Garlic is a member of the allium family, and is a close relative of onions and shallots. It’s been used for medicinal and cooking purposes for thousands of years and was a favorite in various other cultures like Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Chinese. Garlic has a very wide range of medicinal properties that make it an effective treatment for bronchitis, as well as cold and flu.
There are several active amino acids and Sulphur-containing compounds in garlic, but the primary compound is alliin. When alliin breaks down, it becomes allicin, which is also the compound that gives garlic that strong, distinctive smell. Garlic is highly nutritious with very little calories. It’s rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, calcium, selenium and phosphorus, which are all very important nutrients to good health.
A 12 week study that focused on preventing common colds with garlic supplements found that when comparing two groups, the group that had been given allicin-containing garlic supplements had significantly fewer colds than the second group, who had been given a placebo. Members of the first group were also found to be less likely to get a cold, and recover faster if they did.
As allicin enters the body through the digestive tract, garlic is best when eaten fresh and raw to ensure the full amount of health benefits are received. It’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal, and can be ingested every day to fight parasites and infections, and the antioxidizing properties help the body fight off harmful free radicals.