Food is medicine part 8

Raise your hand if you like garlic?

You can’t see me from where you are sitting reading this, but I am over here frantically waving my hands around!

We all know garlic is delicious right? But do you also know that is has many health benefits as well?

In Chinese medicine, we will use garlic often in cooking to enhance flavor with its pungent and spicy qualities. Medicinally, we will use it to kill intestinal parasites, use it topically and orally to expel toxins from the body.

Garlic is a vermifuge.

Meaning it is used to treat intestinal worms in humans and animals.

Garlic is also great for digestion (everything in moderation though). It is a carminative herb, which means it can help with stagnant digestion symptoms like bloating, gas and constipation. Garlic contains inulin which is an important prebiotic (this helps the flora of the large intestine), disrupted gut flora is linked to many health concerns such as inflammatory bowel disease, hormone imbalances, weight gain, and more!

Garlic has antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-viral properties and has been used for a long time as a medicinal herb for infections. Garlic poultices (externally applied garlic) were used during the plague in Europe and on soldiers during World War I.

A fascinating trait of garlic for use as an antibiotic is that while pharmaceutical antibiotics wipe out any and all bacteria from the body, garlic not only kills any “bad” microorganisms in your body but it’s also stimulates your immune system (and you would need to take a ridiculously large amount for it to negatively affect the good bacteria).

Garlic has been used for centuries to ward off the common cold and flu.

In Chinese medicine, garlic connects to the lung meridian, meaning for certain lung ailments (like cold, pneumonia, bronchitis etc.) garlic can be very useful.

Fun fact: while travelling around India in 2009, I would carry around a clove of garlic to consume a raw bulb before each meal.

Did you know? You can also eat the flowering stalks of garlic, the scapes. These are great for stir-fry’s and pesto’s, slightly less garlic flavor but nice and aromatic. YUM!

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