Monday, January 22, 2007

Garlic, the Stinking Rose

Garlic is valued world wide as both a culinary and a medicinal herb.

There is a lot of research that points to its ability to reduce cholesterol levels, in fact, one company that manufactures a garlic supplement refers to garlic as "cholesterol's natural enemy."

The health benefits of garlic are much wider than just affecting cholesterol.

Garlic enjoys a considerable reputation as an immune booster, said to prevent colds and flu, and to shorten recovery time if you catch a cold or flu.

There is also research which demonstrates garlic has the ability to prevent blood clots. (If you are about to have any surgery, discuss with your doctor any herbs you may be taking, and especially those like garlic which affect blood clotting.)

There is some disagreement about taking garlic as a raw herb or supplement, and also whether you lose health benefits if you cook the garlic clove. In my opinion, garlic is useful in all these forms. The standardized supplements will not have identical effects as garlic cloves; raw garlic has different effects than cooked garlic. There are health benefits to all these forms, use it any way you like.

I enjoy cooking with garlic, and frequently add it to soups, stews and sauces; I also include raw garlic in salads and find supplements convenient when travelling.

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