Garlic's medicinal value is largely due to its highly volatile essential oil containing allium, also referred to as allicin. When garlic is absorbed into the digestive track, it circulates through the blood stream and is excreted mainly by being blown off through the lungs which leaves its odor on the breath. Even when rubbing garlic oil on the feet it will be carried through the lungs and leave its calling card on the breath.
The virtues of garlic are so wide-ranging and impressive that it might be thought that they were invented to fulfill an impossible dream. Nevertheless, they are constantly being confirmed by modern medical research throughout the world as the establishment becomes more and more fascinated by this humble and maligned plant. It is its various effects on the health and constitution of the blood stream that are probably the most valuable. We will just look at at few of its anti-toxic effects.
One of its properties is anti-pathogenic. The protective effects of garlic against infections have for long been known and it has in the past been used locally for ulcerous sores, to rid the gut of worm infestations, and as a prophylactic against contracting all manner of infectious diseases. When my husband and I are going to travel to a third-world country, we begin taking garlic before we leave, and try to eat the local garlic every day with our meals in the country as a preventative against illness and malaria.
Garlic has been credited with preventing gangrene and sepsis in the trenches in World War I and has been used to this day in many parts of the world as a general antibiotic and antiseptic. Garlic appears to be particularly effective in two parts of the body: the gut and the lungs. When it is absorbed from the food it circulates in the bloodstream and is excreted mainly by being blown off at the lungs, and the lungs are disinfected in the process. Garlic is a specific for bronchial and lung infections. It has also been used very effectively for many severe gut infections such as dysentery, typhoid, and cholera, and also in many cases of food poisoning. It is a safe and efficient anti-worming agent. There is also evidence linking the use of garlic to improvements in cases of tuberculosis and leprosy, and it has been shown to be a superb agent against the common cold. As it completely sterilizes the mouth if eaten crushed, it can be used for mouth infections (including thrush and even dental infections if these are accessible).
Garlic is also a circulatory agent. It has so many effects on the blood circulation that we can hardly cover them here. Firstly, garlic lowers the level of blood cholesterol so that the levels after a meal with garlic are significantly lower than the same meal taken without garlic. This has obvious implications for those suffering from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. This action is supported by the finding that with onion, garlic reduces the clotting behavior of the blood platelets. Both actions would add to garlic's usefulness in those susceptible to strokes (especially as these people usually have high cholesterol levels as well). Yet a further useful action in this context is that garlic opens up blood vessels, and both increases blood flow to the tissues and lowers the blood pressure.
It is not surprising to find that people who eat garlic have a significantly reduced incidence of heart disease, and although there is still no proof that is is garlic alone that is responsible, the circumstantial evidence in favor of that conclusion is impressive. It is interesting to note that traditional English use of garlic included an application for cramps and varicosed veins, both conditions where an effect on the blood vessels.
There is no doubt that for degenerative conditions of the circulation, for arteriosclerosis, thrombotic conditions (e.g. stroke) and high blood pressure, garlic is unequaled as a long-term remedy. The place of garlic, whether capsules, or the raw cloves should have a place in every household committed to non-toxic remedies.