Garlic has been used as food and medicine dating back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built.

It was more than fifteen years ago I met a man who told me his incredible garlic story.  Three doctors told him he would not live over two months.  In that case, he decided to travel and as he went through an Amish country his car broke down; not only did the Amish people repair his car; they also provided his remedy.  He said their remedy cured his many ailments and he outlived two of the doctors who had predicted his demise.  The third was amazed that he was still alive. The Amish recipe has been in my refrigerator ever since—partly because I like it!

            Garlic has been used as food and medicine dating back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built.  Soldiers were given garlic to prevent gangrene during both of the world wars.  Research has proven its value and today it is being used to help prevent heart disease, including hardening of the arteries, which is plaque buildup that can block the flow of blood and can lead to heart attack or stroke. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, stimulate insulin production, and to boost the immunity.

            The powerful sulfur compounds in garlic can kill and inhibit an astounding assortment of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, parasites and worms, frequently on contact.  They also work within the body’s vital systems, such as the circulatory, digestive, promote detoxification, cleansing, lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune function, and healing.   All in all, garlic helps promote good health.

            A doctor on Television claims that research at the University of Texas has shown garlic contains 60 cancer preventing chemicals. Garlic is rich in antioxidants which we hear so much about—mainly in promoting expensive supplements.  We are told that antioxidants slow the aging process.  Antioxidants work by destroying free radicals which can damage cell membranes and DNA.  Free radicals not only contribute to the aging process they also promote the development of other conditions including heart disease and cancer. 

         Not only is garlic one of the world’s most powerful antioxidants, it is right up there as an antibiotic which fights infection and bacteria.  It also helps open up clogged sinuses.

        When scientifically testing a drug, if it shows superiority over a placebo, then it is considered a good drug.  It seems that garlic passes the test in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  In a 2012 study from the Institute of Toxicology at Shandong University, researchers analyzed data from 26 well-designed clinical trials to evaluate the effects of garlic on cholesterol levels. Overall, the researchers found that garlic was more effective than placebo in reducing cholesterol. The authors noted that when compared to control groups, garlic significantly reduced both total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  There are many additional studies confirming that garlic in several forms can reduce cholesterol. The horrendous side effects of the statin drugs, widely used to lower cholesterol, would make garlic a first choice for a health conscious individual.

         Garlic has been called the stinking rose but it is more than just smelly.  In fact it is the allicin that causes garlic to smell that makes it one of the oldest medicinal plants, causing it to be recognized for its beneficial health properties.  Odorless supplements are lacking in much of the benefits.  Allicin is the part of the garlic that causes it’s odor and it also is the antibiotic, antioxidant, and the unclogger of sinuses.  Do away with the odor and you do away with much of the benefits. Of course, if we all eat it, who cares?  Chewing a sprig or three of parsley after each garlic dose is recommended to combat the lovely aroma of garlic breath!

I have long suspected that when I use my garlic mixture faithfully mosquitoes and chiggers leave me alone.  Last year I neglected my garlic and mosquitoes swarmed me whenever I went out late in the evenings.  When researching garlic, I found: “When you eat garlic, especially large quantities of it, an invisible layer of garlic oil seeps from your pores and creates a mosquito barrier.”

The garlic mixture that resides in my refrigerator is as follows:  Place in blender or food processor; 2 or 3 garlic cloves; 3 Tablespoons raw (Braggs) vinegar; 1 to 3 Tablespoons raw honey (I use manuka); about a half cup water.  Blend until garlic is liquid. I no longer measure these ingredients but that is the recipe given to me.  Because heat destroys beneficial properties, add to cooked or heated food just before eating, keeping the garlic mixture raw.  Two tablespoons per day is what my friend used to cure himself.  I like this mixture added to a hot mixture of half V8 juice and half water with a dab of Braggs Liquid Aminos, soups, beans, salads, meats, etc.  If I start to feel sick with flu or colds the V8 mixture is part of my first line of defense.

If you are looking for a pill to do all these good things for you, good luck.  It would be hard to find one to measure up to cheap, raw garlic, which is actually easy to grow in your yard or a pot.  I prefer the purple bulb, which is seasonal.

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at