Health

Garlic – The Wonder Antibiotic

Who among us hasn’t taken antibiotics at one point or another in our lives? We all have taken the route of antibiotics to counter superbugs. In fact, we have become too dependent on antibiotics to even cure some of the simplest of ailments. This would make a lot of sense if there was no natural alternative that could be used in place of these powerful drugs. The matter fact is that there is a very simple natural replacement to antibiotic drugs and it has been used for centuries in many parts of the world.

Garlic – The Natural Antibiotic

We are talking about GARLIC. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Its ability to fight harmful bacteria and infections is well documented through hundreds of studies. Belonging to the onion family, garlic is a perennial plant which originated in Central Asia. It is now grown and found throughout the world. The bulb of the garlic has been traditional used for medicinal purposes. In World War II, soldiers used garlic in their wounds to prevent gangrene. Gravediggers, in 18th century France, used it to prevent themselves from plague.

Many powerful antibiotic drugs fail against superbugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci). On the other hand, recent studies have shown that garlic is potent against MRSA and VRE. The reason behind this is an important chemical found in garlic called as Allicin.

Allicin – The Wonder Chemical

Garlic is rich in Allicin, and it is allicin that is responsible for many of garlic’s medicinal properties and its distinct strong smell. Allicin is released when garlic is crushed, chopped or chewed. On the other hand, heating deactivates allicin. Hence, cooking (heating) negates the effect allicin. Also, allicin is found is very small traces, if any, in commercially made garlic powder.

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How Garlic Works

The exact mechanism of how garlic acts as an antibiotic is not known yet, but there are many studies that prove without an iota of doubt the antibiotic characteristics of garlic. Some of the theories floating around about garlic antibiotic characteristics are:

  • Allicin interferes with bacterial metabolism and enzymes
  • Our immune response is enhanced as a result of consuming garlic, which strengthens our body’s ability to fight infections
  • Garlic interferes and disrupts the ability of bacteria to stick to one another
  • Garlic results in the increase immune white blood cells that are responsible for killing off intruding cells

Irrespective of the lack of know-how about the exact mechanism, “garlic is a natural antibiotic” is a proven fact. It is found to be effective against bacterial infections, viral infection, fungal infections and parasites.

Advantage of Garlic over Conventional Antibiotics

The main reason garlic is better when a compared to conventional antibiotic drug is antibiotic resistance. When taken over a period of time, our body develops a resistance to antibiotic drugs. Each time it is taken, the ability of antibiotic drugs to kill bacteria is reduced. The bacteria that are not killed multiply and spread, and the next time the antibiotic drugs are taken, they are literally ineffective against the bacteria. This problem becomes even more aggravated against bacteria that difficult to kill such as MRSA. On the other hand, garlic is not affected by this problem as their no resistance built up against it. That garlic, no matter how many times garlic is taken, its effectiveness against bacteria is not hindered.

Also, garlic is effective against a wide range of bacteria unlike antibiotic drugs that are only effective against certain kind of bacteria. As already mentioned, garlic also is highly effective against viruses, parasites and fungi.

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Caution!

Well, garlic is a great antibiotic but it is best to take expert opinion from your doctor before using it for its antibiotic purposes. Also, when a particular bacteria, virus or parasite is identified, the most effective way to attack it is to treat with drugs that specifically target them. That being said, most doctors today encourage use of garlic as an antibiotic. Hence, if you have a thumbs up from your doctors, garlic is a great natural replacement for antibiotic drugs.

Mistakes to be Avoided

When using garlic as an antibiotic, care should be taken to ensure that the following mistakes are avoided:

  • Avoid cooked garlic: As mentioned, cooking (heating) deactivates allicin and hence eliminates the antibiotic characteristics of garlic
  • Avoid consumption in pill form: In order to avoid the strong taste and smell, most people use garlic pills. This is ineffective as garlic needs to be taken raw and crushed in order to enjoy its antibiotic effects.
  • Avoid old garlic: Garlic must be consumed fresh. Those that are old and are not fresh do not have the same effects of fresh garlic.
  • Avoid taking too little: Taking too little won’t be of much help. If you are choosing garlic as a replacement for antibiotics, then it is necessary to be generous with amount of garlic.

 

H/T: Health Ambition, Garlic Central, ACS, Healthy and Natural World

Photo Credits: Authority Nutrition, Sweat.com, Food Network

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