4. Claimed Health Benefits
Many authors claim that garlic is a "miracle food" and recommend it to 'cure' all types of ailments. Paavo Airola says, "garlic is, indeed, a tremendously nutritious health food and a miraculous healing plant. It can truthfully be called 'the king of the vegetable kingdom.'" In the book, Herbal Medicine, Dian Dincin Buchman says, "If garlic weren't so cheap, we would treasure it as if it were pure gold. Garlic draws out pain, helps in resisting a cold, is an aid in combating hypertension, is a remarkable vermifuge (releases worms from the system), quiets the body, tranquilizes, can be directly applied to warts to whittle them down, can be used (diluted in lots of water) to irrigate the colon to control amoebic dysentery, and can help treat mild cases of mononucleosis."
In other words, garlic is a powerful drug which results in the suppression of symptoms. But causes have not been removed and no healing has occurred. We have, in fact, halted the healing process when we suppress the symptoms.
4.1 Reduced Blood Pressure
Paavo Airola says that, "In my own clinical practice, I have treated many patients with high blood pressure; in most cases the blood pressure was reduced 20-30 mm. in one week by taking large amounts of garlic and garlic preparations."
This was a very dramatic drop in the blood pressure of this patient. What would cause this pressure to drop so quickly? Was it the 'miracle' preparation of garlic? No, garlic has no ability to act just as no drug has the property to act upon the body. But the body does respond to food and toxins which enter. Furthermore, the garlic does not have a mind of its own to treat specific symptoms. It goes through the same digestive process as other foods and enters the circulation. The body detects it as a poison and marshals all of its forces to deal with that poison. Meanwhile, other bodily functions are slowed or depressed while this energy is being directed toward the emergency at hand. If there were healing in the heart, the body would have to stop this process in order to deal with the poison. Continued consumption of large amounts of garlic would have a continued depressing effect on the heart and all the bodily organs and a state of enervation or exhaustion would occur. It may be especially enervating on the heart as opposed to another organ in persons who have high blood pressure because this may be their weakest organ. One should not palliate symptoms but remove the cause of disease.
4.2 Prevents Plague Formation In Arteries
It is claimed that garlic prevents the formation of plaque in the arteries and thus helps prevent the development of artheriosclerosis and heart disease. Paavo Airola describes one experiment where one-fourth pound of butter at one time was given to five healthy volunteers. Three hours after the volunteers had eaten the butter, their cholesterol levels had risen from an average of 221.4 to 237.4. Later, the same volunteers received the same amount of butter along with the juice of 50 grams of garlic. This time, the cholesterol levels, instead of rising, went down from 228.7 to 212.7 in three hours. Now that really was a "miracle," or was it?
Now we must recognize that no one consumes one-fourth pound of butter in one sitting. The cholesterol levels in the blood would naturally rise after such a meal. But this is where the cholesterol should be after the meal—in the blood. Excess is then eliminated (as much as possible). That is, under ordinary circumstances, the excess would be eliminated when the body is not so drastically overloaded.
When the volunteers were given garlic with the butter, blood cholesterol levels were reduced. Where did the fat go? Did it disappear? No, it is still in the body, but it is in the tissues and has not remained in the blood. Allicin makes the cells and tissues more permeable and substances enter which would not ordinarily enter.
Garlic also interferes with certain physiological processes. It is known to interfere with the synthesis or breakdown of lipids in the liver. This is why the cholesterol level of those ingesting garlic over a period of time is lower. However, the body synthesizes cholesterol in the liver for a reason and it is needed for certain cellular functions. Any agent which interferes with any normal bodily function is health-destroying and not health-promoting.
The body has its own way of controlling the amount of cholesterol which is in the plasma. Cholesterol synthesis, as well as the hepatic mechanism for removing this steroid from the plasma, are both stimulated by thyroxine. Thyroxine is the hormone which is produced by the thyroid gland. This hormone plays a role in many metabolic activities besides control of cholesterol in the plasma as will be explained later. The output of thyroxine is controlled directly by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) secreted by the anterior pituitary. These mechanisms are part of the body's homeostatic mechanisms of checks and balances to keep all bodily actions and reactions in harmony and in balance.
