With Halloween coming up I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about an ancient tale of mortal enemies and to try and understand why these two could just never get along. So join me for the tale of the vampire and the garlic clove. Why do we believe this tale where did it come from? In my mind anyway fighting a vampire with a sword or a stake seems to make more sense. Surely a great evil shouldn’t be defeated by a vegetable herb combination. Some say they are afraid because of the strong odour that if this where the case why not use onions? It’s amusing to imagine a creature that can supposedly fly, turn into a bat, and drinks blood, running away from a slice of dominoes garlic pizza.
Vampires are not the only blood-sucking creature that garlic repels, it’s commonly used in gardens to repel blood-sucking insects. Leeches, on the other hand, are attracted to garlic (Best to leave the garlic moisturiser on the shelf if you’re going for a swim). Perhaps it is the health benefits of garlic that lead to the myth that it would ward off evil beings the way it does infections and illnesses. In fact, Aristotle himself believed that bacteria and illnesses came from evil doings this was known as spontaneous generation. So the use of an antibiotic like garlic to repel these evil spirits might make sense. Or perhaps the vampire is a metaphor for illness?
Hippocrates is considered the father of western medicine is known to have prescribed garlic to treat illnesses and in recent years these health benefits have been proven by science. The health benefits of garlic are caused by the smelly portion: the sulphur. This compound is formed when a clove of garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed, it is known as allicin. Allicin is known to boost the immune system. In fact, a study found that daily supplementation with garlic reduced the number of cases of the common cold by 63%. Also, the duration of the cold was shortened to 1.5days compared to 5days in the placebo group! So if you are a person who sniffles all year round adding some garlic to your diet could be very helpful. But that is not all!
Here are 6 ways that garlic can prevent or even aid in curing disease!
- Garlic is beneficial in digestion and has been used to treat worms in the digestive tract. It does this while having no effect on the good bacteria in the gut but it will destroy the harmful bacteria.
- Garlic can also be used to treat illness it has been found that boiling garlic in milk (any kind) and straining out the garlic and drinking the milk warm has reduced the symptoms of asthma in those with frequent attacks.
- Garlic supplementation can also be used for people with cardiovascular diseases and has been found to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure an amount comparable to medications. The amount needed for this, however, is around four cloves per day so best stock up on some breath freshener.
- Garlic is also beneficial in reducing LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol which can lead to heart attacks and stroke, it does this while having negligible effects on the HDL or good cholesterol.
- As well as the wonder compound allicin, garlic is high in antioxidants which remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are one of the culprits in the ageing process and in raising blood pressure. This along with the cholesterol and blood pressure lowering compounds mean that garlic may even be able to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- The national cancer institute has been quoted as saying “Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, oesophagus, pancreas, and breast.”
And finally this one is not a health benefit – Garlic tastes delicious!
With all this in mind take the garlic off your door and use it in – well everything garlic is as versatile as it is beneficial and nutritious. Here is just a sample of the delicious meals or sides you can rustle up tonight.
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese
- Sauteed Spinach with Garlic.
- Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Garlic.
- Garlic Kale
- Garlic tender stem broccoli or cauliflower.
- Garlic Bread
- Roasted Garlic and Lemon Brocolli
- Garlic green beans
- Fried Cabbage with onion and garlic