Garlic
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Garlic GARLIC  
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Botanical:  Allium sativum
Family:  Alliaceae (onion)
Other common names:  Stinking Rose, Lucifer's Tulip, Poor Man's Treacle, Russian Penicillin, Rashona, Billy Goat's Cologne, Clove Garlic, Devil's Posey, Devil's Rose, Dragon's Perfume, Hell's Passion Flower

Discover Nature's time-honored "cure-all" with Garlic!  When it comes to fighting infections, Garlic enjoys the reputation as nature's most potent weapon against germs.  Garlic is said to pulverize viruses, bacteria and fungi.  If you want to detoxify your body, lower blood pressure, promote healthy serum cholesterol  and blood sugar levels and enhance your immune system, give Garlic a try; you won't be sorry!

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Garlic has been prized for at least five thousand years, and so, it is difficult to trace its exact origin. One early botanist considered it to be indigenous to the southwest of Siberia, later spreading to southern Europe.  Others claim that it came from Central Asia, where it was considered the most important herb in Persian herbal medicine.  It is widely cultivated in the Latin countries bordering the Mediterranean, even growing wild in Sicily.  Garlic has been described through the ages in almost spiritual terms and has been called the wonder drug of the herbal world.  It is a bulbous perennial with a single stalk that may grow to three feet.  Ancient Egyptians not only worshipped Garlic, but also fed it to their slaves to keep them healthy, and a 3,500-year-old Egyptian scroll tells us that healers at that time believed Garlic could help a person fight cancer.  Hippocrates (460 B.C.) is believed to have used Garlic to treat uterine cancer.  In 1722, Garlic was used to protect against plague in Marseilles, and in London, in the early 1800s, where there was an outbreak of infectious fever in certain poor quarters, the Garlic-eating French priests who treated the sick did not die, but the English clergy, who did not eat Garlic, succumbed to the disease.  Garlic contains a sulphide of the radical allil, which is rich in sulphur but contains no oxygen, thus giving Garlic its peculiar, penetrating odor.  It also includes enzymes, linalool, oleanolic acid, quercetin, rutin, saponin, stigmasterol, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and essential oil. Garlic is known as a natural antibiotic without the deleterious effects of the drugs that kill all life within the body. Today's orthodox medicine recognizes that the plant is a stimulant for the immune system and a natural antibiotic.  Much research is also currently being focused on Garlic's potential as a means to lower cholesterol.

Beneficial Uses:
Garlic helps to detoxify the body.  It is said to stimulate the lymphatic system to throw off waste materials.  This powerful natural detoxifier helps to strengthen blood vessels, providing protection against pollutants and heavy metal toxicity.  It also works to cleanse the kidneys and increase urine flow.

Garlic appears to help promote healthy heart function by maintaining normal blood pressure and blood lipid levels.  Scientific studies reported in the German Commission E Monographs support the use of Garlic in lowering excessive triglyceride and serum high cholesterol levels in the blood.  It is said that long-term use of Garlic helps to lower LDL (low-density lipoproteins or" bad" cholesterol), while working to increase HDL (high-density lipoproteins or "good" cholesterol).  This activity reduces the tendency of the blood to clot, thereby increasing circulation and reducing blood pressure and the risk of arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attacks.  Moreover, Garlic also helps to dilate peripheral blood vessels, thus also helping to balance blood pressure levels.  Other studies have indicated that people who suffered heart attacks, and then were given Garlic, had a lower incidence of a second attack.  Although inconclusive, some studies have demonstrated that Garlic may lower blood pressure (one of the problems with pre-eclampsia in pregnant women) and may thus play a role in helping to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and its complications.

Garlic is considered a powerful anticoagulant that normalizes blood platelet adhesion by reducing the stickiness of the blood and stimulating fibrinolysis, a process in which blood clots are dissolved. This action also helps to improve blood circulation and combat arteriosclerosis. According to the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, Garlic is recognized officially by the Japanese FDA as a treatment for hypertension.

