Since garlic is so well known and widely available, it seemed like a great place to start this guide to herbal remedies. There are many health benefits of garlic, primarily as a natural antibiotic and immune booster.
Guide to Herbal Remedies: Health Benefits of Garlic
Raw garlic has natural antibiotic properties that can help stave off many illnesses. Although garlic is not as concentrated as antibiotic drugs, most people find it gentler on the body, without the side effects of many drugs. Garlic also does not seem to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs, a major concern with conventional medicine today.
Another unique property of raw garlic is that it fights fungal infections and viruses as well as bacteria, (unlike conventional antibiotics) so you may actually be able to naturally treat certain conditions that would not be treated at all by mainstream doctors.
Guide to Herbal Remedies: Using Garlic
For the purpose of herbal remedies, it’s very important to use fresh, raw garlic. Older “fresh” garlic, like the type that comes in a jar, is much less potent, and garlic powder has very few health benefits. Buy cloves of fresh garlic in the produce section of almost any supermarket. Separate, peel, and crush the cloves, then serve as soon as possible for maximum health benefits.
Try to eat raw garlic throughout the day when you feel a cold or illness coming on. Eating a clove every few hours is a good bet, unless your stomach starts to get irritated. You can just chew raw garlic straight, but this is very unpleasant for most people. Try making a very garlicky fresh guacamole, creamy dip, or raw garlic toast.
Garlic is believed to be a very stimulating food in Ayurvedic medicine and Macrobiotic nutrition. According to these systems, eating garlic on a regular basis can be unbalancing. Also, garlic can be rough on the stomach, particularly for some individuals, so it’s not really recommended for any condition involving stomach pain or digestive difficulties.
As with any herbal remedy, you should seek professional help if your symptoms are unusually severe or if they don’t start to improve after a day or so.
Garlic is a relatively easy plant to grow, if you’re horticulturally inclined. Take a nice bulb of garlic, separate it into cloves, and plant each clove separately some time in the late fall or early spring. Each bulb should eventually sprout a stalk of edible garlic greens. When these leaves start to brown, it’s time to check on your garlic. Dig up the roots–each individual clove should have developed into a whole bulb. If so, you can easily enjoy the health benefits of garlic (not to mention the delicious flavor) throughout the coming year.