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Everyday Herbals | Medicinal Uses for Garlic

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Garlic (Allium sativum)

Brief History

Garlic has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments such as digestive problems, worms, and respiratory infections.

Interestingly, there is some evidence that Greek Olympians were fed garlic to increase stamina.

Can you even imagine how strongly those ancient Olympians reeked? Ew!

Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine suggest consuming garlic to improve respiration and digestion as well as to treat parasites.

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Present Uses

Garlic is one of the world’s most popular herbs, for both dietary and medicinal use.

In rural areas of Central America, garlic is used to treat everything from wounds to fungal, viral, and bacterial infections.

For this reason, my Honduran husband has a strong aversion to garlic. I suppose being forced to consume large amounts of garlic as a child would deter me from it as well!

To keep your husband happy, try an odorless garlic supplement like this one.

How does it work?

We know that different compounds found in garlic do different things but the mechanism of action of all of garlic’s components is not fully understood. The main medicinal ingredient in garlic is called allicin.

Nevertheless, it is clear that garlic works as a medicine; sales of garlic preparations in some Western countries are comparable to prescription drug sales.

What does it do?

  • helps lower cholesterol
  • boosts immune system
  • maintains antioxidant levels
  • treats viral infections such as colds
  • may protect against heavy metal accumulation
  • may help treat depression

Notable Qualities

  • antiviral
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • anti-parasitic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-protozoal 
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It is best to wait five minutes after chopping or crushing garlic in order to transform the phytonutrient alliin into allicin. This unlocks many of garlic’s medicinal benefits.

How is it administered?

  • eaten fresh or dried
  • powdered
  • canned
  • in a tincture
  • brewed as a tea or decoction
  • in capsules or tablets
  • in an essential oil or extract

What are the side effects?

Garlic is generally well tolerated but can cause problems for:

  • women suffering from hot flashes
  • breastfeeding women (garlic may cause colic in breastfed infants)
  • those sensitive to spicy foods
  • those taking anticoagulant medication such as Warfarin

Summary: Garlic is one of the world’s most popular herbs with a long history of medicinal and culinary use. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties. The main medicinal component in garlic is allicin.

How do YOU use garlic as medicine? Let us know in the comments below!

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Much Love, many Blessings, Jesus is Lord.

Works Cited

Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014, January). Garlic: A Review of Potential Therapeutic Effects. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from

Smith, M. D. (2014, October). Medicinal Foods: Garlic and Ginger. Geismar . Retrieved September 10, 2021, from

Starbuck, J. (2000). GARLIC Powerful (pungent) medicine. Geismar. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from

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