04 October, 2003
Glorious garlic! It is one of the world's most healing foods. It
was being used both as a favorite food and as a powerful medicine
centuries before Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and
into the wilderness.
During their forty years in the wilderness, Moses' followers
lamented: "We remember the fish we did eat in Egypt freely;
cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions and the
The magic and medicine of plants states that garlic is ".a
good friend" to mankind.Besides the savor it adds to foods,
garlic is said to have given strength to the pyramid builders, courage
to the Roman legions, and fighting spirit to English gamecocks.
garlic's medicinal uses have been documented for centuries.
It was always a popular remedy for colds, sore throats and coughs
either eaten raw or taken as a syrup,which was made by boiling garlic
cloves and water for half a day.
Physicians and herbalists prescribed garlic as a diuretic and for
intestinal disorders and rheumatism.
"Colonists arriving in America discovered that the Indians
the healing powers of a native species of garlic and relied on the
plant to treat a variety of medical problems, from snakebites to
"Garlic may have helped to cure many diseases because it is
antiseptic. It was used in both World Wars."
Garlic and its cousin, the onion, were regarded for both health-giving
and magical qualities in ancient cultures. Garlic was one of the
first foods to be deliberately cultivated, although wild varieties
grew in abundance.
Evidence of its healing powers is detailed in 4,000 year-old records
from the ancient kingdom of Sumeria.
Depictions of garlic bulbs have been discovered on the walls of
Egyptian tombs that date back to 3200 B.C. -centuries before Joseph
and his brothers settled in Egypt.
During that same period, ancient records reveal that garlic was
the principal ingredient in many remedies that Egyptian healers
prescribed for headaches, sore throats and other complaints.
By the time of Moses, garlic was already being used as an anticoagulant,
antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent, as a relief
for flatulence, a diuretic, a sedative, a poultice, and as a cure
for internal parasites.
At least 67 different varieties of garlic and onions have been
identified as growing in the Holy Land, so it's little wonder that
the ancient Israelites developed a fondness for it centuries ago.
It may be for health reasons that the Talmud specifies that several
different foods are to be seasoned with garlic regularly.
At various times, it has been recommended as a cure-all for a vast
array of ailments: arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, athlete's
foot, bronchitis, cancer, candida, catarrh, chickenpox, cholera,
the common cold, constipation, dandruff, diabetes, dropsy, dysentery,
dyspepsia, epilepsy, fits, gangrene, hypertension, influenza, jaudice,laryngitis,
lead poisoning, leprosy, malaria, measles, meningitis, piles, rheumatism,
ringworm, scorpion stings, scurvy, septic poisoning, smallpox, snakebite,
tuberculosis, and typhoid.
Research suggests that garlic may help protect against heart disease
and stroke by lowering blood pressure. It contains allylic sulfides,
which may neutralize carcinogens. In fact, garlic has been linked
to lower rates of stomach cancer.
The Environmental Nutrition newsletter published evidence from
five clinical trials showing that one-half to one clove per day
lowered cholesterol levels an average of nine percent in people
with borderline and high cholesterol.
Scientific interest in the healing power of garlic has exploded
so much over the last decade that the National Library of Science
now lists nearly 150 papers published on garlic's abilityto maintain
In various studies, garlic powder, aged garlic extracts and fresh
garlic all have had positive effects in preventing cancer in animals;
improving diabetes management; slowing the growth of human cytomegalo-virus
(often seen in people with AIDS); preventing fatigue; and relieving
stress more effectively than
the addictive tranquilizer, Valium!
As little as half a raw clove will boost the body's natural protection
against blood clots, which cause heart attacks and strokes. It takes
only two raw garlic cloves a day to lower cholesterol levels in
heart patients. The ingredient that gives garlic its strong smell,
a chemical called allicin, is also what makes it such a potent antibiotic.
In hundreds of experiments, allicin extract from raw garlic has
destroyed the germs that spread such diseases as botulism, tuberculosis,
diarrhea, staph, dysentery, and typhoid. One scientist reports:
"Garlic has the broadest spectrum of any anti-microbial substance
we know of. It's antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan
Some researchers say that one medium-sized garlic clove has as
much antibacterial power as 100,000 units of penicillin. Japanese
scientists have distilled an antibiotic medication called "kyolic"
from raw garlic.