A substance which is present in garlic as well as onions is mustard oil. Mustard oil is metabolically converted to thiocyanate in the body. This substance contributes to the formation of goiter by decreasing thyroxine synthesis in the thyroid gland. Thus, when garlic is eaten, thyroxine is decreased and therefore cholesterol synthesis is reduced.
Garlic then results in the interference of a very important homeostatic mechanism. The impairment of this mechanism does not have just one effect but many. Remember, the body works as a unit and never as separate independent parts.
People think that they have discovered a wonder drug or a miracle food just because one symptom has vanished—in this case, elevated serum cholesterol. In reality, it is a grave deception—an illusion.
Quite often one hears that excessive lipids are the major causes of heart disease. This is not quite the truth. The real cause is the overloading of toxins created through the over-consumption of fats in the diet and in general, an unnatural diet.
4.3 Garlic Cures Anemia
It has been claimed that garlic extract has a beneficial effect in the treatment of anemia. This is far from being the truth. In fact, the use of garlic actually results in anemia. The red blood cells are actually destroyed by the allicin in garlic.
4.4 A Cure For Arthritis
It has been claimed that garlic exhibits some anti-inflammatory activity and is therefore effective in the treatment of arthritis.
One cannot get well by suppressing disease. We must remove the cause of disease and provide the conditions for health. Then the body will heal. Garlic undoubtedly does have some anti-inflammatory drug effects. However, this is not a good aspect but an adverse one. Inflammation should never be suppressed as it is a healing response without which even a mild infection could become fatal. To suppress this response by an anti-inflammatory agent is to suppress healing. To more fully understand the consequences of suppressing inflammation, we will take a closer look at this process.
As mentioned, inflammation is a healing response within the body. Whenever there is tissue damage as a result of disease or injury, the damaged tissue cells produce histamines. These histamines cause changes in tiny blood vessels, which in turn release fluids into the injured area. Local blood flow increases, bringing blood cells whose specialty is destroying foreign microbes to the area. Along with these disease-preventing cells comes fibrinogen, which causes clotting. The clotting results in what is called "walling off," that is, Nature literally builds a partition between the infected area and the rest of your body. The effect is to prevent the infection from spreading. This partition, or wall, stops body fluids from moving outside the infected area, and these fluids build up in the area, causing the characteristic swelling of inflammation.
Before inflammation can arise, there must exist an exciting cause in the form of some obstruction or of some agent inimical to health and life. In this light, we see inflammation as a healing process.
The body does not suppress the growth and multiplication of disease germs until the morbid matter (toxins) on which they subsist has been decomposed and consumed, and until the inflammatory processes have run their course. The use of serums, antitoxins or anti-inflammatory agents given to suppress germ activity and the process of inflammation before it has run its natural course will lay the foundation for chronic destructive disease.
4.6 Garlic—A Body Detoxifier
How could any agent which is so poisonous and irritating be a detoxifier? It does, in fact, add toxins to the body. It is claimed that it detoxifies by stimulating the liver, the nervous system and the circulation. This stimulating effect is in reality the body's response to an unwanted agent and the body's efforts to eliminate it as quickly as possible. The ingestion of this food as a stimulant will, according to the Law of Duel Effects, eventually depress these organs. Only much harm can come from this practice.
4.7 An Anticoagulant Agent
One of the so-called benefits of garlic is claimed to be its anti-coagulant factor. In other words, it inhibits blood clot formation. In truth, this is not a benefit but an undesirable factor. As we all know, if our blood did not clot, we would bleed to death from a slight wound.
In certain disease conditions, a thrombosis (blood clot) occurs in the blood vessels. But if given the proper conditions, the body is equipped to handle this also. Nature has its own anticlotting factors. Heparin occurs naturally in the body tissues. It reduces the ability of blood to clot by blocking the change of prothrombin to thrombin. Thrombin is the enzyme responsible for the formation of fibrin which is the structural ingredient in blood clots.
If a blood clot occurs with a blood vessel, a system within the body called the fibrinolytic system digests the fibrin clots into a number of soluble fragments.
4.8 Pesticidal Properties
The following are just some of the pesticidal properties of garlic:
Would you put a pesticide on your salad? We had better leave the garlic in the garden!
Home > Lesson 36 - Junk Foods: A Case Study Of Garlic And Onions
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