Are you worried about your health? Are you anxious about your heart or about the possibility of contracting cancer? If so, you are not alone and your concerns are quite valid. Cancer and heart disease are today’s major killers, and as of now, we are yet to find a safe and effective drug that can prevent these diseases. Some will argue that taking one or two aspirins a day can reduce the risk of heart disease, and it saddens me to see how many people are doing this, because I know the problems brought on by aspirin over use. If these people knew about the long term damage caused by this drug, they would think twice before popping another one into their mouths. Maybe they would give up that harmful habit if they learn that there is a better answer to preventing these and other diseases. What is the answer? The herb called Garlic. But don’t just take my word, even scientists are supporting its properties.
A lot of people use garlic in cooking without knowing that this herb has quite a few medicinal uses. Although Garlic has been around for several thousands of years, its origins are quite obscure. It is thought to have come from Russia making its way to the Mediterranean countries. Garlic was known to be used in the diets of ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.
Garlic is known to aid digestion, ward off colds, infection, expel worms, ease chest congestion, help alleviate rheumatism and cleanse the intestines. In World War I, garlic juice was used on the sterile bandages to prevent infection. Garlic has also been known to help hardening of the arteries, sinus problems, skin complexion, and hay fever if taken in capsule form on a regular basis.
This herb has been studied, and the results are amazing. Garlic contains a large number of sulphur compounds. One of these compounds is diallyl disulphide which has remarkable anti-cancer properties. This compound prevents two early stages of carcinogenesis, initiation and promotion, from developing. The anti-initiator activity is the result of two complementary mechanisms:
– diallyl disulphide prevents certain carcinogenic substances from being activated
– moreover, this molecule stimulates enzymes capable of neutralising the activity of carcinogenic substances
These two mechanisms reduce the toxicity of carcinogens to cell DNA. Diallyl disulphide is metabolised in the liver into an oxide compound that may be behind the effects described.
In both cases, these studies have dealt with cancer prevention in rat liver, but the mechanisms brought to light give reason to believe that their scope is much wider: effects on other cancers, potential extrapolation to humans.
As fruit and vegetables are rich in minor constituents, nutritionists have increasingly shown an interest in their role in the prevention of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory diseases over the last decade.
One the most interesting stories of the properties of garlic, came to me from South Africa, Professor Sid Cywes, a former paediatric surgeon at University of Cape Town was having trouble hybridizing his orchids seeds. The trouble was a fungal infection in his culture medium. Mr Peter De Wet, a chief research technologist and Prof Cywes hatched a plan that entailed a dose of garlic. To their astonishment administering garlic to their orchid culture medium killed the mould. They then went on to test garlic’s ability to combat the yeast Candida. At that time one of Prof. Cywe’s patients, a baby at the Red Cross Hospital had a serious Candida infection down the entire length of its oesophagus and gastro-intestinal tract. A garlic solution added to the baby’s milk cured the child within 48 hours.
Since then about thirty very sick infants, where broad spectrum antibiotics failed to bring improvement, have been given fresh allicin enterally. The allicin treatment brought about a significant success. However, this was not a controlled clinical study.
One of the active ingredients in garlic is a compound called allicin. On crushing fresh garlic, an enzyme called alliinase is released which rapidly converts the odorless compound alliin into allicin bearing the typical odor of garlic. Allicin is highly unstable and rapidly converts to other sulfur-compounds such as ajoene. It is, however, allicin and ajoene which have been the main subject of research. These compounds block the enzymes which are necessary for metabolism of the micro-organisms. They have been shown to inhibit the growth of more than 23 organisms. A very interesting point is that no resistance to allicin has been found up to date.
Garlic supplements are one of the best ways to get the daily intake of its properties and compounds, without the breath issue. When combined with vitamin E, garlic becomes a powerful antioxidant as well. The link below will show you what I recommend as garlic and vitamin E complex supplement.
Garlic and its compounds, have been tested against the bacteria Helicobacter pylori and it had tremendous success. Allicin has also been shown to inhibit Campylobacter- universally recognized as the most common cause of gastro-enteritis in very young children of low-income families. These findings are of much interest as bacteria including Helicobacter and Campylobacter are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
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