Garlic – The Wonder Drug

Garlic, also known by its botanical name Allium sativum, was first cultivated in China thousands of years ago and ever since it has become quite popular as an important food ingredient. However, this is not the only use of garlic. It also has medicinal properties that traditional medicine practitioners have been using for hundreds of years.

If you crush garlic or chop it up finely, it gives out a compound known as allicin, which is a potent antibiotic and anti-fungal. It is this compound that gives garlic its characteristic odor and taste. Allicin is also an antioxidant and has the ability to dissolve fat. In fact, scientific studies have shown that allicin has the ability to combat atherosclerosis.

Garlic also has many minerals that are extremely important for the body. It contains phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, copper and zinc. Besides these minerals, garlic contains a fair amount of Vitamin C and small quantities of Vitamin B complex. It also contains proteins, carbohydrates and a very minuscule amount of fat.

According to scientists, garlic contains more than 100 compounds. However, the scientific community has been able to identify over 30 of these compounds. It is believed that all these chemical compounds are instrumental in making garlic into a wonder drug. For instance, it has allyl mercaptan that has the ability to lower cholesterol levels, prevent onset of atherosclerosis, and it also has the properties to fight diabetes and tumors. Arginine present in garlic works as a stimulant that relaxes the blood vessels and thereby helps in improving blood circulation.

Garlic is also used in traditional medicines to fight fungal and bacterial skin infection, digestion problems, rheumatism, whooping cough and bronchial congestion. It is known to help the body eliminate toxins and stimulate the release of digestive juices in the stomach. In traditional Indian medicine, garlic is used as a cure for respiratory diseases like asthma and tuberculosis.

According to the American Dietetic Association, a person should take around 600 mg to 900 mg of garlic everyday in order to reap its health benefits. This quantity works out to around one clove of fresh garlic.