Herbs are so much part of our everyday lives we probably don’t realise how much we use them. Equally, we don’t realise how much they can help us so we wanted to give you more information on these valuable plants.
Herbal medicine is ancient wisdom that has been used throughout the world over centuries. Herbal preparations are made directly from the plant, and use different parts from leaves, flowers, seeds, rhizomes through to roots. Depending on the herb they can come in tincture, paste, tablets or teas.
Our everyday use of herbs includes
Like all medicine herbs do require specialist knowledge to ensure they are used correctly. We are providing you with an overview of the more commonly known herbs. Our blog will identify the traditional associations relating to each herb. EFSA do not issue any supported claims for herbs.
The MHRA is the government’s medical regulatory agency. Any herbal product must be recognised by this body before claims can be made about it.
What this means to you is that no one can tell you that this product is good for specific conditions, nor can they suggest to you how much you can take or even if you should take it.
The Health Benefits of Garlic
As we enter the autumnal season colds are back. I am writing this thinking of all the people around me with sniffles and coughs at the moment.
We thought it would be a good idea to remind you of the special qualities of garlic which will be a great support to you and your family through the winter months.
Garlic, like so many herbs, has ancient traditions of usage. Garlic has been part of our health culture for thousands of years being used in Chinese medicine, by the Greeks and the Romans. Fast forward to current times and garlic is accredited with helping us with a wide variety of health conditions.
Why is garlic so beneficial?
Garlic provides us with the following health properties:
With all of these beneficial properties it is clear why it is so effective at supporting our immune system and general health. Research indicates that garlic can actually reduce the duration of a cold. It is a brilliant all-rounder offering us help in so many different ways.
In addition, it also offers us:
- Good levels of nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese plus many more smaller nutrients
- Potential reductions of heart disease and in turn high blood pressure
- Adds great flavour to food
- A natural bug deterrent to protect your garden plants
My favourite experience of using garlic was a few years ago when I went on a sailing holiday in Greece. Being very susceptible to mosquito bites I had learnt that garlic could help me. Fortunately, tzatziki is a favourite food of mine. I consumed lots of tzatziki made with raw garlic – yummy! I did smell of garlic and it was exuding from all of me but the great news was that I didn’t get bitten. The rest of the crew really suffered so I know the garlic made the difference for me.
Why does garlic work?
Research indicates that the sulphur compounds contribute very positively to all the benefits we have highlighted. One of the key compounds is allicin which is released when the garlic is freshly cut or crushed.
Garlic is very beneficially associated with our heart health. Research indicates that garlic helps to widen our blood vessels. This in turn helps keep our blood pressure under control. Garlic also works as an anticoagulant ensuring that as our platelets don’t clump together sticking to our artery walls. This makes us less susceptible to heart attacks.
To add even further support garlic helps us reduce our levels of bad cholesterol which of course ultimately helps our hearts too.
The antioxidant properties of garlic are a real boost in terms of slowing down the ageing processes; the strong antioxidant properties help prevent cell damage which in turn leads to ageing, add garlic to your life and extend your life!
There are many more uses of garlic and potential benefits some of these remain unproven but watch this space we are sure research will catch up soon!
Including garlic in your diet
As a nation we love garlic so for most of you this will be easy. Just add a bulb of garlic to:
- Stews and casseroles
- Pasta sauces
- Stir fry’s
- Vegetable smoothies
- Butter for your bruschetta or pizza topping
The downside of garlic…
Many people get put off using garlic because of garlic breath and sometimes the aftertaste. We have the solution another herb – parsley! Either chew on some parsley or sprinkle on top of your food and make it part of your dish.
We hope you have found this blog informative and look forward to hearing your comments!