Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sundays With (Grandma) Granny: The Healing Power of Garlic

I have recently befriended a fellow momma blogger.  That's right, I got peeps now.  Christy at Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered writes about the joys and trials of raising four small children.  I am in awe of her awesomeness, both as a mommy and a blogger.  I participated in her very first blog carnival, Parenting in America, with a piece called Parental Civil War.

Now I am thrilled to team up with her to present a weekly (mmmm, more like monthly) theme: Sundays With Grandma.  I have to change the title to Sundays With Granny, since that's what I always called my mom's mom and it just feels weird to call her grandma.

Granny's Senior Picture

My granny died when I was only 12 years old (not health related).  Though she has been gone for 20 years now, (crap, I just dated myself didn't I?) she remains one of the most influential people of my life.  As you will see, because I was so young, I took Granny's wisdom for granted.  As I embraced the fast paced, mass produced, chemically ridden world in my young adulthood, Granny's "old-fashioned" ways seemed to fall even farther into the back of my mind.

But ever since I have committed to living a more holistic/crunchy/green life, I feel her influence sweeping over me more than ever before.  It's such a comforting feeling - one I am so happy to share with Christy, and with you.  For our first installment, we bring to you Grandma and Granny's garlic wisdom.  To check out Mommy Outnumbered's post, click here.

The Healing Power of Garlic

Granny definitely knew the therapeutic powers of garlic.  But, as I said above, I was so young at the time.... this is an example of how our conversation on the wonders of garlic probably went:

"What are you eating, Granny?" I ask with a mouthful of no-bake cookies.

"A garlic sandwich," she informed me with a wrinkled up nose, already predicting my response.

"Ew, a garlic sandwich?" I mimicked her wrinkled nose.

"That's right, a raw garlic sanwich.  I know it sounds pretty icky, but it is very, very good for me.  One reason I stay so healthy is because of these garlic sandwiches."

"Oh.  Can we play Chinese checkers now?"

So, yeah, not very interested in the healthy magic of garlic at 10 years old.  And I have to admit, Granny's raw garlic sandwiches still sound pretty gross.  But I certainly admire her convictions.  Cut to a few weeks ago when I caught a cold and went on a frantic internet search for natural remedies.  Low and behold, garlic is great for colds! 

As I sat at the computer reading all about garlic, I was instantly transported back to Granny's yellow kitchen, watching Granny eating her raw garlic sandwich.  It was such a warm feeling - I could almost feel her over my shoulder, nudging me deeper and deeper into my research.

"Eat your garlic, Leachen Beachen! Live long and be healthy!" I could almost hear her voice in my ear.  (The explanation of the crazy nickname will have to wait.)  What I learned - what Granny would have told me if she were here - is that garlic really is a natural wonder drug, and has been utilized as such for thousands and thousands of years.  Here are just a few of the numerous ways garlic can improve health:

1. Fight the Sickies

Many studies have shown that garlic has significant antibiotic qualities and can help the body fight off illnesses caused by bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses, and protozoa.  Garlic also works cooperatively with other remedies; combining it with prescribed antibiotics can be more effective than the antibiotics alone.

Many women praise garlic as a natural yeast infection remedy - taken either orally or vaginally.  Garlic has been used in place of vaccines in poorer countries and has also been successful in the treatment of viral herpes and pneumonia.

2.  Prevent the Sickies

Like with Granny's sandwiches, raw garlic consumed on a regular basis can boost the immune system.  Studies have shown that garlic increases the activity of a certain type of white blood cells called Natural killer (NK) cells.  Garlic can also aid the body's production of interleukins, which help regulate the immune system. 

3.  Help Guard Against Heart Diseases and Cancer

For decades now, garlic has been used to treat high blood pressure and numerous studies have shown reductions in systolic and diastolic pressures.  Garlic has been successful in the treatment of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and has also been used as an antithrombotic.  It should be noted that people with anticoagulant diseases should take caution when using garlic for therapeutic benefits.  The correlation between garlic and cancer definitely needs further study, but many experts now agree that garlic can produce therapeutic benefits with some cancers, including stomach and colon cancers.

Even with my new garlic knowledge, the thought of Granny's raw garlic sandwiches are still pretty intimidating, so I tried something a little different.  I crushed and minced one glove of organic garlic, added it to two tablespoons peanut butter, and spread onto wheat crackers.  I must say, not only was it eatable, but it was actually enjoyable.  Thank goodness my palate has matured from my no-bake cookie days.

How do you eat raw garlic?


The Complete Book of Garlic: A Guide for Gardeners, Growers, and Serious Cooks by Ted Jordan Meredith

***This post was originally written under my previous blog name, Zen and the Art of Cloth Diaper Maintenance.***


  1. love it! great job. Now we just need to be strong and learn to eat our garlic raw. I absolutely LOVE garlic cooked and use it in pretty much every meal I make, but the thought of eating it raw makes my gag reflex kick into overdrive lol.

  2. I tried something new today! I crushed one clove of garlic with my garlic press, then let it sit for 10 seconds. This is to let the ingredients mix and make the chemical reaction that gives all the health benefits. Then I put half on a spoon and then poured raw, local honey all over it. I put it in my mouth and swallowed it without chewing. I worked great - I tasted nothing but the yummy honey!


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