Garlic is called a powerful antibiotic that destroys harmful bacteria and leaves behind beneficial bacteria for the body to utilize as an infection fighter. Garlic has been thought to be beneficial in ridding the bowel of parasites.  It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium implicated in the formation of ulcers in the digestive system (peptic ulcer).  Moreover it is thought to enhance good digestion by increasing bile production and reducing stomach gases.  Its antibacterial properties are also believed to relieve bladder infection, strep throat and vaginosis.

In a 2008 study from the University of East London, England, scientists claimed that the killer superbug, MRSA (Methecillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), can be beaten with Garlic.  Trials showed that allicin, the natural compound that gives Garlic its distinctive smell, treated even the most antibiotic-resistant strains of the infection and helped patients suffering from the antibiotic-resistant infection within weeks.  The research team said it was even effective against the newer strains that cannot be treated by the “last line of defense" antibiotics, Vancomycin and Glycopeptides.

Garlic is considered to be an antioxidant that helps to promote healthy immune system function and inhibit destructive, free radical or oxidative damage to tissues or cells.  Garlic includes germanium, a mineral that is said to strengthen the immune system and build the body's defense against harmful infectious invasion and malignant diseases.  It is believed to activate germ-eating macrophages, cells that are produced by the immune system, and it is thought that chemicals in Garlic reduce the production of toxic, free radicals in liver and lung tissue.  Some researchers claim that Garlic use may retard proliferation of unhealthy cells, including hormone-sensitive breast and prostate cells, among others.

Pursuant to combating malignant diseases, researchers at Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Japan, claim that treating Helicobacter pylori  bacterial infection in the stomachs of people who have been treated for gastric (stomach) cancer appears to reduce the risk of cancer from redeveloping.  Since Garlic has demonstrated an ability to inhibit the growth of Helcobacter pylori, the bacterium implicated in the formation of ulcers in the digestive system, it may be helpful in reducing the development of further stomach cancers in patients who have previously been operated on for the disease.

According to preliminary research from the Department of Biochemistry, Ankara, Turkey, consumption of aqueous Garlic extract may lead to significant improvement in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer.  The study demonstrated that in the cancer group, significantly lowered total and free PSA values were measured after extract consumption.  In the group with BPH, the results demonstrated that the mass of prostate was found to be significantly lowered after Garlic extract consumption.  Urinary frequency was established to be decreased and maximum and average rates of urine flow significantly increased.

Garlic is regarded as an antiviral and antifungal. The activity of the parasitic fungus that is associated with AIDS is said to be inhibited by the presence of Garlic, and the growth of the yeast organism, Candida albicans, is also said to be reduced by Garlic.  Applied directly to the ear canal, Garlic is a traditional remedy for earaches; it retards the growth of aspergillus and Candida, two fungi that sometimes cause ear inflammation.

In supporting healthy blood-sugar levels in late-onset diabetes, Garlic is thought to help regulate blood-sugar levels by tying up the chemical receptors that would otherwise deactivate insulin, the hormone that controls sugar usage and also stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin.  It is said to accomplish this without stimulating weight gain (a common side effect with certain prescription medications).   In a 1976 report from the British medical journal, Lancet, it was noted that Garlic (and onion) is very hypoglycemic in nature and can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, and it should be mentioned that people with high or low blood sugar levels should always consult their physicians before using.

Garlic is said to be an effective expectorant that helps to loosen and rid the respiratory tract of phlegm.

Contraindications:
Taking therapeutic doses of Garlic Herbal Supplement during pregnancy and lactation may cause indigestion.  Because of Garlic's anti-clotting properties, people taking anticoagulant drugs (Coumadin, aspirin, etc.) should check with their physicians before taking Garlic.  Those scheduled for surgery should inform their surgeons if they are taking Garlic.  Because Garlic is hypoglycemic in nature, diabetics and people with low blood sugar levels should always consult their physicians before using.

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