Because it was used so commonly as an antibiotic by Russian army
during World War II, it became known throughout all Europe as the
Russian "Penicillin". An astonishing 500 tons of garlic
were trucked into Moscow to combat one influenza epidemic in the
European doctors still prescribe garlic to ward off colds,
pneumonia, whooping cough and a wide array of intestinal disorders.
A natural ingredient in garlic called alliin is changed into the
antibiotic substance, allicin, when it is chewed, chopped or crushed.
Western medical experts are now studying reports that the Chinese
used high doses of garlic to cure cryptococcal meningitis,
a disease that is often fatal. The Chinese doctors way that it works
by boosting the body's natural
In the U.S. several researchers are studying exactly what
effect garlic does have on the immune system. In one study, AIDS
patients who ate at least a clove of garlic a day for three months
significantly improved their immune functions, which the disease
severely damages. In some patients, chronic herpes sores were completely
others, cancer cells were destroyed.
Animal tests in Japan indicated that fresh garlic might be an
effective weapon against a form of breast cancer. Another finding
from the same study suggested that garlic was probably a better
antioxidant than Vitamin E, one of the top antioxidants known to
slow the aging process.
At the M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, Texas,
investigators looked at sulfur compounds from both garlic and onions
and concluded their ingredients blocked the formation of carcinogens
that lead to colon cancer.
Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute has announced that the
sulfur in garlic is high on its list of potential natural "chemopreventatives."
A study at Bombay Hospital's Research Center in India, found that
those who ate several garlic cloves daily (depending on the size
of the person significantly reduced the risk of potentially deadly
blood clots -even in patients who already suffered from coronary
disease. In even smaller doses, garlic drastically reduced cholesterol
levels -on the average from 305 to 218 over a 60-day period.
Researchers at Loma Linda University in California achieved equally
dramatic results when they tested Japan's garlic extract, kyolic.
An ounce a day (approximately eight to nine cloves) reduced dangerous
LDL cholesterol from 10 to 50 percent and boosted the production
of HDL cholesterol, which the body needs for good health.
Hypertension is a modern affliction that the people of biblical
times probably didn't have to deal with. There is now ample proof
that garlic has a near-miraculous ability to lower high blood pressure.
The British Medical Journal "The Lancet", recently reported
that studies conducted in Eastern European laboratories showed that
garlic produces a systolic blood pressure drop of 20 to 30 points
and a diastolic drop of 10 to 20 points. That's more than enough
to bring even the most severe hypertension
to manageable levels without drugs.
Dr. Eric Block, head of chemistry at State University of New York
Albany, recently extracted a compound from garlic which he named
In Spanish, "ajo" is garlic. He found that ajoene prevents
blood clots from forming. " As an antithrombotic agent, *ajoene*
is at least as potent as aspirin," he said. For years medical
experts have prescribed limited doses of aspirin to prevent or dissolve
dangerous blood clots. Early test also indicate that ajoene has
few of the unwanted side effects of anticoagulant drugs.
Many doctors are now going back to ancient folklore and home remedies
that call for garlic as a decongestant and an expectorant in the
treatment of common colds and chronic bronchitis. Like chili peppers
and other hot, pungent foods, garlic works by turning on the body's
natural "fire-fighting" faucets to cool the heat. This
provokes the lungs and bronchial tubes to produce more fluids -
which in turn thin the mucus and help flush it out of the body.
While cooking may destroy or reduce the allicin and weaken the
potential, most of its therapeutic benefits remain. Cooked garlic
still lowers blood cholesterol, for example, and works as a decongestant
and cough medicine.
Whether in cooked, raw or in extract form, garlic may be one of
the most potent natural healing foods we have. The ancient people
of the Bible knew that basic fact of life. Some of our scientists
are just rediscovering it!
Taken from "Healing Foods of the Bible"
By Bernard Ward