The early uses of wild, uncultivated garlic are scattered in the histories of the ancient people of the Indus Valley, Egyptian and Mediterranean regions. Regaled as an aphrodisiac by some and pungent faux pas by others, wild garlic consistently made its way into the folklore of many countries before reaching its present cultivated-only state. To increase the benefits of garlic, allow chopped or crushed pieces to sit before using. Garlic may then be added to 8 oz of water to create an potent oral rinse or healthy marinade in culinary dishes.
Research performed at Liverpool John Moores University has found garlic to aid as a preventative in cardiovascular disease by reducing cholesterol, hypertension and high blood pressure. Researchers believe the biggest attribute of garlic lies in its ability to halt the blood clotting and blood vessel blockages that occurs from oxidative stress via an increase in antioxidant activity. Garlic’s rich repertoire of sulfur-containing compounds and high vitamin C quantity also aids in maintaining blood pressure and healing tissue and cells damaged by free radicals.
A study performed by Chungbuk National University in Korea has found garlic to have anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. According to researchers, garlic contains thiacremonone, a sulfur compound that inhibits inflammatory activation. The role of inflammation on weight maintenance was addressed by researchers at INSERM U872 who believed obesity to rely on low-grade inflammation for survival. The study combined extracted fat cells to vinyldithiin sulfurs found in garlic and found that the sulfur prevented the inflammation needed by fat cells to expand.
Antibacterial and Antiviral
The use of garlic as an antibacterial treatment for oral pathogens was recently researched at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. The study found garlic to inhibit the growth and kill most streptococcus and P. gingivalis organisms using a 57 percent garlic extract. Tests involving the use of garlic in combating the herpes virus have revealed that garlic inhibits the replication of infected cells gene synthesis, according to research published at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
- The World’s Healthiest Foods: Garlic
- Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease, a Critical Review
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Anti-Inflammatory and Arthritic Effects of Thiacremonone, a Novel Sulfur Compound Isolated From Garlic Via Inhibition of NF-kappaB
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: 1,2-Vinyldithiin From Garlic Inhibits Differentiation and Inflammation of Human Preadipocytes
Based near America's "Gateway to the West," Li St. Michael has been writing professionally since 2005. Her culturally minded articles have appeared on various websites. St. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in writing from Drury University and is set to receive a Masters degree in international relations in 2011.