Garlic has been recommended by herbalists as a natural health remedy for catarrh for hundreds of years. Catarrh is excess mucus that the body produces as a result of inflammation in the nose and throat in response to a cold virus or hay fever which is known as allergic rhinitis.
Normally catarrh lasts only a few days while the body fights off the infection but in some cases it becomes chronic and results in headache, cough and blocked sinuses. While decongestant over the counter drugs can be used in the short term they can cause rebound catarrh when used excessively so garlic is a good natural alternative.
Garlic, a member of the allium family of vegetables, is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. We have been consuming garlic since Greek and Roman times for both for its strong taste and for its assumed benefits as a Natural Health Remedy. But reliable scientific studies have proven it has a significant number of health benefits.
Here are some of its known benefits:
- can detox toxic metals – metals attach to the sulfur compounds and are eliminated
- garlic sulfur compounds helps the liver break down cancer causing chemicals
- lowers blood pressure a little.
- lowers LDL Cholesterol (the bad stuff) a little.
- helps reduce build up of arterial plaque
- lowers or helps to regulate blood sugar.
- helps to prevent blood clots from forming, thus reducing the possibility of strokes and thromboses.
- helps to prevent cancer, especially of the digestive system, prevents certain tumors from growing larger and reduces the size of certain tumors.
- is a potent natural antibiotic if used raw and can still kill some strains of bacteria that have become immune or resistant to modern antibiotics.
- has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
- dramatically reduce yeast infections due to Candida species.
- has anti-oxidant properties and is a source of selenium.
So, what is it about garlic that makes it such a boon to our health?
When cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulfur-bearing compound called allicin – the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it’s the allicin that scientists have discovered is the magic ingredient thought to be responsible for garlic’s therapeutic qualities. Allicin is a very small molecule and can penetrate the cell wall. In effect. It prevents bacteria using the protein and enzymes they need to reproduce.
The famous American Herbalist John Christopher recommended placing a clove of garlic on each side of the mouth between the teeth and cheek at the first sign of a cold for it’s antiviral effect. The cold should disappear within a few hours or within a day avoiding the troublesome catarrh.
David Roser, director of the Garlic Research Bureau, claims that raw garlic will fix the most intransigent catarrh within a few hours. Add a clove or two to a salad. The finer the chopping and the more intensive the crushing, the more allicin is generated and the stronger the medicinal effect.
Allicin starts to degrade immediately after it is produced and its effectiveness decreases over time. Cooking speeds up this degradation and microwaving will totally destroy allicin. So for the most powerful medicinal effect on your catarrh as well as for other health benefits crush a little raw garlic and combine with the cooked food shortly before serving. But don’t overdo it. Garlic can irritate the digestive system in some sensitive individuals.
Cooked garlic is less powerful but is still beneficial. It has been suggested that organically grown garlic tends towards a higher sulfur levels which may be more beneficial. Some people prefer to take garlic supplements to avoid garlic breath. But for catarrh there is no finer Natural Health Remedy than garlic.