Tag Archives: gut bacteria

The Many Uses for Garlic

Garlic is closely related to onion, chive, leek, and shallot and has been used by humans for thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt it was used for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about five thousand years ago. It is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer. Some of these uses are supported by science.

Chew a raw clove of garlic and you might exhale noxious, eye-watering stink all day, but you’ll also repel mosquitoes (and vampires), increase your immunity, heal cold sores and expel parasites. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, killing bacteria, fungus, viruses and mould, so it’s an important ally for natural health. Check out these unusual and sometimes strange alternative uses for garlic.


Slice open a clove of raw, fresh garlic and apply it to breakouts as a home remedy for acne. Your skin won’t smell terribly good, but the antibacterial properties of garlic will help lessen the appearance of acne, even those deep acne cysts that can otherwise be difficult to treat.

Cold sore treatment

These unsightly lesions always seem to pop up at the most inopportune times, like the morning before a big date. Raw garlic may work just as well as commercial medical treatments, though the acidity may cause discomfort at first. Cut a garlic clove in half and place it directly on the cold sore for 10 minutes, several times a day. Garlic supplements in capsule form may also speed up the healing process.

Mosquito repellent

Garlic can work wonders in warding off pesky mosquitoes without the use of potentially toxic chemicals. Try this garlic mosquito spray: let a few minced cloves of garlic infuse an ounce of mineral oil for 24 hours, strain, and mix the garlic-scented oil with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain again if necessary and pour into a spray bottle.

Weight Loss Aid

Even though its potent flavour may make you want to eat a lot of it, garlic actually has weight loss properties, according to some research. Compounds found in garlic send your brain signals of satiety, which will actually help you to feel full faster. It also boosts metabolic function helping you to burn more calories as well.

Athlete’s foot

Garlic is a potent natural anti-fungal, making it ideal for treating fungal infections like irritating and itchy athlete’s foot. Add a few cloves of crushed garlic to warm water in a foot bath and soak the affected foot for 30 minutes.

Ear infections

A common folk remedy for centuries, garlic can indeed kill the bacteria that cause ear infections. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should shove a clove of garlic into your ear and hope for the best. Crush a clove of garlic with a press and place it in a teaspoon of hot olive oil for five minutes. Strain, allow it to cool and drip a few drops at a time into your ear canal. You can also purchase garlic oil made for this purpose at natural health food stores.

Splinter removal

Splinters are painful to remove and sometimes they slice too far into the skin to pull out. Instead of waiting for it to come out on its own, try this odd trick: place a thin slice of garlic over the splinter and hold on with a bandage. The garlic should help the splinter work its way out of the skin within hours.

Skin cleanser

It’s not exactly common, but some women swear by using garlic as a facial cleanser to dry out acne and tighten and exfoliate the skin. It will definitely burn, so take care if you have any open wounds. Make a paste of finely minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser and sugar; massage into skin in circular motions, then rinse.

Gas prevention

High in sulphur, garlic can be the culprit for uncomfortable stomach-distending gas for some people, but for others, it can reportedly ease it. The trick may be consuming it on a regular basis in order to maintain intestinal health. Garlic kills harmful intestinal bacteria and promotes the growth of beneficial flora, making digestion much smoother.

Yeast infections

At the first sign of a yeast infection, many women around the world turn to a rather unusual natural remedy: raw, peeled garlic cloves (not cut), typically tied in a strip of cheesecloth and inserted with a tampon applicator. Garlic’s anti-fungal properties go to work on the yeast, supposedly keeping the infection at bay.

Psoriasis relief

The persistent tightness and itching of psoriasis could be eased or even prevented by garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties. Active compounds in garlic interact with arachidonic acid, an omega fatty acid in the skin linked to psoriasis. Garlic oil may be rubbed directly on affected areas once or twice per day.

Cough syrup

Ease inflammation in the throat and clear up excess mucus by using garlic as cough syrup. Try steeping raw, minced garlic in hot water, straining it after five minutes and drinking the liquid as tea; you can add ginger and honey to make it more palatable.

Mole removal

This method is almost certainly not recommended by dermatologists, and mole removal is best left to medical professionals, especially since skin doctors can tell upon excision whether the mole shows signs of malignancy. However, many people choose to go it alone, and garlic oil applied several times per day and covered with a bandage is an often repeated DIY route.

