There’s nothing like a little garlic bread with an Italian meal, but flavoring food is just one of the many talents this little clove possesses. Scientists and nutritionists have long recommended it to detoxify the body, boost immune defenses, fortify the cardiovascular system, and kill fungi. But did you know that garlic is once again in the spotlight because of its ability to benefit the skin?
“The high sulfur content in garlic makes it able to tone up the skin and make hair more lustrous,” states a recent report by Natural News. “Garlic helps make skin smooth and supple, and strengthens nails.”
Actually, garlic has long had a reputation for curing skin ailments. The Herb Society of America reports that World War I military surgeons who lacked antibiotics used garlic to cleanse wounds, combat infections and protect against gangrene. To this day people use chopped garlic to cure common warts, nail fungus, boils, even reduce acne and acne scarring, simply by rubbing the herb onto the skin a few times a day. (A word to the wise-garlic can burn, so try a little first, and don’t use on compromised skin.) Some products have taken advantage of garlic’s anti-bacterial properties-Eminence Organic Skincare Garlic and Tomato Masque uses garlic to support its anti-blemish, clarifying and healing abilities.
Scientists credit “allicin,” garlic’s main biologically active component, for these beneficial effects. It works just as well from the inside out, so if you can’t use it directly on your skin, try adding more to your diet, or taking about 3 capsules a day. It will kill the bad guys inside you, helping your skin stay healthy.
What about fortifying and nurturing hair? (Chemotherapy not only causes hair loss, but once the hair grows back, makes it more thirsty for nourishment.) Garlic has long been used as a hair-loss remedy. Its ability to remove toxins and stimulate circulation is important to the health of the scalp. The Turkish hair-care brand “Nival” has recently released a shampoo for thinning hair that includes garlic, which they say will stimulate growth and prevent breakage.
Even better news: garlic has proven itself over and over again in cancer studies. The Iowa Women’s Health study found that women who regularly consumed garlic had 35% lower risk of developing colon cancer. A study in China found that smokers with high garlic intake had a lower risk of stomach cancer than smokers with low garlic intake. A series of studies by Pennsylvania State University’s J.A. Milner, and colleagues reported that aged garlic extract significantly prevented breast cancer in both the beginning (initiation) and later (promotion) stages. And the list goes on-28 out of 37 studies have been positive.
On top of that, recent studies are also showing some promise that garlic may help kill cancer cells. A report from the Republic of Korea found that an oil-soluble sulfur compound in garlic inhibited cell proliferation. And according to Indian researchers, ingesting garlic has been found to delay the formation and reduce the size of tumors in the skin.
If you want to prevent cancer, have healthier skin and hair, boost your immune system during treatment, or raise your odds of avoiding a recurrence, add a little more garlic in your life. To get the full benefit, doctors suggest you choose raw, and crush it up. (You can also buy crushed garlic in a jar.) Add to pasta sauces, meats, casseroles, stir fry, salads, and of course, as a topping for breads.
Have you upped your intake of garlic? Have any great home remedies? Let us know!
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