I have written in the past on how to use garlic as a natural antibiotic and about the fact that many people opt for this humble gift of nature when trying to get over an infection or malady. You can use garlic to make a natural syrup for chest infections and in addition garlic can be used to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
BUT If you want garlic to do its job and preserve your health, it’s important to know how to use it properly. Otherwise, its health benefits are limited, and you might not get the positive results you’re looking for. if you are trying to use garlic as a natural medicine you need to avoid a number of common mistakes.
Common mistakes people make when using garlic in a medicinal way
Mistake #1 – using cooked garlic
Cooking garlic is completely acceptable if you are using it to spice up your food. However, cooking destroys the garlic’s active ingredient – allicin. Allicin is one of the sulfur-containing compounds found in garlic that are collectively known asthiosulfinates. Allicin gets activated when raw garlic is chewed, chopped or crushed. But, it gets deactivated by heat, so that is why cooking garlic lowers its healing potential and should be avoided.
Here is a great tip when cooking garlic to preserve its maximum healing benefits: Crush garlic, then wait 10 minutes before cooking to maximize health benefits. Allowing the crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before cooking further enhances formation of allicin, ensures the maximum synthesis of allicin, and also makes it more stable and resistant to the heat of cooking. Then cook it on low or medium heat for a short period of time (up to 15 minutes).
How to use garlic the right way: eat it row
Mistake #2 – taking garlic in a pill form
To avoid the smell and potent taste, some people decide to take garlic pills instead. As is often the case, the easy way doesn’t really work. As mentioned earlier, to activate the garlic’s healing compound, you need to ingest raw, crushed garlic. No pill, powder or dried form can match the therapeutic potential of garlic in its natural state.
The smelly phosphorus gas disappears when garlic is dried, processed or cooked, but so do some of the health benefits. Dried garlic retains anti-oxidant properties and can help fight free radicals – but never to the same extent as raw garlic does. If you struggle with raw garlic, just remind yourself that chewing it has been proven to be as effective as taking penicillin in some cases.
How to use garlic the right way: take garlic in its natural form
Mistake #3 – using old garlic that has lost its freshness
Make sure that the bulbs you get are fresh and haven’t been sitting around for a long time. Fresh garlic has a green strip that runs in the middle of the cloves. As always, organic garlic is by far the healthier option.
How to use garlic the right way: use fresh garlic
Mistake #4 – taking too little garlic
If you are committed to fighting infections the natural way, you’ll need to eat a generous helping of garlic. Just one small clove probably won’t do the trick. As a therapeutic dose, two to three cloves of average size should be consumed per day. People have reported getting through serious infections by chewing two to three cloves twice daily.
How to use garlic the right way: take enough garlic to reach a therapeutic dose
Mistake #5 – forgetting to replenish the stomach flora
Since garlic acts as an antibiotic, large quantities of it can affect the gut flora and deplete the friendly bacteria. As with other antibiotics, you need a good supply of probiotics to get your gut back into balance. The best way to do this is by consuming fermented foods that contain plenty of probiotics. Some examples include natural yoghurt, kombucha, miso and fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi). If you find it difficult to find real fermented food, you can buy probiotic supplements. Also read my article about 3 things you need to do after taking antibiotics to restore healthy intestinal flora.
How to use garlic the right way: take care of the stomach’s friendly bacteria
Mistake #6 – Not embracing a healthy diet
You can’t expect the garlic to do all the work on its own. You also need to adopt a generall healthy lifestyle, and a diet that will promote the healing process. A diet rich in sugars and processed foods is counterproductive to the well-being of your immune system. Your endeavors should be supported by foods that provide you with nourishment and protect your health: vegetables, fruits, probiotic foods, healthy oils, lean protein and plenty of good water.
How to use garlic the right way: embrace a healthy diet
Tips for Eating Fresh Garlic
We’ve established that the best way to consume garlic as an antibiotic is by eating it raw and fresh. Not everyone enjoys its pure taste. Consequently, some struggle to eat enough of it. Herbalists David Winston and Merrily A. Kuhn, RN, PhD, suggest mincing the cloves and letting them stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, mix the garlic with yoghurt, applesauce, honey, or some other carrier agent that you find easier and tastier to ingest.
Here is a great tip to reduce the smell of garlic: eat some parsley afterwards to help control garlic breath.
Should You Eat Raw Garlic On an Empty Stomach?
It is sometimes advised to chew garlic first thing in the morning, before breakfast, and even before having water (you might need a glass of water to alleviate the burns, especially if you’re taking more than one clove). This regimen has yielded good results.
However, keep in mind that, for some people, raw garlic on an empty stomach can cause irritation to the digestive tract. A study published in 2005 in the American Family Physician noted a report from the literature that suggested that consumption of excessive amounts of raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal upset, flatulence, and changes in the intestinal flora.
It’s always advisable to start with small amounts and observe your body’s reaction. This is important also because some people have an allergy to garlic. They might develop a range of symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and different skin reactions (rash, eczema). People who are raw garlic intolerant might still be able to consume it in small amounts, but their symptoms can appear when the dose gets increased. However, in most people, ingesting garlic produces no side effects.
Medicinal use of garlic has been known for over 3000 years. Already Hippocrates prescribed it for the treatment of cervical cancer, and Albert Schweitzer used it to treat dysentery in Africa. This ancient antibiotic receives support from both the scientific community and natural healers from around the world. When infection strikes next, you now know what to do.
If you are interested to learn more about garlic, as well as other herbs, and on how to use herbal medicine to effectively to heal away disease and illness then you should check my e-book The Herbal Remedies Guide.