Garlic is one of my favorite herbs. It is known for flavoring dishes, most notably pastas and breads. Beyond cooking, garlic is incredibly good for the body and contains many health benefits, so what’s not to love? (Just remember to pop in a few mints next time you indulge in garlicky goodness.)

History

Garlic hasn’t always been viewed in a positive light. Because of its popularity in Indian and Italian cooking, many English and American people once viewed garlic as a lower class herb, and would refuse to use it. With immigration on the rise, it wasn’t always popular. Garlic may be even more well known for its role in repelling vampires. However, garlic is now widely used in many different cuisines and can be found in a myriad of dishes around the world.

large__8349012779The Benefits

1. Colon, Stomach, and Rectal Cancer Prevention

Garlic can improve your chances of avoiding these three types of cancer. However, be warned: garlic supplements don’t do the trick, so make sure you’re getting your garlic from the real thing.

2. Cold Protection

Because of its antioxidant-rich nature, garlic can arm you against colds. Even if you end up catching a cold, adding more garlic to your diet can improve your symptoms and help get the cold moving out of your system.

3. Regulates Blood Sugar

Diabetics have turned to garlic to help regulate their blood sugar levels. Garlic naturally helps in the production of insulin in the body.

4. Reduces Acne

While it doesn’t do much good for this internally, rubbing a slice of garlic on your skin can help clear up acne. For best results, do this right before bed and wash it off in the morning.

5. Hair Growth

This is another external use for garlic. It has been shown to improve growth in places of hair loss on the scalp. Squeeze some garlic over your scalp, and gently massage.

6. Tick Bite Prevention

Scientists have found that people who regularly include garlic in their diets suffer significantly fewer tick bites than their non-garlic eating counterparts.

7. Treats High Blood Pressure

People who suffer from high blood pressure may find some help in eating garlic.

8. Psoriasis Treatment

Due to its anti-inflammatory nature, rubbing garlic on skin that’s affected by psoriasis may reduce symptoms. If used often enough, garlic may reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.

9. Tames Cold Sores

Because of the anti-inflammatory properties mentioned above, garlic is also known to get rid of cold sores. Placing a small piece of garlic directly on a cold sore has been shown to reduce the size of the sore.

10. Splinter Removal

Garlic has been proven to coax splinters out easily. Cut a small piece of garlic and place it directly over a splinter, securing it with a bandage.

11. Soothe Toothaches

Placing a small sliver of garlic directly on an aching tooth can help soothe the pain.

12. Fights Allergies

Garlic can help ease the severity of allergies, especially those that affect the airways. Garlic helps reduce inflammation of airways and soothe areas of irritation.

13. Combats Hip Osteoarthritis

Eating garlic, and related foods such as onions and leeks, can help reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hip, and slow down its progression.

14. Prevents Weight Gain

Garlic can help stop weight gain by changing the way fat cells in the body are made.

What Amount is Enough?

Some of the benefits of garlic involve eating it, while others require you to use the herb externally. The external uses involve very small amounts of garlic, and some, such as the treatment of psoriasis, depends on the size of the affected area. For internal uses, many recommend eating about one clove a day. Luckily, garlic is easy to include in many foods, so get creative and enjoy the benefits!

Featured photo credit: David Goehring via photopin.com

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