Garlic – The Stinking Rose

July 9, 2007

This page exists to simply extol the various health (not to mention social) qualities of garlic. While more exhaustive sources exist, this should whet your appetite.


  • Antioxidant
  • Antibiotic (most effective broad spectrum antibiotic in existence)
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-carcinogen
  • Antiviral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • Lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • Natural Mosquito repellant

Historical Precedence

  • Mentioned in Sanskrit writings from India dating over 5,000 years old
  • Used by ancient Egyptians and Chinese as medicine
  • Contained in Ancient Egyptian lore that the slaves who worked on the pyramids would refuse to work if they were not given a head of garlic each day to eat
  • Prescribed by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, for over 3,000 ailments
  • Consumed by Romans to keep them healthy on campaigns
  • Used by the famous four French thieves who robbed graves during the Bubonic Plague. It is said that the thieves soaked cloves of garlic in vinegar and ate the cloves and drank the vinegar daily in order to prevent contracting the “Black Death”. Four Thieves Vinegar is still sold in France today
  • Utilized by American troops in World War I as an antiseptic in the trenches when the regular medicine was depleted, with reportedly greater success in keeping wounds clean than the standard military issued antiseptic
  • Contained as part of Lance Armstrong’s recipe for his recovery from cancer

Recent Buzz

  • Study by the American Chemical Society (One out of 2,500 recently published)
  • Best selling herb in the world
  • Proliferation of Allicin (phytochemical in garlic) pills and other garlic supplements

My favorite uses

  • Roasted garlic – although cooking garlic is thought to destroy some of the phytochemicals, it tastes so stinking good
  • Sauteed garlic – again loses some health benefits, but sometimes you gotta do it
  • Raw garlic slices with parsley – who needs coffee? I guarantee this will wake you up, although you may not have many friends if you don’t brush your teeth…
  • Crushed garlic in olive oil – the best way to activate the phytochemical compounds while not harming the digestive tract (due to olive oil’s soothing properties on the stomach)
  • Marinated in vinegar – those four thieves were onto something, well except for the whole stealing thing

Warnings for the overzealous

Yes, I know, you are amazed and can’t wait to bite into a clove or two yourself. However, from experience, please listen to my warnings.

First, eating a raw clove of garlic is will be harsh on the stomach and should probably not be used for anything but entertainment value. You need to slice it up so that you can handle the smaller quantities.

Second, you can have too much of a good thing. Garlic’s antibiotic properties can be found in small quantities. The antibiotics will pass through the system completely within 15 minutes, so it seems like smaller doses throughout the day are better than a ton of garlic all at once. Too much at once will severely irritate your digestive lining and is not recommended.

Third, the allicin inside garlic is a boon to the body but a bane to the breath. Common knowledge. However, did you know that it also seeps through your pores? Yes, thats right ladies and gentlemen, if you eat a couple of cloves of garlic or more, you and all of your friends will be noticing a pungent aroma every time you walk by. Now I’m not saying that’s bad. Just unique.

Well, that is about all that I know. If anyone else has any interesting facts, or things that I should include, email me. I would love to know about it just for fun, anyway.

One Response to “Garlic – The Stinking Rose”

  1. wildschwein Says:

    Roasted garlic is one of my favourite things in the world. Something about opening up the little parcel (that its outside layer forms when baked) to find lovely, caramelised garlic-y goodness inside.. absolutely divine, and such a simple way of adding a whole lot of extra flavour to your roast – just chuck a whole garlic head in to the tray alongside your meat and veg!

    We eat so much garlic that we don’t even notice its lingering aroma anymore. We pretty much eat it like a vegetable; it’s in pretty much all our savoury meals (in varying quantities). My philosophy is that if someone has a problem with me smelling like garlic, they mustn’t be eating enough of it themselves! 🙂

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