Good Medicine Everyday: Garlic / by emily penn

The therapeutic benefits of garlic have been known way before the invention of modern medicine. Hippocrates even used to prescribe garlic! This tiny but mighty allium (same family as onion) is often used as an herb or spice and many people love the flavor of garlic! Raw it’s kind of spicy and intense, but slow roasted gives garlic a whole new flavor profile. I personally can’t get enough garlic (especially that slow roasted kind). I’ve chomped on raw cloves when I’m sick/getting sick and that in itself is an experience! I use it in almost every savory dish I make. I’ve even had it in juice, which isn’t as bad as it sounds!


Most of the health benefits of garlic can be attributed to sulfur compounds. Here are a few of the ways consuming garlic daily can boost your health (1):

  • Supports the immune system - daily garlic consumption can result in fewer colds and reduce the duration of colds. This is due to garlic’s antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Like I mentioned, I chew a raw clove if I feel something coming on. It’s really intense, but it definitely feels like potent medicine!

  • It supports cardiovascular health and may reduce blood pressure (this would probably be most effective in supplement form).

  • Garlic contains antioxidants that can help fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.

  • It can help reduce heavy metal toxicity in the body. That means things like lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, etc. Too many of these heavy metals in the body can lead to a host of health issues that is beyond the scope of this little article.

  • The National Cancer Institute actually recognizes garlic as one of several foods with potential anticancer properties - woah! (2)

Garlic is relatively inexpensive and widely available, making it feasible for everyone to reap the health benefits. Hot tip: chop or crush your garlic and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before cooking with it. The chopping activates an enzyme which helps maximize garlic’s health benefits. Honestly, I only remember to do this about half the time, but that’s better than nothing!

Use garlic in any vegetable, meat, or seafood dish, soups, stews, tomato sauce, etc. Use it raw in dressings and marinades. Roast it right along with your vegetables. Definitely add it to your guacamole. There’s no bad way to eat your garlic!