My past posts have focused on onions, but now I’d like to talk about a distant cousin: garlic. I say distant cousin, but they are taxonomically very similar. But if they are similar, why is onion bad and garlic good? I don’t think anyone is quite sure, actually. They both have similar chemistry, but garlic has a lot less of the chemicals that cause Heinz-body anemia.
So garlic isn’t bad. But why do I think its good? There are many great things about garlic – it is a great natural antibiotic, antiviral, its great to treat fleas and parasites, and has vitamins and minerals to boot.
But does garlic have all of these great qualities?
Garlic has some of the most sulfur compounds of any food, but the main active compound in garlic is called Allicin:
On it’s own, Allicin has been shown to have a great amount of the antibacterial properties that has been shown in raw garlic. However, the mystery deepens. You see, Aliicin isn’t actually in a clove of Garlic. How is this so?
The compound that is in garlic is called Aliin. You can tell by the name that its a close relative.
So here is the interesting thing. When garlic is crushed, an enzyme in the garlic called Alliinase converts Alliin into Allicin. So one of the compounds that is most important in garlic doesn’t actually exist in garlic.
I haven’t really been able to find any scientific journals supporting this, but I have a theory. Maybe if you let garlic sit for a couple minutes after crushing it, it will be a more powerful antibiotic? It would let the Allinase enzyme produce more of the Allicin that has been effective. Again, just a theory, but it would make sense.
As I mentioned before, Garlic has many, many, many benefits, each with, presumably, a chemical constituent that is responsible for its effects. I’m sure I’ll come back to the wonders of Garlic in future articles!