Garlic, a plump white bulb, is a familiar sight in most homes and kitchens all over the world. People have been using garlic for many reasons for thousands of years. They have rubbed it on their bodies, put it in coffins, worn it around their necks and draped it on the walls of their homes. According to Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of healing, garlic is one of the most effective anti-microbial herbs, with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It exhibits antioxidant activity, which is good for your skin and also contains flavonoids, which is good for the heart and body. The famous Ayurvedic physicians of Kerala, a state in South India that is often called the “home of Ayurveda”, have been using garlic medicinally for centuries to treat bites, tumors, ulcers, snakebite, wounds, headaches, heart diseases, cancer, pimples, measles and many other diseases.
Ayurveda classifies taste into six categories- sweet, salt, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. Garlic is one of those rare herbs which has five of these tastes. A member of the onion family, the garlic plant has 6 to 12 long, narrow, grass like leaves. The most important part of the plant for medicinal purposes is the bulb, which is made up of numerous ‘cloves’. Garlic thrives in rich and well drained soils, possessing high amounts of organic compounds. At the same time, it is also possible to successfully grow the plant in a wide range of soil varieties and climatic conditions.
The Garlic Effect
Garlic contains a range of compounds including “Allicin”, which is a pungent oily liquid that gives crushed garlic cloves their characteristic smell, and antibacterial properties. The bulb has proved to be a broad spectrum antibiotic that combats bacteria, intestinal parasites and viruses. The sulphur containing compounds in garlic -alliin and allicin – are believed to be responsible for altering cholesterol production by the liver. Garlic lowers LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides while increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. It is also an anticoagulant and is useful in preventing thrombotic events, including stroke and myocardial infarction. Garlic is reported to be very effective in lowering both blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is also an excellent cold medication as it acts as a decongestant, expectorant, antispasmodic and anti inflammatory agent.
Here are some home remedies that you will find useful. For loss of appetite, 3 – 4 cloves of garlic can be boiled in a cup of water and taken with juice of half a lemon twice daily. 10 cloves cooked in milk and taken internally daily is found very effective in various types of arthritis, to reduce inflammation and pain. External application of garlic oil, prepared by slow frying ten cloves in 60 ml of sesame, mustard or coconut oil till it turns brown, will give relief from localised pain and inflammation. Garlic soup made with few cloves of garlic and onion is effective in treating a cold, while a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of onion juice, garlic juice and honey makes a good cough remedy. Rub raw garlic on pimples a few times a day to dry them up and 3 cloves of garlic taken internally once a day for one month will clear acne. In case of a toothache, a clove of garlic crushed with a pinch of rock salt and placed on the affected tooth, relieves pain and in some cases cures it. With such a wide spectrum of benefits is it any wonder that Ayurveda endorse the saying that a few cloves of garlic a day will keep many diseases at bay?