GARLIC: THE STINKING ROSE
by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN
This evocative phrase refers to garlic, a herb that has had its place in medicine for centuries, and I believe the “rose” appellation refers in part at least to the beauty of its results!
For years we referred to folklore to describe garlic’s attributes, and I could add on a personal note the fact that almost everyone who comes to me and brags of never catching cold, goes on to tell me they take garlic regularly. Some of them obviously don’t mean they take deodorized tablets of it, either! Now, however, science has stepped in to validate many of the claims made for garlic.
Worldwide, literally thousands of studies have been done on garlic. Most recently, much attention has focused on garlic and cholesterol, and one combined Australian/British study found that after 6 months, cholesterol had been lowered by 10% and blood pressure by an average of 8%, in patients with initial high readings. Other studies have shown that garlic inhibits the ability of LDL to accumulate in smooth muscle tissue, and can lower serum levels of triglycerides. (Brown DJ, Foster S: Phytotherapy: Herbal medicine meets clinical science: Part II. America’s Pharmacist 6:31-48, 1997).
Garlic’s beneficial effect on heart health leads me to speculate that the lower levels of heart disease in Mediterranean cultures may be due in part to the amount of garlic they consume! (lain, A.K. et al. 1993. Can garlic reduce serum lipids? A controlled clinical study. Am J Mcd 94:632-635.)
There is a great deal of recent research also on garlic’s effects against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. I often suggest strong garlic preparations in conjunction with other remedies for Candida Albicans, knowing of studies that show it helps clear Candida from the blood, and inhibit its growth in the kidney. (Odds, FC. Candida and Candidosis.1988. Bailliere Tindall, Philadelphia, Pa. p. 312. Sandhu DK et al. Sensitivity of yeasts isolated from cases of vaginitis to aqueous extracts of garlic. Mykosen. 1980; 23:691-98)I have found, too, that continuing to use it regularly, often prevents recurrence of the infection. In the unexpected benefit department, a double blind Swedish study, published in the Lancet, found that Marines taking Garlic were 21% less likely to be bitten by the ticks that carry Lyme’s disease!
Very interesting to people who are taking every precaution to protect themselves against our modern health scourges, are the studies showing the connection between garlic and immuno-protective properties. I tend to pussyfoot around this kind of thing, because I don’t want to be accused of sensationalism, but we simply cannot ignore the large number of studies that show garlic as being positively protective against certain kinds of cancer, most specifically stomach and colon. ( Gastro- intestinal Oncology Section, U. of Texas.)
Studies in 2005 concentrated on the apparent ability of garlic to inhibit bastric cancer. When you over cook foods, a chemical called PhlP is produced, which is carcinogenic. A component of ordinary garlic called DAS (diallyl sulfate) has been proven to inhibit these killer PhIP enzymes.
Scientists at Florida A&M University infused human breast epithelial cells with both DAS and PhIP. At every stage of study in the test, the PhIP did indeed increase, sometimes to 40 times as much. . However, the garlic DAS preventedit from becoming carcinogenic, in effect it became harmless.
The study was presented at a 2005 American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
In one study of 52,000 women in Iowa, garlic use was a defining element in who did, and who did not, develop colon cancer. In another, residents of Gangshan County, in China, who eat up to 20gms of garlic daily, have the lowest gastric cancer death rate in the country, while residents of Quixia County, who rarely eat garlic, have the highest. I wonder what the comparative birth rates are – the smell of garlic isn’t conducive to romance!
Which brings me to the reason why many people in this country eat less than 20 gms of garlic a day: the smell. There is encouraging news here! When garlic is called, “phew” need not be chosen. Some of the formulas on the market now have been produced under rigorous supervision to preserve the active part of the garlic, but to eliminate the smell: one just has to be careful to choose a company one can trust.
However, do not neglect including this flavorful bulb in your cooking! When you cook meat at high temperature, you cause a chemical known as PhlP to be released, one which is suspected in cancer. Garlic contains Diallyl sulphide, which has been shown to inhibit PhlP.
As a last thought: King Tutunkhamen’s tomb was filled with the treasures he would need to flourish in the afterlife – and among them were 6 bulbs of garlic.
Jack Challem’s synopsis of the benefits of Garlic – http://www.nutritionreporter.com/garlic.html
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