is for Garlic
the palmy days before World War I, my mother would leave Budapest
with her family to visit relatives in the mountains of Romania.
Her grandfather would place her on his knee and impart these words
of patriarchal advice: "Eat garlic." My great grandfather's
farm was near Kolosvar (now Cluj) in Transylvania. Of course this
was the stomping ground of the tyrant Vlad the Impaler, the real-life
model for Dracula. Nowadays, the Romanians run Vampire Tours for
bored American tourists, but in those days the existence of vampires
was a serious matter. And so, my ancestor's advice probably had
less to do with the health effects of garlic than with its known
ability to ward off the unwanted attention of the Undead.
forward to the 21st century. This month, the number of medical publications
on garlic topped 1,500, over 250 of which are related to cancer.
Garlic and its cousins (onions, chives, scallions and leeks) are
probably the most intriguing of all vegetables. Garlic lowers cholesterol,
reduces the risk of heart disease, fights infection and boosts immunity.
And, as if that weren't enough, the data is strong for the prevention
of cancers of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach,
colon and rectum. The NCI is sponsoring a huge clinical trial on
garlic's ability to prevent stomach cancer. But why wait years for
the results of this clinical trial? You can't go wrong if you follow
my progenitor's advice and eat garlic, along with other foods of
the allium family.
of China have the misfortune to be among those places with an inordinately
high rate of cancer of the stomach and esophagus. Scientists at
the Nanjing Cancer Institute compared the incidence of several cancers
among thousands of those who ate lots of allium vegetables versus
thousands who ate little or none. ("Lots" in this case
means at least once per week while "little" means less
than once per month.)
is how allium vegetables prevented cancer of the esophagus:
percent reduction for those who ate lots of scallions
percent for onions
percent for garlic
percent for chives
figures for stomach cancer prevention are equally impressive:
percent reduction for those who ate lots of onions
percent for scallions
percent for garlic
percent for chives
you can see, scallions and onions may be even
more powerful than garlic in preventing some cancers. It
is a good idea to incorporate all of these foods into your weekly,
or even daily, diet. I keep them all handy -- scallions with ginger
and garlic on a piece of broiled fish, sweet, red or Vidalia onions
chopped up for a tuna or mesclun salad, chives for a scoop of cottage
cheese there are numerous possibilities. If you do cook these vegetables,
do so with a light touch. Always put garlic in last when you are
cooking and let it get just soft enough to eat, never mushy. Antibacterial
was Louis Pasteur who first described the antibacterial effect of
onion and garlic juices. In World War II garlic was called "Russian
penicillin" because it was the main antibiotic available on
the Eastern Front. It kills both gram-positive and gram-negative
bacteria. Garlic is effective even against antibiotic-resistant
strains. It even kills Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a kind of
bacteria that is implicated in the cause of some stomach cancers
people avoid eating garlic since it can make one's breath smell
pretty bad. In that case, garlic supplements are a convenient alternative.
Such products were originally developed for the Japanese market,
because the Japanese regard garlic breath as a major faux pas. Later,
however, it was found that aged garlic has unusual health qualities
of its own. While Larry King is busy promoting garlic supplements,
I think the main focus should remain on allium vegetables as foods.
that spring is upon us, think about growing your own. Chives are
easy to grow in a small herbal garden. Onions can be raised from
seed under a couple of Gro-Lites. Garlic cloves should be put in
the ground in the fall for harvest the following summer.
is a safe food and has been eaten with gusto for millennia. However,
I once ate several raw cloves of garlic at a sitting and wound up
with sharp pains in my stomach, so there is a limit. But by and
large these are safe foods. You will do yourself a favor by making
them part of your diet. Plus, there is the added benefit that if
Vlad happens to drops by, you'll be prepared.
is directed by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven
acclaimed books including Antioxidants Against Cancer, Herbs Against
Cancer, Questioning Chemotherapy, and Cancer Therapy. He consults
for thousands of clients through his Moss Reports service. The
Moss Reports specializes in educating cancer patients about
the most promising alternative treatments for their condition.
from Chet: Be sure to sign up for Dr. Moss's excellent newsletter
at his website.
You'll learn about a lot more than garlic, believe me.
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