Garlic Goodness

According to most research to date, not only does it help lower cholesterol, but it also apparently acts a natural antibiotic, fighting bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Some say garlic is as effective as penicillin, tetracycline, streptomycin, and other prescription medications.

Herb-watchers are particularly excited by what the research has to say about garlic's antibiotic potential. One reason for this is that some pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to widely used prescription antibiotics, which are either naturally occurring or synthetically derived. Their strength was that they were developed to attack specific kinds of harmful bacteria. But some bacteria have developed their own ways of resisting attack, so the quest for more naturally occurring, less specifically targeted antibiotics has ensued.

Garlic is emerging as a clear alternative to prescription antibiotics. Research outlines its potential to create an inhospitable environment to a wide range of microorganisms, including at least eight types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and some fungi, such as Candida, the microbe that causes yeast infections, according to information provided by the nonprofit Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colorado. Specifically, garlic extract surpassed penicillin, ampicillin, doxycycline, streptomycin, and cephalexin in fighting eight of nine strains of Staphylococcus, Escherichia, and Proteus, according to the foundation. Moreover, like the herb echinacea, garlic may possess the ability to enhance immune function, making the body more resistant to infection, some research shows.

Garlic reduces cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, reduces blood pressure, improves circulation, helps prevent yeast infections, cancers, colds, and flu. More than 2,500 credible scientific studies have established garlic's potential to heal. At least nine epidemiological studies show that garlic decreases the incidence of cancer among those who consume it regularly.

Excerpt from "Herbs for Health", November/December 1998

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