If you aren’t growing garlic in your garden yet, there are so many reasons to start.
My husband and I eat so much garlic, we could probably ward off a whole community of invading vampires! This miracle herb has been around since the beginning of time, basically, and it offers a whole host of health benefits – along with being a tasty addition to just about any recipe.
Ok, maybe not any recipe (we’re looking at you, chocolate cake). But it still packs a serious nutritional punch that simply cannot be overlooked.
1. Antibacterial and antiviral agent
Garlic contains allicin, a vital compound that helps give garlic its characteristic, sulphuric odor. This compound is most beneficial when it is finely chopped, pureed, or minced and allowed to sit for a short period of time. It can help boost your circulatory system and your immune functioning, helping to control all kinds of infections.
This exceptional herb can be used to treat fungal, viral, bacterial, yeast, and worm infections, playing a role in combating food poisoning in particular. This is because garlic can kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E.coli.
2. Garden aid
Don’t think that the health benefits of garlic are limited to your body! You can also use garlic as a helper in the garden to produce a more bountiful yield (and everybody knows how good farm-fresh produce is for you!)
Garlic is a powerful pesticide in the garden, allowing you to forego expensive, harmful commercial pesticides. It can get rid of whiteflies, aphids, cabbage loopers, and even squash bugs – all of which can decimate the garden you’ve worked so hard to maintain.
You can make a DIY pesticide that will keep crop-ravaging bugs at bay, or even put out cloves of garlic to keep mosquitoes away from your property.
A good recipe? Just mince three garlic cloves and let them sit in two tablespoons of mineral oil for a day. Then, strain the garlic and add the oil to a teaspoon of liquid dish soap and a pint of water in a spray bottle. Just make sure you place the cloves or spray where your pets can’t get at them, as garlic can be very toxic to animals.
3. Helps treat skin infections
Did you know that garlic can help treat infections on the outside of your body as well as internally? This herb has been known to treat various fungal skin infections, such as ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Garlic can even help treat corns and warts on your hands and feet! You just need to apply a bit of fat-dissolving garlic extracts to the affected area, sit back, and let it work its magic.
4. Acts as a blood thinner
If you are at risk of a blood clot, you should consider taking a regular garlic supplement or including it more often in your daily diet. This is because garlic has a chemical known as ajoene.
This chemical, which is also effective at treating the aforementioned skin infections, can help prevent blood clots from forming anywhere in your body. That being said, it’s also important to note that you should avoid garlic in excess before surgery, as it can increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
5. Lowers blood pressure
If your doctor has been getting on your case about high blood pressure, consider consuming more garlic.. Your blood naturally contains angiotensin which is a protein that helps your blood vessels contract.
Allicin naturally blocks angiotensin and helps reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, garlic contains multiple polysulphides (contributing to its intense flavor and scent). This is converted to hydrogen sulphide by your blood vessels, which can also help to control your blood pressure.
6. Protects your heart
People who are at risk of heart disease or failure should consider eating garlic more often. Garlic can protect against various cardiovascular problems, including the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Garlic has sulfur containing compounds that prevent your blood vessels from becoming blocked and slow the hardening process of the arteries that naturally occurs with age. Because garlic also serves as an anticoagulant, there is also a reduced risk of clots forming inside your blood vessels.
Garlic also helps to keep your arteries limber, preserving their ability to stretch. It also protects the heart from the detrimental effects of free oxygen radicals. Garlic can also help lower your blood triglycerides and overall cholesterol, reducing the formation of plaque in your arteries.
7. Get rid of acne and cold sores
If you have bad acne, you might be able to clear up your complexion by using garlic. Simply cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it lightly over your skin. The antibacterial properties in garlic will help clear your skin up fast.
You can also get rid of a cold sore by cutting up a clove of garlic and applying it directly to the sore. Although it might sting, it has been proven to be just as effective as commercial treatments for the painful, unattractive sores.
8. Fights allergies
If you find yourself sneezing uncontrollably every spring, you might want to consider taking garlic as a way to calm the sniffles. It helps the body prevent and adapt to allergic reactions, as it contains diallyl sulphide and thiacremonone. It reduces allergic airway inflammation and can stop itching related to rashes and bug bites (examples of allergic responses).
