Many people opt for this humble gift of nature when trying to get over an infection. You can use garlic to make a natural syrup for chest infections; in addition garlic can be used to reduce the risk of lung cancer. But if you want garlic to do its job and preserve your health, it’s important to know how to use it properly. Otherwise, its health benefits are limited, and you might not get the positive results you’re looking for. If you are trying to use garlic as a natural medicine you need to avoid a number of common mistakes.
Cooking garlic is completely acceptable if you are using it to spice up your food. However, cooking destroys the garlic’s active ingredient called allicin. Allicin is one of the sulfur-containing compounds found in garlic that are collectively known as thiosulfates. Allicin gets activated when raw garlic is chewed, chopped or crushed. But, it gets deactivated by heat, so that is why cooking garlic lowers its
healing potential and should be avoided.
To preserve the maximum healing benefits of garlic, crush the garlic, then wait for about 10 minutes before cooking it. Allowing the crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before cooking further enhances formation of allicin, ensures the maximum synthesis of allicin, and also makes it more stable and resistant to the heat of cooking. Cook it on low or medium heat for a short period of time by making sure you add it towards the end of the cooking time.
How to use garlic the right way
Taking garlic in a pill form: To avoid the smell and potent taste, some people decide to take garlic pills instead. As is often the case, the easy way doesn’t really work, to activate the garlic’s healing compound, you need to ingest raw,
crushed garlic. No pill, powder or dried form can match the therapeutic potential of garlic in its natural state. The smelly phosphorus gas disappears when garlic is dried, processed or cooked, but so do some of the health benefits. Dried garlic retains anti-oxidant properties and can help fight free radicals but never to the same extent as raw garlic does. If you struggle with raw garlic, just remind yourself that chewing it has been proven to be as effective as taking penicillin in some cases. Or instead of chewing it, crush the garlic, let it stand for a few minutes and consume it with food. You can also mix the garlic with some honey as a natural remedy for dry cough or chest congestion.
Taking too little garlic: If you are committed to fighting infections the natural way, you’ll need to eat a generous helping of garlic. Just one small clove probably won’t do the trick. As a therapeutic dose, two to three cloves of average size should be consumed per day. People have reported getting through serious infections by chewing two to three cloves twice daily.
Forgetting to replenish the stomach flora: Since garlic acts as a natural antibiotic, large quantities of it can affect the gut flora and deplete the friendly bacteria. As with other antibiotics, you need a good supply of probiotics to get your gut back into balance. The best way to do this is by consuming fermented foods that contain plenty of probiotics. Some examples include natural yoghurt, and fermented vegetables. If you find it difficult to find real fermented food, you can buy probiotic supplements.
Not embracing a healthy diet: You can’t expect the garlic to do all the work on its own. You also need to adopt a generally healthy lifestyle and diet that will accelerate and promote the healing process. A diet rich in sugars and processed foods is counterproductive to the well-being of your immune system. Your endeavours should be supported by foods that provide you with nourishment and protect your health: vegetables, fruits, probiotic foods, healthy oils, lean protein and plenty of good water.
Tips for Eating Fresh Garlic
The best way to consume garlic as an antibiotic is by eating it raw and fresh. Not everyone enjoys its pure taste and consequently struggle to eat enough of it. Herbalists David Winston and Merrily A. Kuhn, RN, PhD, suggest mincing the cloves and letting them stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, mix the garlic with yoghurt, applesauce, honey, or some other carrier agent that will make it easier and tastier for you to ingest.