By Darrell Miller

Garlic is an herb of universal significance. It has been a prized ingredient in cuisines of virtually every single culture around the world, and highly regarded as an age-old herbal remedy. As a matter of fact, scholars and scientists alike are having problem tracing its origins as its cultivars have been well domesticated around the world since time immemorial. In recent years, studies have looked into a number of its purported health benefits, including its potential value against cancer.

Earliest records show that garlic has been cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses since the ancient times. It is one of the few plants that are recorded in both the Bible and the Talmud. All the prominent physicians in Classical Antiquity like Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Galen, and Pliny the Older have made detailed mentions of its use in treatment of diseases of the four humors, an early explanation of the human body adapted by Greco-Roman naturalists. Today garlic is reputed as a good source of micronutrients, including an assortment of vitamins and minerals.

Protecting Cellular Health

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Raw garlic is rich in phytochemicals that display antioxidant properties, such as Vitamin C, known to aid the body against oxidative stress. Free radicals are released throughout the body to combat pathogenic microbes and other invasive stimuli, but themselves become a threat in large numbers, triggering the process called oxidative stress that damages healthy cells. Even consumptions of cooked garlic have shown activities that contribute to curbing excessive releases of free radicals, reining in their effects at the molecular level.

Regulating Blood Sugar

The use of garlic to reduce high blood glucose levels has long been publicized. Garlic contains naturally occurring chemical compounds that are necessitated during the conversion of glycogen into glucose and its consequent release into the bloodstream. Glucose is transported from the liver or intestines to cells of all body parts as it is the primary energy source of the human body, and ultimately absorbed by the cells with the aid of the hormone insulin. Diet may increase the risk of acquiring conditions related to unhealthy sugar levels in the body such as diabetes mellitus. Fortunately, intake of garlic products counters the underlying factors of diabetes.

Lowering Bad Cholesterol

It has been widely observed that those regions with populations known for regular intake of garlic in any forms have low incidence of diseases related to high levels of cholesterol. The scientific community remains inconclusive as to how garlic exactly help the human body lower cholesterol, but studies that involved patients diagnosed with high blood cholesterol have reported that garlic acts as an inhibitory factor in the aggregation of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream and the formation of plaques in the arterial walls.

In addition, garlic has been known for its antiseptic properties, relieving illnesses brought about by bacteria, viruses, and protozoans such as the contraction of the common cold and sore throat. Having no known side effects, garlic has an unending list of health benefits just waiting for scientific confirmation.

Good quality garlic found at your health food store will mention allicin on its label. Allicin is the active ingredient and is what causes that garlic odor that normally accompanies this wonderful herb. Look for it in odorless form for easy of use.

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