What is garlic good for? – Benefits and medicinal uses for garlic

Benefits and medicinal uses for garlic
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Garlic has been known since ancient times to work highly effective against a wide range of infections and other complaints. Its pungent odor is unmistakable – not to everyone’s liking – and garlic is widely used in the traditional cuisine of many cultures.

It can be applied externally as an ointment or lotion, as an antiseptic and as a poultice for infected sores.

I have had a lot of people ask me what I consider to be the most super of the superfoods. My answer has been and always will be Allium sativa, or GARLIC. Allicin is the most active and therapeutic compound in garlic. I often find myself prescribing garlic in some form with patients. It can be used as food, spice, supplement or remedy.

Garlic has many medicinal functions:

  • Anti-bacterial- kills pathogenic bacteria
  • Anti-viral- prevents viruses
  • Anti-fungal- great for yeast infections such as athlete’s foot
  • Anti-flatulent- by decreasing bacteria that cause gas
  • Lowers atherosclerotic plaques– protects the heart and blood vessels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Anti-coagulant (prevents blood clots)
  • Protective from hyperlipidemia (high lipids and cholesterol)
  • Helps balance blood sugars, especially useful in Diabetics
  • High in minerals like Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Aluminum, Selenium
  • Aphrodisiac- never hurts

Growing Garlic:


If you live on the west coast, now is the time to plant garlic bulbs. Get them in the ground before the frost. Then in the spring, they will sprout just like your other spring flower bulbs. My favorite part of growing garlic is harvesting the “scapes,” or the green stem that curls up and over. The scapes have a mild garlic flavor that can be eaten without preparation. The bulbs can be harvested in early summer when half of the leaves die back.

Fun growing tip- you can tell how many cloves will be in the garlic bulb by counting the leaves.

Garlic as Food:

I often peel and mince garlic when cooking. Important tip- garlic needs moisture when heated so ensure there is plenty of oil or cooking liquid in the pan before adding it. I often add garlic toward the end of cooking. Another delicious way of preparing garlic is to peel and roast as whole cloves in the oven along with other root vegetables. Again, make sure to drizzle plenty of oil over them.

Garlic syrup:

garlic syrup

Syrup of garlic works well for asthma, hoarseness coughs, breathing difficulties and most other lung disorders – in particular, chronic bronchitis, on account of its ability to promote expectoration. Syrup of garlic is made by pouring a quart of boiling hot water over a pound of the fresh root cut into slices and allowing it to stand in a closed vessel for twelve hours.

Honey is then added to make it the consistency of syrup. Apple cider vinegar also improves this syrup as a medicine. A little caraway and sweet fennel seed, bruised and boiled for a short time in the ACV before being added to the garlic, will mask the pungent smell.

A remedy for asthma, very popular in days of yore, is a syrup of garlic made by boiling the bulbs till soft, adding an equal quantity of vinegar to the water in which they were boiled, and then boiling this down to a syrup with added honey. The boiled bulbs are allowed to dry, and the syrup is then poured over them. The resulting syrup (with bulbs) is kept in a sealed jar. Each morning a bulb or two is taken, along with a spoonful of the syrup.

Syrup of garlic made simply by melting 1.5 ounces of honey in 1 ounce of the raw, squeezed juice can be given to children with a bad cough. Successful treatment of tuberculosis with garlic has been recorded, where the freshly squeezed juice, diluted with equal quantities of water, was inhaled antiseptically.

Bruised and mixed with lard, garlic has been reported to relieve a whooping cough if rubbed on the chest and between the shoulder blades. Traditionally, an infusion of the bruised bulbs, given before and after every meal, was considered to relieve epilepsy. A clove or two of garlic, pounded with honey and taken two or three nights successively, has been reported to relieve rheumatism.

Garlic also helps with chronic edema, removing the water that may already have collected and preventing its future accumulation. If given like smelling salts, garlic will usually revive someone who is hysterical. It’s reported that garlic makes the eye retina more sensitive and less able to bear strong light. Both garlic juice and garlic milk (made by boiling the mashed bulbs in milk) can be used to eliminate worms. A slice of fresh garlic taped to a verruca on the sole of the foot will often completely eliminate the problem.

Garlic as Medicine:

Garlic socks

for colds, flu, chest congestion
garlic socks

You will need – cotton socks

3 cloves of garlic (1.5 per foot)

olive oil (or any oil or petroleum)

plastic wrap or bags

First, warm your feet with a nice foot bath or soak. Dry feet and apply oil all over generously. Add minced garlic to soles of feet and slip into socks, then cover with plastic wrap or bag. Leave overnight.



In cases of infection, it is useful to mix powdered charcoal with minced garlic- apply to skin and cover with a bandage for 4-6 hours.


Roast and Eat

Garlic makes deLICIous food and spread.
garlic cook

Preheat oven to 400’F

Peel away outer layers of garlic skin

Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the bulb, exposing a bit of each clove

Put on a pan, drizzling a little olive oil over the top (1-2 tsp over each)

Cover with aluminum foil (or use a garlic cooker)

Cook for 35-40 min- it will be done when each clove is soft

If small quantities of garlic are finely chopped and added daily to chickenfeed, it prevents gapes (a malady known to every chicken farmer). Chickens will lay higher quality eggs if they’re fed garlic in their food before they start laying (however, when they start to lay, the garlic should be stopped; otherwise the eggs become interestingly garlic-flavored).

Research team studies health claims of aged garlic extracts

research team

Dr. Khalid Rhaman and colleagues from John Moores University have published research on the nutritional benefits of garlic, which include reduced heart attack risks.

Aged garlic extract known as Kyolic may decrease the risk of heart attacks by reducing platelet aggregation in the blood, according to UK scientists.

Dr. Khalid Rhaman and colleagues from John Moores University previously found that a daily supplementation of Kyolic brand aged garlic extract inhibits platelet aggregation in healthy people, Nutraingredients.com reported.

Platelet aggregation causes blood clots. Clot formation inside healthy blood vessels is abnormal and may lead to heart attacks.

They also found that the garlic extract reduces oxidative stress in smokers, who are at higher risk of heart disease.

The researchers are planning a study, which starts in Feb. 2006, on how the aged garlic extract Kyolic affects heart attacks.

Magda Loris

Magda Loris

Hi, My name is Magda. I am working as a nurse in New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. I like to write medical articles about natural remedies. With nature, we can do a lot for our health.

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