Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a characteristic pungent ''hot'' flavour that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.
From the earliest of times garlic has been used as food and for seasoning. It formed part of the food of the Israelites (Num,11:9) and of the labourers employed by khufu to construct the pyramid early in the 20th century. It was sometimes used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Decocted garlic extracts that are left overnight are very effective in healing wounds.
In 1958, Louis Pasteur observed garlic''s antibacterial activity and it was sued as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.
In modern naturopathy, garlic is used as a treatment for intestinal worms and intestinal parasites, both orally and as anal suppository. Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorder, and fungal infections such as thrush. Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and improve immune system.
A BBC news story reported that Allium sativum may have beneficial properties such as preventing and fighting the common cold. This assertion has the backing of long tradition. Traditional British herbalism used garlic hoarseness coughs both as syrup and in a slave made of garlic and lard, which was rubbed on the chest and back. The Cherokee also use it as an expectorant for coughs and croups.
Garlic has been found to reduce platelet aggregation and hyperlipidemia.
Garlic helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood homocyteine levels and has shown to prevent some complications of diabetes mellitus. People taking insulin should not consume medicinal amounts of garlic without consulting a physician.
Allium sativum may also posses cancer fighting properties due to the presence of allylic sulphur compounds such as daillyl disulphide (DADs) believed to be an anticorcinogen.
More recently, it has been found from a clinical trial that a mouthwash containing 2.5% of fresh garlic shows good antimicrobial activity, although majority of the participants reported an unpleasant taste and halitosis..
In poultry farming, the addition of 3-5% garlic (chips or extract) to the feed is used for the prevention of mycosis in animals. In veterinary practice, garlic extract is used for treatment of infected wounds in calves and for promotion of wound healing. In India, a garlic preparation is used for scubies in pigs. References: Bragg Heathy lifestyle by NetLibrary,lnc,Paul chappius Bragg (published 2004) Chinese Traditional Herbal medicine by Micheal Tierra,leslay Tierra(published 1998) page 279 Major Herbs Ayurveda by Elizabeth williamson (published 2002) page 33 Naturopathy for self healing:Nutrition,life-style,Herbs,Homeopathy by Robbin Needes(published 2002)