The first time I had raw garlic, I was making a homeopathic tincture for strep throat. The concoction was completely rancid: raw garlic, cayenne pepper, and local honey delivered by spoon every few hours. I was sure I’d be in urgent care by morning.
Instead, the strep was gone. Twenty-four hours later. So I looked into this miracle, and discovered the whole thing worked as a 1-2-3 punch. The honey coated my throat while the cayenne pepper drew blood to it. Then, the garlic stimulated my immune system to do its thing. And voila.
But garlic can’t deliver that kind of a knockout blow to bacteria, can it?
Turns out, yes it can—and those in the know have been harnessing garlic’s powers since ancient Egypt (although it's been doing its thing since long before that).
Here are seven of the most amazing health benefits of the plant. And remember: Individual results may vary, and you should always consult your doctor before trying a new medicine, treatment, or otherwise making a decision when it comes to your health.
Raw garlic is antibacterial and antiviral
Garlic has an illustrious history of fighting infection and disease.
Eighteenth-century French Gravediggers crushed garlic in wine and downed the liquid to deter the plague. It’s even the stuff that keeps vampires at bay.
Seriously. The plague. Vampires!
Raw garlic is used in homeopathic treatments for everything from strep throat (ahem) to ear infections and gum disease. One study even discovered that daily doses of garlic lowered a person’s number of colds by 63 percent. This member of the onion family has been found to be as much as 100 times as effective as antibiotics at combatting Campylobacter bacterium, which is one of the most common causes for intestinal illness.
Raw garlic lowers blood pressure
Multiple studies have found that garlic is more effective than prescribed medication in lowering blood pressure because of its polysulfides, which widen blood vessels to lower the pressure.
Raw garlic is an anti-inflammatory
The compound allicin appears in high levels in garlic, making it an excellent anti-inflammatory. Just crush it up, let it sit for 10 minutes, and get it in you by itself or mixed into other food like honey, salad or stir fry. Just don’t cook it—heating garlic up destroys many of its benefits.
Raw garlic may lower your risk of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is triggered by a lowered insulin sensitivity, which—you guessed it—raw garlic reverses in some cases. For those already afflicted with diabetes, there’s still good news. Garlic can regulate blood-sugar levels, which can be a great help in doing away with complications from the disease.
Raw garlic may kill cancer cells
Garlic is loaded with bioactive sulfur compounds, which are thought to devastate the formation of cancer cells. For example, some studies suggest that consuming garlic twice weekly significantly reduces rates of lung cancer.
Raw garlic may lower bad cholesterol
Less than half a clove daily of raw garlic can drop your cholesterol levels by up to 12 percent.
Eating 10 grams of raw garlic every day dramatically cuts cholesterol levels. Raw garlic also provides a healthy boost to HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
Raw garlic may prevent strokes
Garlic helps to lower your risk of blood clot-related issues by thinning your blood and reducing fatty deposits.
Raw garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow
Garlic grows in every climate and is virtually pest-resistant. To plant, find a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Separate a head of garlic and plant the individual cloves root-down, with the top of each clove just barely covered with dirt. Space the cloves about a fist apart, and enjoy your own homegrown garlic.
Effortless to grow and easy to store, you’ll be well on your way to combating vampires and staving off just about every illness out there.