9. Treats common respiratory problems
Prone to colds? Garlic might help keep respiratory infections at bay. It can reduce the severity of infections, helping to heal disorders like asthma and chronic bronchitis. Its antibacterial properties can also help treat mild throat irritation.
Looking for a quick fix to heal your cold? Consider mincing a clove of garlic and steeping it in hot water for about five minutes. Strain the garlic, and drink – it’s a natural cough syrup that will help prevent further infections and heal a sore throat.
10. Guards against diabetes
If you have a family history of diabetes, garlic might help treat or prevent insulin problems. Garlic increases insulin release and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
11. Prevents cancer
People who consume garlic on a daily basis are found to be at a lower risk of most types of cancer. This is because garlic contains allyl sulphides, which are powerful anti-cancer compounds.
Garlic also contains PhIP, which is an amine that has been linked to lower risks of breast cancer in many women. The diallyl sulphide in garlic may help prevent the conversion of PhIP into harmful carcinogens.
12. Helps your body metabolize iron
Garlic can even influence the production of ferroportin in your body. Ferroportin is a protein that aids in iron release. Eating garlic on a regular basis can increase your body’s production of ferroportin and improve your metabolism or iron – something that is vital for most women in particular.
13. Serves as an aphrodisiac
Garlic helps improve your circulation, so it’s no wonder that your blood will be pumping after a garlic-heavy meal – leading to increased interest and performance in the bedroom. You might want to consider brushing your teeth first, though!
14. Heals an achy tooth
If your mouth is aching, reach for garlic. Putting some crushed garlic on your affected tooth can help relieve a toothache at the source, containing profound analgesic properties. It can be irritating to your gums, so you might not want to leave it on your tooth for too long.
15. Helps maintain a healthy weight
Garlic can even help you maintain a healthy weight. Many scientists now think that obesity is a state of low-grade chronic inflammation in the body that persists over the long term.
Eating garlic can help control the creation of fat cells in your body, as pre-adipocytes are transferred into fat cells through the activity of your inflammatory system. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic can inhibit the conversion of fat cells, preventing weight gain in the long term.
So go ahead and try out these recipes that have garlic in them – you’ll love them!
16. Keeps your house clean
Because garlic has such powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, it is an incredibly effective household cleaner. Instead of turning to expensive, caustic household sprays and wipes, chop up three or four cloves of garlic and put them in a spray bottle filled with white vinegar.
To prevent your house from smelling too garlicy, you can also add a few drops of lemon juice or your favorite essential oil.
17. Treats ear infections
Garlic has been a popular folk remedy for ear infections for centuries, and it is believed to help kill the bacteria that cause ear infections. All you need to do is crush a clove of garlic with a press and place it in a teaspoon of hot olive oil, letting it steep for about five minutes.
Strain the mixture and allow it to cool, and then place a few drops at a time in your ear canal. You can purchase premade oil at most health food stores or make this mixture yourself.
Got a stubborn splinter from your latest woodworking project? While you can often remove splinters on your own, they are sometimes too painful or deep in the skin to remove.
Instead of waiting for it to pop out on its own – which can often lead to infection or other long term problems –place a thin slice of garlic over the splinter and hold it there with a bandage. It might sting, but within a few hours, the splinter should work its way out of the skin.
19. Skin cleanser
I already mentioned how helpful garlic can be to treat acne, but it can also serve as a natural exfoliant. To use it, all you need to do is make a paste of olive oil, sugar, and finely minced garlic.
You can also add whatever scents you prefer (ideally ones that won’t irritate your skin). Massage it onto your face in a circular motion, then rinse it off.
20. Prevent gas and bloating
Garlic can cause stomach aches and gas in some people, as it’s high in sulfur, but if you consume the right quantities of garlic, it can actually help relieve gas pains.
It kills harmful intestinal bacteria and promotes the growth of beneficial flora (much like an expensive probiotic supplement), helping to make digestion a bit easier.
The benefits don’t stop there! The health and wellness benefits of garlic just go on and on. What other reason do you need to consider growing garlic in your garden? This miracle herb is one to be aware of, offering quite the resume when it comes to healing, preventing, and treating a whole range of illnesses and conditions.
Mince some up, and toss it in your favorite recipe today, but before you do, how about you pin this article to one of your Pinterest boards?
Rebekah is a high-school English teacher n New York, where she lives on a 22 acre homestead. She raises and grows chickens, bees, and veggies such as zucchini (among other things).