No Vampires….just my Mother and Garlic!!! So what are the benefits of Garlic…….
As some of you already know, I come from an Italian family and spent a lot of my younger years living with my mother and grandmother. Growing up, I remember our house always filled with the aroma of garlic and onions. Even when they weren’t cooking, you could still somehow smell it. I think even our dog had a garlic collar (fleas hated him!). Whether in sauces, bean dishes, soups or sautéed with olive oil for brushing on bread as a treat, my grandmother used garlic in a lot of dishes we prepared for the week. It’s very easy to cook with and is healthy to include in meals, especially when you’re cooking on a tight budget. Our family didn’t have a lot of money, so cooking with traditional and simple herbs was second nature.
Between the ages of 12 and 16, I would often fake being sick just to avoid getting up early for school – doing everything possible to convince my mother that I was dying, or truly in agony. When I think back to those days I chuckle, because I really did have her convinced most of the time. When I was about 14 years old, I did end up coming down with a really high fever. Any time, my brother or I had a fever, my mom would wipe us down with a cold cloth and give us homemade soups with a lot of herbs including – you guessed it – garlic. One night, after midnight, my mom checked in on me to find me shaking. Although she insisted, I didn’t even want the cold cloth. I became really upset and begged her to leave the room. She left briefly, but only to return with a sock, onion and turkey baster. Yes, turkey baster. When she opened my bedroom door (laughing like a crazy woman with all her tools in hand), all I could yell was, “Get out of my room you witch doctor!” I begged her to leave as my fever reached above 102 degrees, but my mom was stubborn and on a mission to get my fever down.
So, what did she do with all her tools? Well, the onion was cut in half and tied to the bottom of my foot with the sock to draw out the fever. The turkey baster was going to be used with garlic and distilled water as an enema. Drawing out toxins from my colon, the enema would help reduce the fever and kill off any parasites (if they existed) and any candida yeast in my body. Essentially, my mom was putting into practice some old remedies passed down from generation to generation. With no Google to search for the answers to heal me, families relied on old remedies such as this one. Although my teenage self refused to let my mom stick me with the turkey baster that night (I was happier to suffer with a high fever, thank you very much), I did allow her to attach the onion to my heel and finally submitted to the cold rag wipe-down. All and all, she healed me and I was thankful. We had a few good laughs that night and still laugh about it today.
A quick history and some benefits…..
Around for centuries, and well documented through many cultures, garlic was given to the slaves who built the Egyptian pyramids (along with onions) to increase strength and stamina. The original Olympic athletes in Greece ate garlic before competitions, as the earliest performance-enhancing substances ever used. In China, garlic was used to help cure digestive and respiratory ailments, diarrhea and parasitic infestations. During the Middle Ages, garlic was grown in monastic gardens throughout Europe where they used it to help heal kidney, digestive and breathing disorders. Eventually, Europeans brought this healing herb to the New World by the 1800s where is was widely used and found in most American homes as a traditional medicine. When antibiotics were unavailable, garlic was even used in World War I on wounded soldiers to fight infections and prevent gangrene.
Needless to say, I use garlic a lot. In my wellness practice, one of my most used services is massage therapy, where I’m exposed to many different germs each week. Over last 20 years of being in close skin-to-skin contact with people, I’ve only been under the weather one time. Just once. I attribute staying healthy to my strict eating habits where garlic is at the top of my list, along with onions. In addition to strengthening your immune system, garlic can help regulate cholesterol levels, prevent heart disease and reduce high blood pressure. A lot of herbal practitioners recommend garlic for digestive issues, as it helps inhibit gut bacteria. It also may help inhibit helicobacter pylori, which has been known to be the root cause of ulcers and stomach cancer.
Start with this five-minute recipe:
You can find raw, organic garlic in the produce section of your grocery store. When purchasing garlic, check that the cloves haven’t been sitting too long. I prefer buying raw garlic instead of bottled, minced garlic, but if you prefer this make sure it comes from the United States as most garlic farms are located in California. It’s easy to add garlic to a meal a few times a week to start. I use garlic a lot over the weekends and as a foundation in mostly all of my dishes (onions and fresh herbs, too!). This adds so much delicious flavor – I just love it! The best way to eat garlic for its full benefits is to eat it raw, however, most people don’t like the taste. Try heating a pan of olive oil, then add a couple of crushed cloves with onions and sea salt to add to a salad as a dressing. If you’re buying garlic as a supplement, look for products with allicin, a key ingredient that gives garlic its odor and powerful healing properties to fight bacteria, mold, viruses and yeast, and aids in preventing numerous diseases.
I notice when I eat more garlic, my skin looks brighter. Plus, it takes me back to countless memories of my crazy family. Try it and see! Let’s band together to keep my mom from appearing at our bedroom doors at 1 a.m. with a turkey baster in hand!
With more than 24 years of diverse experience in the health and wellness industry, Jaime has
dedicated her life to caring for and enabling people to increase their overall wellness.