Garlic, the well known kitchen ingredient also called Allium Sativum, belongs to the family Amaryllidaceae. Garlic is used worldwide for seasoning or as a food condiment because of its characteristic pungent and spicy flavor. The use of garlic dates back to thousands of years when it was used by the Chinese for its medicinal properties. Garlic is nutritious and contains vitamins especially vitamin B 6 and C, phosphorus, manganese, carbohydrate, protein, dietary fiber and a little fat component.
It is also known to have numerous medicinal properties and research have shown its effectiveness in preventing cardiovascular disease, treating common cold and recently has been found to have anticancer properties. Allicin, the active ingredient, is a sulphur compound, that is expressed when garlic is crushed, chopped, chewed or damaged. Garlic also contains ajoene, thiosulfates and other organosulfur compounds. Studies have confirmed that ajoene is antithrombotic, antitumoral, antiparasitic and antifungal properties. Several studies have also shown an association between high intake of garlic and reduction in risk of certain cancers such as cancer of the colon, stomach, esophagus, pancreas and breast.
According to the European prospective and investigation into cancer and nutrition, study involving men and women from ten various countries was conducted and it was noted that there was reduced risk of intestinal cancer in those with higher intake of garlic and onions . Also the Iowa womens study showed that women who consumed large amount of garlic had 50 percent reduced risk of cancer of the distal colon as compared with women with lower garlic consumption . According to a 2005 study conducted in San Francisco bay area, the risk of pancreatic cancer was said to be 54 percent lower in people who consumed large amount of garlic when compared to those who ate lesser amount, also a 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer was noted in people who consumed high levels of allium vegetables especially garlic. Additional studies done in France found a significant reduction in breast cancer associated with increased garlic consumption . Organosulfur compounds are also found in garlic which has been observed to be highly effective against glioblastoma. Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and prevalent cancer that begins within the brain and the conventional treatment methods of chemotherapy and radiation are known to kill brain cells indiscriminately and offers an average survival rate of about 15 months. Fortunately the organosulfur compounds and allicin found in garlic have been discovered to mitigate the growth of glioblastoma cells in the human brain.
The effectiveness of garlic in the prevention of cancer arise from its antibacterial effect, its ability to induce cell death, inhibit the formation of cancer-causing substances, reduce abnormal cell proliferation and aid DNA repair. To drive maximum benefit from consuming garlic,it is advised to cut and peel a piece of fresh garlic and let it sit for about fifteen minutes before eating it. This allows for the release of alliinase enzyme that produces the anticancer compounds.
Garlic is available worldwide and it is one of the few vegetables with anticancer properties however processing, handling and time may affect its effectiveness. The recommended daily dose according to the world health organization (WHO) is about 2-5g of fresh garlic that is approximately one clove of garlic, 0.4 – 1.2g of dried garlic powder. 2 – 5mg of garlic oil or 300 – 1000 mg of garlic extract. FYI: eating fresh raw garlic can cause body odors and strong breath and when eaten on an empty stomach can sometimes cause heartburn, and diarrhea .
I recommend the use Garlic Forte from Mediherb. Medi herd has superb quality and I have it for sale here at the clinic. I take 1-2 daily as a tonic and for cancer prevention.