Herbal Healing – Garlic

Garlic’s health benefits and medicinal properties have long been known (1).

Garlic has long been considered a herbal “wonder drug”, with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague! It has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy, sometimes spelt phitotherapy). Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne and there is some evidence that it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels. It can even be effective as a natural mosquito repellent.

In general, a stronger tasting clove of garlic has more sulphur content and hence more medicinal value it’s likely to have. Some people have suggested that organically grown garlic tends towards a higher sulphur level and hence greater benefit to health. In my experience it certainly tastes better so I buy organic whenever possible whether or not it’s best for my health.
Some people prefer to take garlic supplements. These pills and capsules have the advantage of avoiding garlic breath.
Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted. The body does not appear to build up resistance to the garlic, so its positive health benefits continue over time.

Healthy Antioxidant
Studies have shown that garlic – especially aged garlic – can have a powerful antioxidant effect. Antioxidants can help to protect the body against damaging “free radicals”.
Side-Effects
Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could produce problems, for example irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract.
There are a few people who are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy include skin rash, temperature and headaches. Also, garlic could potentially disrupt anti-coagulants, so it’s best avoided before surgery. As with any medicine, always check with your doctor first and tell your doctor if you are using it. 

Herbal Healing – Strawberries

Health Benefits of the Strawberry

The USDA recommends that every American eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, but unfortunately, most people don’t even come close to that. Adding fresh strawberries to your diet, whether they are in salads, smoothies, or on their own, is a great way to get the servings of fruit you need for a well-rounded body and a healthy immune system.

What’s so nutritionally good about strawberries?
Strawberries contain a range of nutrients, with vitamin C heading the group. They also contain significant levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which fight free radicals. These antioxidant properties are believed to be linked to what makes the strawberry bright red.

So what are these weird free radicals? Free radicals are elements that can damage cells, and they are thought to contribute to the formation of many kinds of cancer.

In addition to vitamin C, strawberries also provide an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

So many uses for strawberries!
Strawberries are among the most versatile of fresh fruits. Unfortunately, they are quite perishable as well. So purchase fresh strawberries only a few days before they are to be eaten. When strawberries are in season locally this is rarely a problem. But at other times of the year, it may be necessary to make due with frozen strawberries, which lose much if not all of their nutrition.

At the produce section choose strawberries that are plump firm and free of mold and have a deep red color. Unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so be sure to choose the ripest, reddest strawberries, as they will provide the best taste and the highest nutrient density. Many people find that medium sized strawberries are sweeter and more flavorful than larger ones. When buying pre-packaged strawberries, be sure that the berries have not been packed too tightly, as this could cause them to be crushed or otherwise damaged.

Handle strawberries properly and store them well after they have been purchased. Like all fruit, strawberries should be washed thoroughly prior to eating or storage. Any strawberries that show signs of mold should be discarded at once, as they will contaminate the remaining strawberries. The strawberries should be placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and kept in the refrigerator. Fresh strawberries will keep in the fridge for a few days.