Garlic is an indispensable spice that is useful for a variety of food preparations. It has a distinct aroma and taste that lifts the flavor of many dishes. You can hardly think of any type of cooking that does not use this herb. It is an essential ingredient in sautéed dishes, soups, marinades, and bread, or used as garnish among others.
More than its prominent position in the pantry, it is also a prized herb in traditional and modern medicine. As a kitchen staple, it is the most common ingredient people reach out for home remedies. In fact, garlic is a better remedy for many diseases than any other herb. Its proven effectiveness against respiratory problems, insect bites, infections or high blood pressure makes garlic a must-have ingredient in any pantry.
Since ancient times, people have boiled garlic and used it as tea to relieve flu symptoms. Today, garlic tea is still popular and is typically prepared with honey and lemon to make it taste better.
Why is Garlic Good for You
Garlic is considered a superfood for its ability in healing a wide plethora of health maladies. Its most beneficial bioactive compound is allicin, which gives it its pungent taste and smell. Allicin is garlic’s main defense to ward off predators. Allicin also benefits humans in many ways. It is a phytonutrient that contains an amazing number of healing properties. It further contains other sulfur compounds and phytochemicals that enhance its powerful therapeutic effects.
Here’s what happens to your body if you drink garlic tea.
Boosts The Immune System
Garlic is packed with compounds that fortify the immune system and give it an advantage in warding off illnesses. It contains a large amount of Vitamin C that builds up immune resistance. When taken internally, allicin converts into sulfur-containing compounds. These are responsible for boosting the disease-fighting response of certain white blood cells against viruses.
Fresh garlic tea is proven effective in warding off common flu viruses and flushing away pathogens. It reduces the severity of flu and cold symptoms and helps hasten recovery.
The compounds found in garlic possess a strong antibiotic property that works for the whole body. It covers a wide spectrum of bacteria, fungi and virus strains. If you drink garlic tea, it curbs the growth of these pathogens and cures many diseases. Fresh garlic extract can be used to treat infections caused by multi-drug-resistant strains.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Ajoene is a major natural compound derived from the allicin in garlic. Its function in the body is in thinning the blood and lowering lipid action. It helps improve blood circulation and lower blood cholesterol. Proper blood circulation prevents plaque buildup. This buildup, if not prevented, can lead to the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
As garlic refines blood circulation and prevents arterial blockage, it also manages the blood pressure level. High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide. When left untreated, the condition can lead to heart damage as the walls of the arteries become overstretched.
Reduces Blood Pressure
In the past, hypertensive patients used to chew crushed garlic as first aid for high blood pressure. Modern studies support its effectiveness leading to the formulation of garlic supplements. Drinking garlic tea likewise is an old-age practice and a handy home remedy for reducing blood pressure.
But, what happens if you have normal blood pressure and still drink garlic tea?
In the study published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy in 2018, researchers concluded its non-association. Garlic can reduce blood pressure in patients with elevated systolic pressure. But it did not lower the systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people without elevated blood pressure levels. Thus, garlic tea is safe to take by people who are not hypertensive.
Aids In Digestion
Aside from flu, garlic is also a traditional remedy that folks use for any digestive upset. Lukewarm garlic tea can alleviate gas, indigestion and other gastric disturbances. But it was observed that as garlic cleanses the digestive tract, it tends to increase gas for a few days.
The bioactive components of garlic also work against digestive problems caused by food poisoning. Its powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties relieve diarrhea and abdominal pain associated with it. Garlic contains diallyl sulfide that can pierce the bioactive film in food bugs which conventional antibiotics cannot penetrate. Having garlic tea first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can kill intestinal worms and treat parasitic infections.
Garlic oil, which is extracted from garlic, has been shown to have effective antifungal properties. Allicin has been proven in numerous lab tests to inhibit the growth of various fungi, including candida albicans, the particular fungus that typically causes yeast infections. Additionally, these special oils fight fungus and support healthy nails and skin.
