Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Review - Garlic: Nature's Original Remedy

I just finished reading Garlic: Nature's Original Remedy by Stephen Fulder and John Blackwood. This is the first of the books we picked up at this year's Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs that I've read. Andrea picked this one up for me because she knows I am very interested in garlic, both for its culinary and medicinal uses.

At just 118 pages, this book is fairly short, but contains a lot of good information. The focus, as one might guess from the title, is on the medicinal uses of garlic. The author presents many examples of garlic being used medicinally throughout history and various cultures. Several quotes are provided from influential figures such as Hippocrates and Herodotus, as well as many others. It is very clear that garlic has been widely used for much more than just a food.

This book is much more than a history, however. As the focus shifts to the various medicinal uses of
garlic the author begins citing several scientific studies. While I'm sure that some of the claims may be somewhat exaggerated, it seems that there is enough evidence to justify at least experimenting with garlic for treating some of the ailments listed. Conditions that garlic has been used to treat include infections, digestive problems, high cholesterol, and several others.

Also included in the book is information on the various preparations of garlic. The recommended method of consuming garlic is raw, which happens to be my preferred method. It is mentioned, however, that many people in the US find the taste overwhelming, so alternatives are given, such as mixing crushed garlic with water and honey. Commercial preparations, such as garlic powders, tablets, and oils are also discussed, along with an explanation of which of the benefits of garlic can be gained from each.

The author does not claim that garlic is a miracle drug, and provides examples of situations where drugs should be taken instead. For example, while it is suggested that natural remedies are great alternatives to antibiotics for minor infections, it is suggested that for the treatment of something such as pneumonia, antibiotics are the better option. I find that I trust a source more when they provide examples of cases in which the idea they are promoting may not be the best solution.

I have previously attempted a regular regimen of raw garlic intake. I did seem to feel better while regularly eating garlic, but didn't stick with it. Reading this book has made me want to give it another shot. The author suggests consuming 9 grams of raw garlic daily, ideally in three doses of 3 grams each. I was not weighing the garlic before, but was likely averaging around 5 grams per day I believe. A dose of 3 grams should be easier to handle, so I will try doing this at least a couple of times per day if I can remember to do so.

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