Much has been written about how to use garlic as a natural antibiotic and the fact that many people opt for this superfood when it comes to getting rid of an infection or disease. You can use it to make a natural syrup for chest infections and furthermore, garlic can be used to reduce the risk of lung cancer. But if you want to use garlic as a medicinal remedy, it’s important to know how to use it correctly. Otherwise, your health benefits are limited, and you may not get the positive results you’re looking for. Keep reading to learn the mistakes you should avoid when using it as a medical remedy.
Common mistakes made when using garlic as a medicinal remedy
If you are trying to use garlic as a natural medicine, you need to avoid a number of common mistakes.
Mistake # 1 – Using cooked garlic
Cooking garlic is completely acceptable if it’s used to season food. However, cooking destroys the active ingredient: allicin. Allicin is one of the compounds found in garlic that contain sulfur, which are collectively known as thiosulfinates. Allicin is active when chewed raw, chopped or crushed. But it is deactivated by heat, which is why cooking it decreases its healing potential and should be avoided.
Tips to preserve the maximum healing benefits of garlic
- Crush the garlic before cooking.
- Then wait 10 minutes before cooking to maximize health benefits. Leaving the crushed garlic at rest for 10 minutes before cooking improves allicin formation, ensures maximum synthesis of allicin, and also makes it more stable and resistant to the heat of cooking.
- Then, cook on low or medium heat for a short period of time (add it towards the end of the cooking time).
Mistake # 2 – Consuming garlic in pill form
To avoid the powerful smell and taste, some people choose to take garlic tablets instead. As is often the case, the easiest way doesn’t work very well. As mentioned above, to activate its powerful compound, you need to ingest it raw and crushed. No pill, powder or dry form can match the therapeutic potential of garlic in its natural state.
The odor of phosphorus gas disappears when garlic is dried, processed or cooked, but so do some of the health benefits. Dry garlic retains anti-oxidant properties and can help fight free radicals, but never to the same extent as it does in its raw state. If you can’t stand it raw, just remember that it has been shown that chewing it can be as effective as penicillin in some cases.
Mistake # 3 – Using garlic that is on the old side
Make sure the garlic heads you buy are fresh and not very old. Fresh garlic has a green strip that extends through the middle of the cloves. As always, organic garlic is by far the healthiest choice.
Mistake # 4 – Eating very little garlic
If you are committed to fighting infections naturally, you need to eat a generous serving of garlic. Just a small clove of garlic probably won’t do the job. As a therapeutic dose, two or three medium-sized cloves should be consumed per day. People with severe infections have reported chewing two to three cloves, twice a day.
Mistake # 5 – Forgetting to replenish the intestinal flora
Since garlic acts as an antibiotic, in large amounts it can affect intestinal flora and deplete good bacteria. As with other antibiotics, you need a good supply of probiotics to get your bowels back into balance. The best way to do this is by consuming fermented foods that contain many probiotics.
Some examples include natural yogurt, kombucha, miso and fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi). If you find it difficult to find real fermented food, you can buy probiotic supplements.
Mistake # 6 – Not eating a healthy diet
You can’t expect this great food to do all the work on its own. You also need to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle, and a diet that promotes the healing process. A diet rich in sugars and processed foods is counterproductive to the well-being of your immune system. Your efforts should be supported by foods that provide nourishment and protect your health: vegetables, fruits, probiotic foods, healthy oils, lean proteins and plenty of good quality water.
Tips for eating fresh garlic
We have established that the best way to consume garlic as an antibiotic is in its raw and fresh state. Not everyone enjoys its raw flavor, and consequently, some struggle to eat enough of this superfood. Herbalists David Winston and Merrily A. Kuhn, RN, PhD, suggest chopping the cloves of garlic and letting them stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, mix the garlic with the yogurt, applesauce, honey, or some other carrier that you find easier and tastier to take it.
A great tip to reduce the odor is eating some parsley afterwards to help control garlic breath.
Should raw garlic be eaten on an empty stomach?
It is sometimes recommended to chew the garlic first thing in the morning, before breakfast and even before you drink water (you may need a glass of water to relieve heartburn, especially if you are taking more than one clove). This regimen can provide good results.
However, keep in mind that for some people, raw garlic on an empty stomach can cause irritation in the digestive tract. A study published in 2005 in the American Family Physician noted a literature report suggesting that consumption of excessive amounts of this food in its raw state, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, flatulence, and changes in intestinal flora.
It is always advisable to start with small amounts and observe how your body reacts. This is also important because some people are allergic to garlic. They can develop a number of symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and different skin reactions.
People who do not tolerate it may still be able to consume it in small amounts, but their symptoms may appear when the dose is increased. However, in most people, the ingestion of garlic does not produce side effects.
The medicinal use of garlic has been known for more than 3000 years. Hippocrates prescribed it for the treatment of cervical cancer, and Albert Schweitzer used it to treat dysentery in Africa. This ancient antibiotic has the support of the scientific community and natural healers around the world.