic in a glass jar.
- Pour organic olive oil over the minced garlic until the garlic is covered completely. Put a lid on the jar. Use tape and a marker to label your jar with the date. Keep the oil on your countertop. Shake the oil and garlic daily. After 10 days, strain out the garlic. A piece of clean old t-shirt works the best.
- Voila! Now you have garlic oil!
- Label, date, and store your garlic oil in the refrigerator until you need it. It will last for months in the refrigerator. When you need the oil, remove from the refrigerator. You can leave it on the counter for several days if you are needing it often, otherwise, you will need to put your jar of garlic oil into a pan of hot water to bring the oil to room temperature. Olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator.
What to Do with your Garlic Oil!
This is an amazing remedy for a cough. Rub the garlic oil onto your chest or back. It will absorb into the lungs. You can do this several times a day and before bed to knock out a lung infection. Used very often it can also help with pneumonia. It is also useful for wheezing and asthma.
Wear old clothes when using garlic oil. The oil can stain clothes (and bedding) and may leave an odor that is hard to get out even with washing. But it will be worth it.
Garlic oil is a wonderful remedy for ear infections. Warm your garlic oil (never in the microwave) and put a few drops in each ear. (First check the temperature on your wrist as you would milk from a bottle for a baby so you do not burn your ear!)
Garlic oil can also be used topically on ringworm, toenail fungus, tinea versicolor or skin infections.
If you need garlic oil now and haven’t made it yet, go ahead and get some going. You can use a bit from your jar each day before it is ready. It won’t be as strong but it should still be helpful.
Garlic Side Effects
You are probably aware of garlic’s most glaring side effect – its potent odor. Your body will usually expel the garlic odor until the garlic has completely metabolized, which can take 12-24 hours. It can leave a garlic taste in the mouth which some find unpleasant.
Some find that raw garlic can cause nausea or digestive distress, especially if taken on an empty stomach.
Garlic does thin the blood. If you are taking garlic in larger amounts for medicinal reasons, you should stop taking it two weeks before any scheduled surgery to avoid bleeding risks.
If you are on blood thinning medications, have ITP or any other bleeding or blood disorder, do not take therapeutic amounts of garlic without consulting your health professional. There are reports of unexpected and excessive bleeding during surgery that are connected to consumption of large amounts of garlic.3
Garlic Buying Tips
When buying fresh garlic, look for plump firm bulbs. Squishy or hollow sounding garlic are not fresh.
Ideally, and especially for medicinal use, organic garlic is preferable. Local farmers markets can be an ideal source of very fresh garlic.
Have you used garlic for your health? Please send us some feedback!
Continue reading to see how our readers have used this wonderful home remedy.