Relieves Other Respiratory Symptoms
Garlic is not only good for flu symptoms. Its antibiotic properties are also known to be useful in treating many types of respiratory problems. Its local viral activity provides immediate relief for sore throat and tonsillitis.
Garlic syrup is effective against asthma, breathing disorders and other pulmonary issues.
Adding fresh garlic to the daily meal or drinking its tea induces a strong immunity against tuberculosis. Allicin is very effective in fighting mycobacterial strains that cause TB. It also alleviates chronic bronchitis and catarrhal disorders.
One of the lesser-known effects of garlic is its potency in promoting mental health. A study conducted on garlic and memory retention revealed that garlic increased brain 5-HT levels. It indicates improved cognitive performance which supports the claim of garlic’s efficacy in enhancing memory.
Aged garlic extract is particularly useful in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It prevents behavioral impairment and boosts the creation of new neurons. If you want to avoid or slow down age-related cognitive issues, taking garlic tea daily is a good early start.
Free radicals from the environment and the food that we eat put a strain on our cellular health. It will eventually lead to its impairment and cause debilitating diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are substances that bind these free radicals and flush them away. Removing them from the body prevents or delays the onset of cell damage.
Allicin is an important compound in garlic that acts as an antioxidant. It also has Vitamin E and coenzyme COQ10 which further prevents cellular damage. Incorporating garlic tea into your diet can help prevent many types of cancer and delays the aging process.
Improves Sexual Performance
Garlic is an aphrodisiac and a regenerative herb with properties that combat infertility and low sex drive. Its ability in improving blood circulation and reproduction makes it a traditional aphrodisiac. Allicin builds up heat in the body to invoke sexual energy and treat impotency and sexual debility. Garlic also increases testosterone levels. That is why some bodybuilders use it to promote muscle growth.
Promotes Weight Loss
Good news to people who are conscious about their weight! Garlic is an amazing and widely available vegetable to help you with your weight goal. Garlic tea can increase metabolism and dissolve unwanted fats in the body. It suppresses the appetite to promote passive weight loss. Garlic is highly valuable in treating obesity.
Garlic Tea Recipe
- 3 cups water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Grated ginger, optional
- Honey and lemon, to taste
- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add the minced garlic.
- You may add grated ginger if desired.
- Boil for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to half.
- Turn off the heat and let it steep for 10 more minutes
- Strain the liquid and add honey and lemon to improve the taste. Lemon and ginger also mitigate the bad breath that garlic can cause.
Consuming unsweetened garlic tea in small amounts daily does not cause any side effects.
When taking garlic as an herbal remedy and supplement, the safe dosages of allicin are:
- Garlic supplement: 600 to 1200mg /day in divided doses
- Garlic oil: 2 to 5 grams /day
- Garlic extract (solid form): 300 to 1000 mg /day
- Aged garlic extract (liquid): 2400 mg /day
Caution For Using Garlic
Garlic is likely safe when taken orally but it may have some drug interactions and risk factors. It may cause a burning sensation in the mouth, heartburn, gas, nausea and bad breath. However, it is generally safe and well-tolerated. Excessive intake of garlic may result in irritation of the digestive tract.
Do not take the high dosage during pregnancy. Avoid garlic if you have mouth and tongue ulcers. Do not take with diabetes OTC medication. Avoid taking it with coagulants or blood-thinning drugs. Avoid using it seven days before surgery.
Do not take in high amounts if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Garlic is not just a part of traditional medicine but a superfood for modern medicinal use. The plant is often referred to as an herb or spice but it is identified as a vegetable. Maximize the benefits you can get from this vegetable and make it a habit to add it to your daily diet.
You can not only sip garlic tea but add it to a variety of foods for extra healthy and delicious cooking. Add it to dressings, soups, salads, sauces and garnishes or main dishes. Garlic cloves also make a great vegetable for roasting to extract its pungently sweet and pleasant taste. If you worry about bad breath and a strong odor after consuming garlic, try taking it with parsley. Parsley is known to mask the pungent odor that garlic creates in the body.