We’ve Got Garlic!

February 22nd, 2010

garlicWellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil calls garlic “one of the best general tonics for the healing system”.  Those pungent, spicy little cloves reportedly have the ability to lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar, fight cardiovascular disease, enhance your immune system, and protect your liver and brain cells from degeneration.

To call garlic a mere “Super Food” may be an understatement. “Super Hero” might be more accurate, since this potent plant has historically been credited with the power to ward off nearly every ailment and evil under the sun. Or moon, if you count its alleged ability to disarm werewolves and vampires.

The ancient Egyptians fed garlic to the workers who built the pyramids to give them strength. In the Middle Ages, it was relied on to protect against the Plague. Thanks to Louis Pasteur’s discovery of garlic’s antibacterial activity in 1858, soldiers wounded in World War I and World War II were treated with garlic to prevent gangrene.

While most of us are unlikely to be plagued by anything so drastic as Dracula or an artillery assault, garlic is equally useful for fighting more mundane ailments such as the common cold or flu. It contains a natural antibiotic called allicin, which fights viral and bacterial infections and acts as a decongestant. The allicin is released when you crush garlic.  As the Vegetarian Times notes, “Grandma’s chicken noodle soup could have worked just as well without the chicken!”

So if you’re suffering from a cold or the flu this winter, it’s a no-brainer; skip the chicken soup and go for the true culinary cure: a vegetarian roasted garlic soup. Roasting garlic has the added bonus of sweetening and mellowing its flavor. Laid low with the sniffles this season? Activate some allicin and let garlic come to your rescue!.