Garlic Hacks: How to Get the Maximum Health Benefits from this Glorious Plant
The use of garlic as medicine has been documented throughout history. Ancient Egyptians and Romans used garlic to treat everything from battling fatigue to increasing physical endurance. Native Americans of the Great Lakes region were also huge garlic proponents. They used garlic to deal with a range of ailments including bee stings, colic, sore throats, and earaches. During World War II, the British military commonly referred to garlic as “Russian penicillin” because Russian troops were putting garlic directly on infected wounds. The idea that garlic is a kind of penicillin isn’t far-fetched. Garlic contains a biologically active ingredient with antibacterial capabilities called allicin. Allicin is a powerful infection fighter and is said to stimulate the immune system
If you are cooking with garlic and want to get the maximum health benefits, here are some important things to keep in mind:
To unleash and activate allicin, you have to chop, smash, or press the garlic. This is because the two key ingredients in garlic, alliin and allinase, need to come into contact with one another to create allicin. Garlic really has to be chopped, smashed, or pressed.
Then after mashing or chopping your garlic, you need to let it rest for 10 minutes because it takes 10 minutes for alliin and allinase to get together and create allicin.
This 10-minute rule is vital in order to take advantage of the health benefits of allicin. Start preparing earlier and let that garlic rest! Then go to town.
For more information on garlic, onions, and the power of wild foods, check out Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health.
Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic
Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garliic