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Garlic Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Garlic?

This root herb plant is grown for its underground root or bulb.it belongs within the family of Alliaceae, in the genus, Allium; and scientifically known as Allium sativum.. Fully-grown plant reaches about 50 to 60 cm in height and bears underground bulbous root containing about 8-20 bulblets known as cloves. The whole bulb itself is encased within several layers of white or mauve-tinged, papery-thin coverings.There are different varieties exist from extra-large elephant garlic to small sized solo garlic. Allium oleraceum or field-garlic is a wild, tall variety commonly grown in the United Kingdom.Unlike in onion, garlic flowers are sterile and therefore do not produce seeds. New plants generally are grown from implanting the individual sections of the bulb.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Anti cancer: The regular intake of garlic reduces the risk of colon, stomach and esophageal cancer. It aids in reducing the production of carcinogenic compounds, and also reduces the occurrence of tumors associated with breast cancer.

Helps in Digestion: Daily inclusion of garlic in your diet aids in eliminating any digestive problems. The herb assists in the normal functioning of the intestines for good digestion. Even swelling or irritation of the gastric canal may be rectified with garlic as a treatment.

Helps fight Acne: Garlic can be used, along with other ingredients like honey, cream and turmeric, to treat acne scars and prevent the initial development of acne. Garlic acts as a cleanser and an antibiotic substance for soothing skin rashes.

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Sexual rejuvenator: Garlic has certain aphrodisiac properties, so this helpful herb can be utilized as an effectual sex rejuvenator. The health benefits of garlic are further known to enhance the libido of both men and women. People who overindulge in sexual activities should consume garlic in their diet or in supplemental form to protect themselves from nervous fatigue

Good for skin and hair: The invigorating properties of garlic protect the skin from the effect of free radicals and slow down the depletion of collagen which leads to loss of elasticity in aging skin. Applied topically, garlic does wonders to skin infected with fungal infections and provides relief from skin ailments like eczema. It is also an effective remedy for fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworms.All of us know about the wonders of onion for hair but its brother, garlic is no less of a hero for your thinning mane. Well, its surprise time. Rubbing crushed garlic extract on your scalp or massaging with garlic-infused oil is known to prevent and even reverse hair loss.

Eye Care:  Garlic is rich in nutrients like Selenium, Quercetin and Vitamin C, all of which help treat eye infections and swelling.

Ear Aches: Garlic is commonly used for curing ear aches, as it has several antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic properties. Its oil can be made at home by squeezing the juice of its cloves and adding it to olive oil. The mixture should be kept at room temperature for a few days, but shouldn’t be saved indefinitely, if made at home.

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Intestinal Problems: Garlic clears up most intestinal problems like dysentery, diarrhea and colitis. Its role in dispelling worms is phenomenal. It does not affect the functioning of useful organisms in the intestine, which aid in digestion, but it does destroy the harmful bacteria present in the intestines.

Cold: Raw garlic is used to treat colds and coughs. At the very onset of a cold, you should eat at least two crushed cloves of it, which will thereby help in lessening the severity of your cold.

Infected Wounds: Garlic can be placed on infected wounds as an herbal treatment. It should be mixed with three drops of water, rather than using it in raw form, as the undiluted juice can irritate the skin

Diabetes: Diabetes can harm the kidneys, inhibit nervous system functions, cause heart disorders, and even lead to poor eyesight. The oil extracted from garlic may protect diabetic patients from these side effects.

High Cholesterol Levels:  Of the two kinds of cholesterol –LDL and HDL, the former is bad for human health. Garlic, rich in the allicin compound, effectively prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. All those who have high cholesterol levels should include this herb in their daily diet.

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Hypertension: Garlic is an herbal ingredient for curing hypertension. When exposed to high levels of pressure, the allicin present in it relaxes the blood vessels. It also fights against thrombosis by reducing platelet aggregation.

Uses of Garlic

  • Garlic oil has been used as a local applicant for “ring worm” (fungal dermatitis) infection of skin.
  • In the modern medicine, this exotic herb is advised as health benefiting food for its anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and immune boosting and cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • Garlic herb has been used as a remedy for cold, cough, bronchitis, etc.
  • Both cloves as well as tender green tops of garlic plant are used in a variety of recipes, especially as seasoning/garnishing.
  • Tender garlic tops are used like vegetables just like scallions and chives along with vegetables, eggs in some recipe preparations in East Asian countries.
  • Garlic is one of the common ingredients employed to enhance the flavor of vegetable, meat, and seafood preparations.
  • The cloves also been used in the preparation of seasonal soups, chutney, and sauces.
  • Its cloves are added to give a spicy pungent flavor to the preparations like breads, toast and Bruschetta (grilled bread slices rubbed with garlic paste with toppings such as olive oil, pepper, tomato, cheese, meat…etc.).