According to the New York Times, most Americans consume, on average, two pounds of garlic each year, while in countries like Italy and China, each person is said to consume somewhere between eight and twelve cloves a day.
People not only eat garlic because it’s a delicious addition to any number of culinary dishes but also because of its health benefits. And it’s been that way for centuries!
Some may be unaware that garlic has so many amazing health-giving qualities.
History of Medicinal Garlic
Garlic cloves have been used as a medicine in many different cultures throughout time for a variety of things. Some cultures considered garlic a spiritual plant, like the Egyptians, who saw it as sacred. Legend has it their priestesses worshipped it and never ate the cloves themselves. Others forbid this pungent plant from entering sacred grounds like the Greeks. In fact, Greeks wishing to enter the temple of Cybele had to pass a garlic breath test.
Its therapeutic roots likely stem much farther back than what’s been documented. But we have Egyptian medical text from 1500 BC describing its use in 22 treatments. It was also found in King Tut's tomb.
The Assyrians used it to pack into their cavities, and the Greek founder of modern medicine, Hippocrates himself, prescribed it for treating respiratory conditions and healing wounds around 460 BC. And both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine texts describe using it for treating infections and balancing digestion, which it is still used for today.
Garlic Health Benefits
Through scientific research, we know that it’s garlic’s sulfur compounds that are responsible for its therapeutic properties. Sulfur stimulates collagen synthesis. And it has been shown to be among the most effective in treating a wide range of illnesses.
Several studies highlight the chemical components of garlic as being useful in treating conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, among many others. Its antibacterial and antiviral activities and capacity to reduce inflammation throughout the body are among its most impressive characteristics. These attributes are especially important for the skin, the immune system, and also the gut.
Garlic helps reduce bacterial overgrowth so well that it’s considered a natural antibiotic. However, unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, this natural antibiotic does not eliminate all the good bacteria in your body. It's actually quite gut-friendly. Not only does garlic let the good guys live to fight another day, but it actually feeds them, too, as a prebiotic.
Further, garlic has been shown to fight some of the toughest bacteria, including drug-resistant types of bacteria and viruses like E. coli and strains of staph and strep. And these guys are often the source of skin infections.
Garlic’s rich antioxidants also improve immune system function by stimulating specific cell types such as macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. And it helps with the absorption of zinc, which is vital for the immune system.
The antioxidants in garlic also limit the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and help clear disease-causing free radicles from the body. One way that you can incorporate more garlic into your day-to-day life is by making simple garlic water.
How to Make Garlic Water
To make garlic water, all you have to do is:
- Peel one clove of garlic
- Add it to the blender with 16 ounces of fresh water
- Squeeze in at least half of a lemon, but you can use the whole thing if you want
The Benefit of Garlic Water in the Morning
A good rule of thumb to help you get the most out of this garlic water recipe is to drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The reason is that overnight, our body goes through a cleaning cycle, gathering toxins and preparing them for elimination. Drinking garlic water first thing in the morning can help flush these built-up toxins from the body.
Caution should be taken with this garlic water preparation. Drinking garlic water can cause a little bit of nausea for some people. The reason is that garlic is so efficient at killing bacteria that sometimes too many are killed at once, causing something known as “die-off”.
When bacteria are killed, they release toxins. This can make you feel nauseous. This is especially common in individuals with gut issues like bloating and SIBO. To avoid this, start slow. Over time, you can slowly increase the amount of garlic water you drink.
Drinking garlic water daily has a number of health benefits like:
- A stronger immune system
- A balanced microbiome
- Overall reduction in bacteria
- Cleaner skin
- Less inflammation in the body
- A cleaner lymphatic system
- A properly functioning liver
- Better overall health
Garlic is an incredible medicinal food. And because of its unique therapeutic qualities, it is an excellent complement to your skincare routine. And you really can’t get any cheaper than this remedy! You can buy whole garlic cloves for pennies on the dollar or even grow your own. Give it a shot. But then, come back here and let us know how this garlic water recipe worked for you. You know how much we love those comments!