Garlic definitely has an interesting and versatile flavor profile, and the same could be said about its medicinal properties. In fact, communities around the world continue to rely on its healing compounds to cure common ailments.
However, before you use garlic as medicine, here’s what you should know.
How Garlic Works
Garlic is mostly known for its active compound, allicin. However, allicin is actually created when garlic is crushed and the enzyme it contains, alliinase, converts alliin into allicin. Allicin then makes its way to your gut where it will be absorbed (1,2).
“Garlic breath” is actually an indication of the metabolism and bioavailability of allicin.
Always Crush Your Garlic
To get the enzyme to work, it’s important to crush or mince your garlic and let it sit on your counter for 5-10 minutes for it to metabolize alliin. If you skip this step and cook the bulb right away, allicin will not be produced.
After waiting, the spice can last 10-15 minutes at medium to low heat without harming the compound. The longer you cook it, the more nutrients will be lost. After 45 minutes, your garlic will have lost a great deal of its nutritional content.
If you’re planning on using garlic as a medicine, it’s best to eat it raw or even let it sprout to get the most of its healing properties.
Health Benefits Of Garlic
Here are just a few reasons to add 2-3 cloves of garlic to your daily diet!
- Garlic cures colds and can reduce the length of cold symptoms by up to 70%. Taking the spice daily also prevents the onset of the cold and flu (3).
- Lowers blood pressure by relaxing smooth muscles and dilating blood vessels. One study found that 600 to 1,500mg of aged garlic was just as effective as the drug Atenolol (4).
- Prevents heart disease by lowering serum levels of LDL cholesterol (5).
- Fights infection, effectively working against antibiotic-resistant bacteria (6).
- Prevents cancer risk by up to 44%.
If you’re curious about how to use garlic for these conditions or can’t stomach the taste of garlic on its own, try these 3 healing recipes.
1. Honey Garlic Tincture
- One small jar with a lid
- A sharp kitchen knife
- One head of garlic
- Raw organic honey
- Peel each garlic clove and use the back of your knife to crush each one.
- Let the cloves sit for 15 minutes.
- Add garlic to your jar and cover with honey until the cloves are submerged.
- Secure lid and let the mixture sit in a dark, cool place for 3-5 days.
- Place in the refrigerator and keep for 3-4 months. Eat 1-2 cloves daily as needed.
2. Spicy Elixir
- Tincture bottle
- Wide mouth jar with a lid
- 2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon fresh juice
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 1-2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 cups filtered water
- In a small saucepan, boil the water and turn off heat.
- Meanwhile, crush the garlic and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients to a tea filter or muslin cloth and place in your teapot.
- Pour water into the teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately and enjoy with a touch of honey.
3. Feisty Garlic Tincture
- 1 cup garlic, minced
- ½ cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup raw organic honey
- A pinch of black pepper
- A large glass jar with a lid
- A tincture bottle
- Add garlic to your jar and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Whisk together the vinegar and honey and pour over your garlic, leaving a one inch gap at the top.
- Secure lid and let the mixture sit in a cool cupboard for a month.
- Stain the mixture through a cheesecloth and store in a tincture bottle in the fridge.
- To use, take 10-20 drops at a time.