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"The Healing Power of Garlic"

By Paul Bergner

Copyright © 1996 by Paul Bergner

Published by Prima Publishing

ISBN 0-7615-0098-7

Reviewed by Michael Kisor

Garlic is nature's wonder drug. Its medicinal value has been understood by herbalists for at least 2000 years. While modern research is confirming this ancient tradition, don't expect to hear much about it from the pharmaceutical companies or their puppets: allopathic doctors (i.e. "conventional medical doctors"). Garlic cannot be patented and exploited as such. They will attempt to find an "active ingredient," derive a drug from it, and patent and promote that. Vitamin and supplement companies, on the other hand, are extolling some of the virtues of garlic and promoting their "deodorized" products. But these products are not nearly as effective as raw garlic. Once again, the best source for proper nutrition comes from food itself.

Garlic contains hundreds of minerals and nutrients. It is very likely that no one ingredient is the "active ingredient." It is very likely that garlic's effectiveness and safety comes from these ingredients working together in concert. And if any particular ingredient should be found more potent than the others, and that ingredient were isolated and made into a medicine, it will probably have powerful negative side effects like virtually every other drug in use today.

The Healing Power of Garlic   discusses the historical uses of garlic, current research findings, and how to prepare and apply it for various ailments. Garlic has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal characteristics. Garlic is as effective as many modern antibiotics, without the dangerous side effects. What's more, garlic is an antiviral. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. In fact, in all of modern pharmacology, there are no effective antiviral drugs. This has important implications for AIDS patients, and in preventing colds and flu's. Included in this book is a recipe for garlic nose drops, which in animal studies have proved to be 100% effective in preventing influenza. Considering the danger of allopathic flu inoculations, of which one of the side-effects can include death, this is welcome news.

Then there are these words from Dr. Herbert Pierson, of the United States National Cancer Institute:

Garlic is a veritable pharmacopeia. That's why garlic has been found in every medical book of every culture ever. For thousands of years, garlic had been used for the treatment and preventcon of disease. So there has to be something there.
The Healing Power of Garlic   is a valuable book and one which is well worth having on your bookshelf. I heartly recommend this book.

Blurb from the back cover of The Healing Power of Garlic:  
Healing traditions have recognized garlic as a natural "wonder drug" for thousands of years. Now medical research indicates garlic may prevent and even reverse high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, as well as a host of other serious health problems. In fact, a recent head-to-head comparison proved garlic just as effective as the leading cholesterol-reducing drug in lowering cholesterol levels.

This comprehensive handbook describes exactly how to use garlic as a versatile, powerful, and effective medicine for a tremendous variety of common illnesses. The simple treatments described in this book can help you:

Paul Bergner is editor of Medical Herbalism and Clinical Nutrition Update, and a faculty member at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Boulder, Colorado.

Author's Introduction to The Healing Power of Garlic:  

Is garlic a spice or a medicine? Is it therapeutic for the major diseases of our times? Scientists posed these two questions, respectively, in the titles of articles appearing in research journals in 1988. Most of us know of garlic as a favorite seasoning in salad dressings and as a staple of French, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese cooking. But garlic is also a medicine, an unusually powerful and versatile one, that has been used since the dawn of medicine.

From epidemiological studies of cancer in China and Italy to clinical trials in high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the United States, Europe, and Japan, garlic has come under intense scientific scrutiny in the last ten years as a potential "wonder drug." Much of this research has investigated the effects of garlic in cardiovascular disease. This priority of research is probably inspired by the prominence of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, the leading causes of death in the industrialized world.

In 1994, scientists reviewing a collection of previous clinical trials of garlic concluded that it lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure, two important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Notably, normal dietary amounts of garlic did this without any side effects more serious than a garlic odor in a small percentage of participants. Conventional drugs for these diseases cause side effects such as dry mouth, insomnia, drowsiness, depression, and impotence. In a head-to-head trial comparing garlic against the cholesterol-lowering drug bezafibrate, garlic was just as effective. This is good news for the 25 percent of men and women aged twenty-five to fifty-nine in the United States who have high cholesterol levels.

Scientists have also recently investigated the possibility that garlic can prevent or treat some kinds of cancer. As early as 1981, scientists noted that populations in China eating more garlic had less incidence of stomach cancer than those eating less garlic. By 1985, researchers experimenting with constituents of garlic had identified mechanisms that could inhibit tumors. One focus of research has been the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic -- the very compounds responsible for the odor of garlic coming from the skin of people who eat a lot of it. By 1994, the lower cancer rates among garlic eaters in China were found to also hold true in Italy and in Iowa. Scientists have now found evidence for the cancer-preventing effects of garlic from such population research, from research on isolated cancer cells, and from animal research. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and this research suggests that garlic may help prevent stomach, bladder, breast, colon, and esophageal cancers.

So it seems that the answer to the questions posed by the scientists in 1988 is "yes." Garlic is indeed a medicine and it is a preventive for the major diseases of our times. But so far, we've only been talking about prevention. What about treatment? Garlic has been used since the dawn of written history in medicine, and its main uses have remained virtually unchanged, meaning they have been verified by one generation after another. In contemporary systems of traditional medicine, such as Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, modern naturopathic medicine, British herbalism, and others, garlic remains in use as a therapeutic agent. In 1993 and 1994, in my Medical Herbalism journal, I ran a survey of contemporary herbalists in North America to find out what herbs they used most often. Garlic ranked seventh out of the top fifty herbs mentioned. Note that this is not based on sales of garlic but the actual prescription of it as a medicine by clinical professionals, including naturopathic physicians, chiropractic physicians, acupuncturists, and a variety of lay herbalists. A summary of these uses shows that garlic is like a medicine chest in itself:

Many of these uses come from the antibiotic and immune-stimulating effects of garlic constituents (historically, garlic was found useful even for prevention of the bubonic plague, the dreaded Black Death!). Garlic can treat or prevent many diseases caused by infection by bacteria, viruses, molds, or parasites.

In this book, I'll explain the historical and contemporary uses of garlic in detail. I'll explain how modern science understands garlic to work as a medicine. Then I'll tell you how to make more than thirty different kinds of medicinal garlic preparations and how to use them for yourself or your children in the home care of minor health complaints or in cooperation with your physician as substitutes for pharmaceutical medications. I'll help you sort out what forms of commercial garlic to use and how to find your way through the competitive advertising claims for these products. Finally, I'll thoroughly discuss the possible side effects of garlic (no medicine this powerful could be without side effects) and explain how you might overcome them if you happen to be sensitive to garlic. I'll even tell you traditional ways to overcome or adapt to the odor of garlic if that's a concern for you.

We have grown up in the era of so-called wonder drugs. Garlic seems to be perhaps the greatest wonder drug of all. Imagine a single pharmaceutical drug that could prevent heart attacks, reduce cancer risk, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and act as an antibiotic. Each generation since before the time of the first scriptures has found garlic to be an indispensable medicine. Modern science is adding to this traditional knowledge. I hope you will learn its benefits for yourself.

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