As well as being a very tasty addition to many meals, Garlic has been well known for centuries for its medicinal properties. In fact, so revered was Garlic, that our ancestors were often buried with it, to accompany their spirit on its journey into the next world. Cloves of garlic have been found in Pharaohs’ tombs, the Romans celebrated the healing powers of garlic and the army leaders of Ancient Greece fed their army with garlic before major battles with the renowned 1st century Greek physician, Galen, calling it ' Theriac', which translates as ‘heal all’
More recently, Garlic was used as an antiseptic during the 1st World War, and it is reported that in 1916 the Government asked the public to grow as much garlic as possible, offering one shilling for every lb that could be produced. UK herbalists have been writing about the positive effects of garlic since the 16th century, although it was a love hate relationship at times - the smell was hated but the effects were respected.
One of the first medicines that I made, over 25 years ago, was Echinacea and Elderflower. This mixture was made up for an outbreak of flu that hit one of the schools in Edinburgh. I made up the mixture for one child who was brought in to see me, and it worked so well that, before the week was out, we had seen half the class! I made the herbal mix up in batches and it became one of our best selling products.
You can buy Echinacea and Elderflower from our online shop, here: http://www.deeatkinson.net/d-atkinson-echinacea-elderflower-100ml/cat/0/sub/0/subcat/0/product/949
As so often happens with herbs, research validates the ancient uses and Garlic is just one of a long list of herbs that has got the research world excited. For example, researchers at Washington State University have found that a compound in garlic is one hundred times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, one of the most common causes of intestinal illness (1). Garlic has been shown to produce modest reductions in total cholesterol levels (2) and one study suggested that 200mg of garlic powder three times daily reduced blood pressure (3).
I have always been a huge fan of garlic and encourage my patients to take garlic all through the winter months. I’ve also always wanted to go to a garlic festival, such as The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, which takes place every August http://www.garlic-festival.co.uk/
Here’s a top tip: at the first sign of a cold, take a clove of raw garlic, chop it up finely and swallow a teaspoon full down with a glass of water before your evening meal. This can often stop a cold from developing.
(1) Xiaonan Lu, Derrick R. Samuelson, Barbara A. Rasco and Michael E. Konkel
Antimicrobial effect of diallyl sulphide onCampylobacter jejuni biofilms in The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
(2) Reinhart KM, Talati R, White CM and Coleman CI. The impact of garlic on lipid parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis in Nutr Res Rev. 2009 Jun;22(1):39-48.
(3) Sarah N Stabler,Aaron M Tejani,Fong Huynhand Claire Fowkes. Garlic for the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients.