Garlic is one of the earliest documented plants used for the treatment of diseases and maintenance of health. Ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, China and India each prescribed medical applications for garlic: Well-preserved garlic cloves were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen (who ruled in ancient Egypt from 1334 to 1325 before Christ). In ancient Greece, soldiers were fed garlic to provide them with more courage, and during the first Olympic Games, garlic was taken by athletes before they competed, presumably to enhance performance. In early 18th century France, gravediggers drank crushed garlic in Wine believing it would protect them from the plague. Soldiers were given garlic to prevent gangrene during both World Wars.
Today, garlic is used to support a healthy heart and given it is cardioprotective can help to reduce atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Garlic has a broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and is rich in antioxidants – however it does not kill beneficial bacteria and seems to be well tolerated for long-term use.
Garlic may strengthen the immune system and studies suggest beneficial effects from common cold to cancer. Studies comparing groups w. garlic supplements or placebo for 12 weeks during cold season (Nov-Feb) found reduced colds as well as symptoms going away faster for those groups taking the garlic vs. the placebo.
In test tubes, garlic seems to kill cancer cells. And long-term population studies, which follow groups of people over a long time, suggest that those who eat more raw or cooked garlic are less likely to get colon and stomach cancers and cancer of the esophagus.
So in absence of following the French gravedigger approach in the 18th century and crushing your garlic into wine, how we get a sufficient amount of it? We like to add garlic to our food in a variety of ways: