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Registered Medical Herbalist
Luzia Barclay
Tel: 01722 330663

Garlic and its medicinal benefits

Garlic - a powerful effective natural antibiotic

At the beginning of this year we were being warned again by the chief medical officer that “medicine faces the prospect of losing probably the most powerful weapon in its armoury – the effective antibiotic”.

Expressions like “Antibiotic apocalypse,” ticking time bomb”, “catastrophic threat to population”, were used by Professor Dame Sally Davies.

Professor Richard James’ suggestions to solve this problem are “economic measures, such as a taxes on antibiotic use, to prevent (this) tragedy of the commons scenario.”

(Daily Telegraph, 12.3.2013) www.telegraph.co.uk/science/9923954/Is-this-antibiotic-apocalypse.html.
There appears to be a reluctance and blindness in British medicine when it comes to looking for natural alternatives. Conventional medicine in Britain seems to be solely focussed on the use of pharmaceuticals.

We are not short of powerful and effective natural antibiotics. They can be bought in every corner shop and supermarket for less than £1.

What is this antibiotic?

It is garlic.

Not only an effective antibiotic, garlic also thins the blood, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar level, prevents respiratory infections, works as a powerful anti-viral and antifungal, all without destroying the beneficial gut bacteria.

These are all positive effects. But the best thing about it is, the use of garlic will NOT lead to bacterial resistance. Pharmaceutical antibiotics are relatively simple chemicals, all standardised. This standardisation makes it easy for bacteria to develop resistance and share this trait with other bacteria.

Each bulb of garlic is similar to another bulb of garlic but it differs enough thanks to the geography of where each was grown that bacteria find it extremely difficult if not impossible to develop resistance.

This is excellent news when we’re considering Professor Dame Sally Davies’ warning

An old wive’s tale?

Certainly not.

Thousand of research papers have been written. By 1996 there were over 1,800 scientific studies completed on the subject of garlic. The active ingredients in this common but precious bulb are alliin and allicin, a sulphate.

Garlic contains almost 80 sulphur compounds. Allicin destroys gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria making it an effective natural broad spectrum antibiotic without harming the friendly intestinal bacteria in the gut.

The Daily Mail published an article last May about garlic based on these findings:

“A compound in garlic, diallyl disulfide, according to an article in the May issue of the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, is more than 100 times more potent than Cipro or erythromycin in food borne illnesses caused by campylobacter, pathogenic E. coli, and listeria infections. There are far more complication from pharmaceutical drugs than from this garlic extract. There are about 2.4 million cases of campylobacter infections in the US annually. Diallyl sulfide is far more capable to penetrating the biofilm these bacteria exude than antibiotics and work in a fraction of the time and far more effectively in shutting down their metabolism.”


Campylobacter infection is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, according to the Food Standards Agency, and was responsible for 88 deaths in England and Wales in 2009.

Garlic not only deals with bacterial infections but also supports the body in its effort to prevent and heal from viral infections. It stimulates the production of interferon, a protein in cell membranes, which is the body’s own anti-viral protection.

“Hippocrates, who lived 460 to 370 B.C. and is considered the father of western medicine, recommended garlic for pneumonia and other infections, for cancer and for digestive disorders, as well as a diuretic to increase the flow of urine and a substance to improve menstrual flow”. www.amazingherbs.com/meduseofgari.html

In 1665 the London College of Physicians recommended garlic for the Plague. Leading English physician, Sydenham, used garlic to help cure small pox. Even Louis Pasteur, one of the founders of medical microbiology, demonstrated in 1858, that garlic could kill infectious germs.

A safe way to deal with the apocalyptic scenario is to eat garlic regularly and ask for pharmaceutical antibiotics as a last resort.

Recipe: blend or juice three cloves of garlic, a couple of tomatoes, lemon juice and a pinch of ginger to make a delicious antibacterial and antiviral drink. Of course myriad recipes exist and you will have your favourites.

My advice is to use garlic generously in cooking and in salads.

Warning: Since garlic has a mild blood thinning effect, people who use aspirin or warfarin must be cautious and have regular blood tests to prevent excessive blood thinning.
Garlic - April 2013 Newsletter
Garlic is an everyday ingredient that really can help us avoid Antibiotic apocalypse, the ticking time bomb, or the catastrophic threat to population that antibiotic resistance can lead to.
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