10 Health Benefits of Raw Garlic

Plus a Garlic Broth Recipe to Help Cure Cold and Flu Faster

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Humans have known about the health benefits of raw garlic for at least 5000 years. Ancient civilizations of India, China, Egypt, and Greece valued garlic's ability to protect them from disease. They used it to:

  • Cure circulatory and cardiovascular conditions
  • Improve their digestive system
  • Relieve constipation
  • Ward off plagues
  • Fight flu and flu-like illnesses
  • Treat wounds and protect skin
  • Rid the body of parasites

In fact, garlic was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt, and ancient medical texts contain recipes for using garlic medicinally.

Garlic is from the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, scallions, and chives.

The healing power of garlic is found in allicin; a sulfur compound released when garlic is crushed, chopped, or chewed. It is believed allicin is a natural antibiotic that can strengthen our immune response to viruses.

Ancient Medicinal Uses of Garlic

Here are some fascinating facts on the medicinal use of garlic throughout history.

  • Working-class people and soldiers of ancient Rome, Egypt, and Greece ate raw garlic daily to increase stamina and productivity. Also, Olympic athletes used it for endurance and strength.
  • Ancient Egyptian medical texts prescribed garlic for parasitic infections and circulation disorders.
  • Hippocrates referred to garlic to help heal the lungs, cure abdominal growths, and help the body purge itself of toxins.
  • Ancient Romans and the Chinese used garlic to heal gastrointestinal disorders.
  • A medical reference, the Historica Naturalis of ancient Rome, recommended garlic to treat toxic blood conditions, lower cholesterol and protect against infections.
  • The ancient Chinese and Japanese ate raw garlic to ward off parasites.
  • Ancient people of China and Japan used garlic for depression and recommended it for lung and breathing ailments.
  • In Medieval times, people treated the plague with garlic.
  • Medical students in Salerno, Italy, were taught that a diet abundant in garlic would foster good health.
  • In the 16th century, England garlic was used to cure toothache, dropsy, and the plague.
  • Native Americans prepared garlic tea to treat flu-like symptoms.
  • In Shaker herb catalogs garlic was advertised as being an expectorant, stimulant, and tonic.
  • The Charaka-Samhita, Ayurveda's medical text, prescribes garlic for heart disease, arthritis, and digestive ailments.

Garlic and Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a health care system originating in India that has stood the test of time as it is over 5000 years old. The Ayurvedic diet recommends that we eat all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) if we want healthy digestion. Garlic has five of the six tastes (all but salty), and it is considered a genuine superfood.

Garlic is known to balance Vata and Kapha dosha, but increases Pitta dosha and has a positive effect on many diseases. Kashyapa, an ancient Indian physician, said that “garlic is born from nectar,” which means that it has a rejuvenating ability. It clears the channels of the body, is known to help with many imbalances in the body.

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the health benefits of raw garlic
raw garlic vs cooked garlic

Is Raw Garlic as Good For You as Cooked Garlic?

If you really want to get the most health benefits from garlic, consume it raw if you can. If you cook it, you will destroy its healthy allicin compounds that protect against heart disease and cancer. Yet, there are studies that show garlic supplements can boost immune function with extended use.

Cooking garlic for 20 minutes or more destroys its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
But, you can eat it raw or slightly cooked by adding it to many dishes if you have a palate for it and don't mind garlic breath.
If the garlic tends to burn your mouth, try mixing it with plain yogurt. You can cover the garlic with yogurt and spoon it in quickly with little chewing to relieve the unpleasant taste.

10 Health Benefits of Raw Garlic

health benefits of raw garlic
Cooking garlic for 20 minutes or more destroys its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.

1. Garlic has a positive effect on immune system function

In a 2001 study, researchers divided 145 volunteers into two groups. One group got daily allicin supplements for 12 weeks. The other group got a placebo. The group that took the daily garlic supplement got fewer colds than the placebo group.

On top of that, the group taking garlic also had fewer symptoms and recovered more quickly than those who took the placebo. The study found that the garlic supplement can prevent and lower the severity of a common cold.

2. Garlic is known to improve lipid status and circulation

In this 2008 study a group of researchers wanted to determine the lipid-lowering effects of garlic.

In a double-blinded placebo-controlled study 42 male men with high cholesterol between the ages of 35-70 were given 600mg of Allicor daily. The study found that after 8-12 weeks of taking Allicor tablets, their total cholesterol dropped by 7.6%. They also and 11.5% lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and 11.5% increased HDL cholesterol (the good) than the placebo group.

3. Garlic can help to fight cancer

Garlic may be able to fight certain kinds of cancer. A recent study by the Chinese found that the consumption of raw garlic can reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Additionally, the American Institute of Cancer Research found that garlic could help prevent colon, stomach, and skin cancer. Garlic has quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting properties.

The National Cancer Institute cites many studies that show an association between garlic and the risk of certain cancers.

4. Garlic and yeast infection

Many people think yeast infections are just for women. But, a yeast infection is systemic. An overgrowth of yeast can be a problem in other places of the body besides the vagina. It can affect other crevices of the body like the mouth, digestive tract, ears, and feet.

For instance, toenail and jock itch is caused by yeast overgrowth.
Excessive yeast growth in the digestive tract can cause digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Garlic is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This means it should be able to lessen the number of yeast fungi. Some natural health practitioners even suggest placing a whole clove of garlic inside the vagina to cure a yeast infection. If caught at an early stage, they recommend letting the garlic clove stay there overnight to relieve symptoms of burning and itching.

The problem is that many women may not love the idea of garlic inside their vaginas while they slept. Also, women who have tried this report that garlic can be detected on their breath, as the garlic can move throughout the body.

Another way to cure yeast using garlic is to buy it online. Twinlab has a product called Yeast Fighters, and it's an excellent blend of active cultures and powdered garlic to kill yeast from the inside out.

Take Yeast Fighters at the first symptoms of yeast overgrowth and expect that it will clear up within several days.

You can take Yeast Fighter tablets as part of your daily supplements to prevent recurrent yeast infections.

5. Garlic for hypertension

At least 30% of people in the world have chronic high blood pressure or hypertension. Continued high blood pressure is an indicator of future strokes or heart attacks.

In another study, 88 hypertensive adults took aged garlic extract (AGE) for 12 weeks. Researchers reported that they had reduced blood pressure.

The research suggests that AGE can help smooth muscles to relax and blood vessels to dilate, which can help reduce hypertension.

6. Garlic for osteoarthritis

Even though it's said there is no cure for osteoarthritis, garlic may be able to reduce symptoms. A diet high in alliums (garlic, onions, and leeks) can provide some protective benefits by limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes.

7. Garlic for acne

Garlic can be a useful skin treatment for acne because of its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It's also known to be anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant, meaning it promotes healing.
Garlic can be a quick treatment for pimples. If you suffer from acne, then try topically applying garlic. Just chop the garlic to release the oil, then directly rub it onto the breakout area. If you have larger pimples, you can treat them this way before going to bed at night.

8. Garlic for ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that presents with small red dots that spread into a circular ring. Over time this pattern widens before disappearing. As it heals, it can become itchy. If you have a ringworm of the scalp, you may notice your hair falling out in a circular pattern.

Ringworm is passed from person to person through skin contact, and it is very contagious.

For this reason, do not use makeup or towels or anything else that had contact with infected skin or you can reinfect yourself or spread it to others.
The fungus that causes ringworm is different from a yeast fungus. So check with your doctor to find out whether you have ringworm or an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, which is yeast. Both cause red rashes of the skin and itching.

It's known that raw garlic can heal ringworm fungus quickly.

Just peel a clove of garlic and chop it to get garlic oil. Then rub the garlic directly on the affected area. If you have many ringworm patches, apply them on each patch. Make sure to dispose of the garlic properly and wash your hands immediately in hot, soapy water.

9. Garlic is a good prebiotic

If you have digestion issues, your microbiome can use some help. Garlic has been shown to help promote beneficial gut bacteria and prevent dangerous bacteria from growing.
Prebiotics are a fiber the body cannot digest that is food for probiotics. Like all living things, probiotics need food to thrive and this is where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics act as food for gut bacteria to create an environment where beneficial microorganisms can thrive

10. Garlic for the common cold

Over the last two decades, studies conducted show evidence of garlic reducing the severity of symptoms of the common cold. Also, adding garlic to your daily diet can decrease the probability of catching a cold.
Again, this is due to the sulfuric compound allicin released when garlic is chopped or sliced so raw is best.
To get more garlic in your diet to decrease the likelihood of catching a cold or to reduce the duration of a cold, here are some suggestions:
Aim to incorporate raw garlic in your food as often as possible.
If you do cook your garlic, make sure not to overcook it and use lots of it in the recipes that you make. The more garlic you eat, the more benefits you will experience.
To increase the potency of garlic's healing compounds, allow it to stand for about 10 minutes before cooking with it.
the health benefits of garlic
Garlic bone broth

Garlic Broth Recipe to Help Cure Cold and Flu Faster

If you're down with a bad cold or flu, it won't matter much how you smell while you're resting and recuperating.

So, here's a nutritious and delicious garlic home remedy for what ails you: garlic soup!


  • Bone broth can be chicken, beef or fish/seafood-based, and homemade
  • 2-3 cloves fresh, crushed garlic
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, sliced with a few slits cut in to release the healing oils
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh, chopped parsley
  • Ground pepper and Himalayan salt
  • Cayenne pepper

Into a small sauce pan, place the bone broth, cayenne, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drop in the crushed garlic cloves. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon. Sprinkle in fresh parsley. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve steaming, sip slowly from your mug. Relax, and let the healing begin.

health benefits of raw garlic
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Written by Jackie Parker

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