Garlic, that tasty addition to everything from salads to stir fry, isnít just about adding flavor to your meals. This root herb is used in many home remedies for a number of health issues. Not everyone likes garlic because of its pungent odor and sharp taste, coupled with the fact that it can give you pretty nasty breath, but the benefits are worth it.
Garlic can be used raw, pureed, in oil form or even encapsulated. Aged garlic oil is less likely to give you bad breath after taking it. Allicin is the most potent component in garlic and it acts as an antibiotic. However, it is only produced when the garlic is bruised, either by mashing or chopping. Whole garlic cloves do not contain it.
Perhaps the best known effect of taking garlic is the boost it gives the immune system. Garlic stimulates the production of white blood cells and helps keep the immune system strong. For this reason, itís a good idea to make garlic a regular habit, rather than just taking it when you start to get sick. A healthy, strong immune system can fight off diseases before they get a foothold.
Garlic has proven useful against colds. In fact, when taken regularly for 3 months or more, the herb reduces your chances of falling ill with a cold by up to 50%.
It is helpful against allergies and also serves as a natural antibiotic that can work against bacteria, fungus and viruses, making it a good remedy for everything from a small infection to athleteís foot.
You can keep your heart healthy by taking garlic on a regular basis. This herb has been proven to keep blood pressure down in many studies and it is an antioxidant, so it keeps bad cholesterol down, as well. As a blood thinner, it can prevent blood clots and even helps arteries shed any plaque that might otherwise build up. By increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the walls of blood vessels, the vessels relax and this helps the heart stay effective. It also reduces your risk of a stroke.
Garlic is useful in helping control your weight, as well, by keeping insulin levels and blood sugar at an even level. It also stimulates the production of bile, which helps to digest fats in the diet.
Raw garlic is incredibly useful in several ways. A freshly cut piece of garlic rubbed on a tooth and the surrounding gums will get rid of a toothache while garlic juice applied to insect bites will reduce the pain.
Sucking on a slice of garlic will also get rid of a sore throat. The juice can also be mixed with honey to ease a sore throat and to stop coughing naturally.
A slice of fresh garlic is also helpful in getting rid of warts. Just apply the juice from crushed garlic to the wart several times a day until they are gone.
As you can see, garlic has a long list of uses besides making for a tasty salad dressing. The next time you start to feel under the weather, reach for this useful herb first.