Garlic, one of natures medicines.
For hundreds of years, garlic has been renowned for its usefulness in treating a whole range of ailments, from impotence to stomach bugs. But recent studies have found that garlic has more serious health benefits for the heart and cancer prevention than folklore could ever have predicted.
Garlic contains two key compounds, a sulphur-rich amino acid called allicin and a protein-based enzyme called allinase. The clove has no smell until you slice or crush it, allowing the compounds to mix and form a third compound, called allicin.
Allicin is a volatile compound that survives for just a few hours. It is a powerful natural antibiotic - about one-fiftieth as powerful as penicillin - and also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
Allicin exists only in raw garlic. Cooking kills it and causes it to decay into other compounds which are less effective.
Garlic also contains about ten different kinds of natural sugars, including fructose, glucose and insulin, as well as relatively high levels of the trace minerals copper, iron, zinc, tin, calcium, manganese, aluminium, germanium and selenium. The level of selenium in garlic is higher than in almost any other plant.
Garlic works inside the body by promoting the ability of white blood cells to fight infections, and by stimulating other immune cells which fight viral and bacterial infections as well as cancer.