Garlic (Allium sativa) has been celebrated for thousands of years for its many health-promoting properties, including potent antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal capabilities. In 1858, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur observed that bacteria did not survive after being treated with garlic.
Especially during the winter months, the flu can swiftly come on and put a huge dent in your plans. Fortunately, garlic may be the ideal natural winter cold and flu prevention strategy you seek.
A 2011 study performed at Washington University found that garlic had 100 times the potency of two leading antibiotics in fighting Campylobacter bacteria, a common source of food-bourne illness. The researchers found that the diallyl sulfide in the garlic penetrated the bacteria’s protective biofilm easily. This is very exciting, especially in our modern age of concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
However, as we know, both colds and flus are the work of viruses, not bacteria. Fear not: garlic shows immense promise against viruses as well. Regarding the antimicrobial properties of garlic (“microbe” encompasses all microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi), the Washington State researchers wrote:
“The antimicrobial effect of garlic is attributed primarily to organosulfur compounds such as allicin, ajoene, and diallyl sulfides. However, others have demonstrated that the contribution of antimicrobial properties is also from phenolic compounds.”
The authors of another study, published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, wrote, “garlic has a wide spectrum of actions; not only is it antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal, but it also has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems.”
The allicin found in garlic has been found to help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and reduce atherosclerosis, the hardening of artery walls. Garlic has also been linked to stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing yeast infections. Raw, crushed garlic can be applied topically to wounds to help prevent infection. Garlic has also been linked to anticarcinogenic properties.
For maximum allicin content, crush cloves of raw, organic garlic, and let sit for about ten minutes before using. Next time you feel a cold or flu coming on, or better yet, on a daily basis, get your garlic on! There does not seem to be much that this amazing bulb can’t do.
-The Alternative Daily