garlic in bowl 263x164 Serious Medicine in a Bowl: 52 Clove Garlic Defeats Colds and FlusWinter isn’t far off and you know what that means: colds, flues and, assorted respiratory infections. Why not start boosting your immune system before winter settles in? Only this winter, you’ll want to try utilizing the amazing immune-boosting spice known as garlic. As the weather cools and seasons shift, preserve your health, fortify your internal defenses, and eradicate seasonal illness with warming spices and foods like a 52 clove garlic soup.

Real food is the best medicine money can buy. Remember the cure is in the kitchen!

Garlic is Nature’s Original Wonder Drug

The Greeks, Egyptians and Romans effectively used garlic to treat a host of ailments including infections, digestive problems, and high blood pressure. Many Italians even used to send their children to school with garlands of garlic around their necks to prevent colds.

During World War 1, British army doctors successfully treated life threatening infections by applying raw, garlic juice diluted with water directly to wounds. Russian army physicians used the same garlic protocol in World War II with the addition of garlic and onions added to the diet.

Many of the health benefits of garlic are due to an active compound known as allicin. Allicin is the compound in garlic that gives it its pungent odor as well as its powerful health benefits.  A mere one milligram of allicin is nearly 15x as potent as penicillin. The compound offers a broad spectrum of protection against pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, antibiotic resistant MRSA, yeast infections, and is even one of many amazing cancer-fighting foods.

Garlic contains 33 active sulfur-containing substances. When ingested, allicin converts to sulfenic acid, which is the fastest acting free radical eliminator bar none.

Recently, the University of Florida found eating garlic increased the number of virus fighting T-cells in the bloodstream.

The Best Way to Consume Garlic

Savvy health experts increasingly promote eating whole foods as a foundational healing method as opposed to taking supplements, especially when it comes to garlic. Eating garlic is by far the best way to ensure garlic’s numerous health benefits.

Most consider the proper way to eat garlic for health purposes is to first smash a whole fresh clove with a garlic press, or chop it, or smash it with the back of a knife. Then wait about 5 minutes before consuming.

This ritual activates the potent, medicinal allicin in garlic. Caveat: If you buy powered or jarred garlic, you will not experience the full spectrum of medicinal benefits that garlic offers.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola,

“It is important to note that the garlic MUST be fresh. The active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic. Garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic it will be important to compress the garlic with a spoon prior to swallowing it if you are not going to juice it. If you swallow the clove intact you will not convert the allicin to its active ingredient.”

However, there are two other schools of thought regarding the best way to prepare garlic for health purposes. Argentinian researchers discovered garlic releases allicin when you bake the cloves, while other scientists advise peeling garlic and letting it sit uncovered for 15 minutes to release garlic’s full medicinal potential.

52 Clove Garlic Soup Recipe

This soup recipe incorporates all the above recommended methods of maximizing garlic’s health benefits, and it’s delicious!

Tweaked from preventdisease.com.

Serves 4

26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

2 tablespoons genuine olive oil

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) organic butter (grass fed)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup fresh ginger

2 1/4 cups sliced onions

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

26 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk (homemade is best)

3 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth

4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. After cooling, squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, thyme, ginger, turmeric, cayenne powder and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Smash 12 raw garlic and set aside. Add roasted garlic and 14 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes.

Add vegetable broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add almond milk or substitute and bring to simmer. Add 12 smashed garlic to finished soup and stir. Season with sea salt and pepper for flavor.

Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

Additional Sources:

Pubmed/23387242

The Journal of Nutrition