All Hail To Garlic

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I had a dream. A wacky dream. The kind you have after eating an unripe mango with day-old popcorn while watching Roman Holiday right before bedtime.

As my brain drifted into its last REM mode, I found myself walking through a jungle;  the cacophony of sounds and smells highlighted by patches of sunlight surrounded me. Pushing aside a huge leaf, I suddenly found myself ceremoniously walking down a grand hallway with huge baroque doors on either side, a red carpet running right down the middle.

With my hands stretched out in front, I was holding a plate with a royal crown placed squarely in the middle, a crown that suspiciously looked like the one from the Imperial margarine commercials. The crown fascinated me and as I kept staring, it morphed into a huge garlic bulb. Next I was wearing the bulb on top of my head waving my hands to a pride of lions that just came through one of the doors. The sound of Sting singing “free, free, set them free” wafted down the hallway and one of the lions stood up and started to lip sync the song. Then I woke up.

No I don’t do drugs and quite frankly that dream is mild compared to other ones I have. The strange thing of it all, later on when I scrolled through my email messages, I had one from my friend Jan titled, “52 Clove Garlic Soup Kills the Flu Virus,” and in the body of the email explained the wonderful attributes of the “king of herbs.”

So synchronicity brings me to the royal power of garlic with its reputation in promoting great health. The soup, consisting of garlic cloves, onions, thyme and lemon, is reputed to destroy almost any virus that enters its path. How does this little herb do it?

Its active component is the sulfur compound called allicin, produced when garlic is chopped, chewed or bruised. One milligram of allicin reportedly has the same potency as 15 standard units of penicillin. Roasting garlic is said to break down the allicin into another sulfur compound but by baking, the garlic actually releases the allicin-type compounds. Garlic is also known to help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and helps loosen plaque from the artery walls.

The anti-cancer agent germanium is found in abundance in this kingly herb and helps retard the growth of tumors. It stimulates t-lymphocyte and macrophage action, promotes interleukin 1 levels and supports natural killer cells promoting a healthy kick-butt immune system. But is this a modern exclamation or has it been noted in years past?

Builders of the ancient pyramids ate garlic daily for enhanced endurance and strength. And the Roman emperors couldn’t eat enough of it, and thought it was an antidote to poisons, a popular political precaution I presume similar to modern day bodyguards. Find a way to include garlic into your meals so you can take advantage of all its benefits. If you’re worried about the smell, you can take odorless garlic capsules. But there is really nothing like eating fresh food, so it’s good to know that garlic odor can be combated.

Actually the odor is a gas contained in garlic called allyl methyl sulfide or AMS that makes it way into the blood and out the lungs or through the pores via sweat. Drinking green drinks with lemon keeps the garlic smell at bay. The high chlorophyll content removes the hydrogen sulfide present after AMS breaks down during the metabolic process. And lemon is just a great all-around detoxifier.

Chewing on fennel seeds, drinking green tea or eating at least 6 oz of yogurt after the meal is also known to help rid the body of the smell. I say garlic the world over and let health crown itself under those cloves of goodness.

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