Know Your Medicinal Herbs: Garlic

Beyond its natural ability to give a lot of flavor to food and to repel vampires, garlic is also quite the little medicinal item. One record from the 12th Century reveals that garlic was administered to field laborers to stave off the effects of prolonged sun exposure. Galen of Pergomon was a prestigious Roman scholar who regarded garlic as a cure-all in rural communities. 
 
Some testing has been done regarding garlic’s anti-carcinogenic qualities. One 2013 study found that men with garlic as a staple of their diet had diminished risks of prostate cancer. Another study, done in 2014 with Korean individuals, found that garlic contribute to a reduced risk of stomach cancer. 
 
While garlic’s pungency is well-known, especially when you consider that it happens to be in the same botanical group as onions, there are some other potential hazards of consuming garlic. 

  • Consuming garlic tends to quickly transfer its sulfuric odor to the consumer’s breath and body odor. Furthermore, a nursing mother may notice that their children will drink far more slowly and develop a garlicky breath smell after she eats garlic. 
  • Allium allergy is a real condition. Some people simply cannot safely eat onions, shallots or garlic without suffering. These people may experience diarrhea, ulcerations around the mouth and throat, trouble breathing or even anaphylactic shock in the most extreme of cases. Fortunately, tests exist to verify if you have such a sensitivity and this sensitivity can also manifest with ginger and bananas. 
  • While garlic has been reputed to help with acne, it can also leave severe chemical burns on the skin. If you plan on using garlic to treat acne, begin with a small amount over a small area of skin and see how the skin reacts in small batches before continuing. Note that garlic should never be pursued as an acne cure when dealing with young children. 
  • Excessive garlic consumption is known to screw up blood thinners.