Good Day to you, Ready Nutrition Readers. Today’s article is an introduction to cover some of the basics of Garlic (Allium sativum), and a description of just how valuable an herb it is regarding naturopathic and holistic measures. Economical to purchase, grow, and store, garlic is what we herbalists refer to as a “broad spectrum” herb: it can be used for an incredible variety of ailments.
This article is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe, cure, or take any action or activity from a medical perspective, and is provided for informational purposes only. Prior to utilizing any information consult with your licensed family physician for permission and approval.
Garlic has notable effects against bacteria, viruses, and funguses. The herb also has proven, documented hypocholesterolemic action (it lowers cholesterol). The mechanism of action is not fully understood. The constituent is allicin. Its actions are for prevention and treatment of Atherosclerosis, by: 1. Decreasing excess lipids, 2. Prevention of thrombus (clot) formation. Allicin reduces arterial cell lipid content and prevents intracellular accumulation of lipids.
Many times a false impression has been given that allicin is not present for long after the garlic has been chopped or sliced. I have found that the best forms of garlic (if not raw cloves) are the chopped cloves that you can buy in the grocery store. The only drawback is that once the jar is opened, it must be refrigerated. The garlic sold in this manner is preserved in a water-solution, and the allicin content is maintained.
Clinical studies regarding the cholesterol situation found LDL’s (Low-Density Lipids: the harmful element) decreased by 4-15%, and HDL’s (the “good guys”) increased up to 22%. Most people are able to incorporate garlic into their daily diet. The study’s numbers bespeak of efficiency when you consider that (flatus or acidity aside) garlic has no drastic caveats and it is both readily available and affordable.
One should always follow the least invasive procedure whenever possible. Daily intake should be 4 grams fresh, or 8 mg essential oil. One (1) fresh clove 1-2 times daily with a meal should prove beneficial. The only major considerations are with risk of bleeding with elective (non-emergency) surgery, and for people using medication for clotting. Don’t use garlic ten (10) days prior to a surgical procedure. Regarding actions for people using coagulants, garlic is a blood-thinner; therefore, it is necessary to check with your physician prior to using it to make sure it doesn’t offset the medications prescribed to you.
Garlic is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. The herb is available in capsule or tablet form in just about every grocery store, health food concern, and your Wal-Marts and Targets. In addition to the chopped form mentioned earlier, you can purchase it as a solid or aqueous extract in your health food concerns. Daily dosage is up to 8 mg essential oil.
When taking garlic it should be consumed with a meal, as it is a powerful herb that can cause some stomach irritation if taken by itself. Dried and/or powered garlic is also quite useful and is readily stored in a simple manner. The only consideration there is that it will tend (especially if powdered) to absorb moisture. Should this happen, crush up the garlic as best you can and either stick it in your dehydrator or in your oven at 160 – 170 degrees F for about 15 – 20 minutes to dry it out.
We’re going to discuss how to produce it on your homestead in the next part of this series. We’ll cover some of the basic types and the growing seasons, as well as some more techniques to store your garlic. Until then, have a great day!
 Dr. Janicke, Christof. “PDR for Herbal Medicines, 3rd Ed.” Thomson PDR, Montvale, NJ 2004. ISBN:
1-56363-512-7, p 346.
 “PDR for Herbal Medicines,” 3rd Ed., Thomson PDR, Montvale, NJ 2004. ISBN: 1-56363-512-7, p 346.
 Ibid., p 346.