Cold banisher

Can garlic cure and prevent colds naturally? It’s been in use for this purpose for centuries, and there’s a good reason for that. Researchers believe that allicin, the main biologically active component of garlic, could block enzymes that may impede bacterial and viral infections. Eat three to four cloves of garlic per day, preferably raw and crushed, adding them to soups, stews, pasta sauces and salad dressings.

Hair loss help

Whether you’ve over-dyed your hair to the point of constant shedding or you’re just going bald, garlic may be worth a shot before you resort to more drastic measures. Some people believe that massaging the scalp with garlic oil stimulates hair growth.

Parasite killer

Many alternative health practitioners advise using raw garlic to expel intestinal parasites. Recommended as part of a cleansing diet that also includes raw honey, lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, carrots and beets, garlic consumed in quantities of about three cloves per day may help clear nasty organisms out of the digestive tract.

If you are concerned about the pungent smell of garlic on your breath there are easy ways to remedy this. You can chew a sprig of parsley, although this may work while you are indoors, as I cannot envision anyone walking around with parsley on their person. The other two alternatives are more practicable and involve the two powerful spices clove and cinnamon. These you can carry quite inconspicuously in a pocket and chew on them after a meal or even throughout the day just to freshen up your breath.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to replace a one to one relationship with your health practitioner nor are they meant as medical advice. You are encouraged to do your own research and make your own decisions in partnership with your medical practitioner.

Your Gut is Your Second Brain

We all have a brain although sometimes you would not believe it. It is meant to control how we think, feel, learn and move. The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord itself is made up of nerves that run down the middle of your back. Messages between your brain and the rest of your body travel through the spinal cord which starts at the base of the brain and goes down to the small of your back. The brain is protected by the bones of the skull and the spinal cord by the bones that make up your backbone. They are both also covered and protected by three layers of membrane called meninges.Gut-brain-connection

There is another nervous system known as the enteric nervous system which is located in your gut and controls your gastrointestinal system from the oesophagus to the point of elimination and can operate independently from the central nervous system although they are in regular communication with each other. In fact, the enteric nervous system is the only other part of the human body that can operate independently of the brain. Its main role is controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that breakdown food to the control of blood flow which is connected to the absorption of nutrients, to elimination. Research has shown that irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes in the brain.

Both nervous systems are created from identical tissue during fetal development. One part becomes the central nervous system and the other becomes the enteric nervous system and they are connected to each other by the vagas nerve that runs from your brain stem to your abdomen. This nerve has now been shown to be the primary route used by the gut bacteria to send information to the brain and vice versa, although more information is sent from the gut to the brain than from the brain to the gut.article-2303434-19105E16000005DC-780_634x356 Vagus Nerve

Although we are constantly reminded that we should think before we act, indicating that we should be rational and reason things out before taking the next step, which often involves making a decision, we often go with our “gut feeling” or “gut instinct” and there are some who will say that they have never been let down by their gut feelings. In addition to the vegas nerve he brain and the gut are connected by a network of neurons, chemicals and hormones that provide information about what is happening in our body. This information highway is known as the “brain-gut axis”.

Just as you have neurons in your brain you also have neurons in your gut including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain. In fact the greatest concentration of serotonin, a chemical that controls moods such as happiness, aggression and depression, sex, sleeping and feeding is found in your gut. Actually about 90 to 95%. This fact has been forwarded as one of the possible reasons why antidepressants which raise serotonin levels in the brain are ineffective in treating depression, whereas proper dietary changes often help. New therapies, using probiotics (good gut bacteria) to treat a variety of diseases particularly autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease are now being developed and it is accepted that the connection between the gut and the brain is vital for maintaining homeostasis.index.jpg gutsy move for a brain

Studies have shown that babies born by caesarean section have an increased risk of developing allergies, asthma, autism and diabetes. They were also more anxious and depressed. The stated reason for this is that as they were not born naturally they were not exposed to their mother’s vaginal microbes. Apparently, the first 20 days of a baby’s life are crucial in determining the strength or weakness of the baby’s immune system. Those who were not born naturally were at risk of developing ADHD, and learning difficulties. This clearly shows how gut bacteria in the “second brain” affects the activity of the main brain A study in Denmark has shown that the make-up of gut bacteria in diabetics was different from that in non-diabetics and the same applied to lean and obese people.

If gut bacteria can influence mood, learning, memory and cognitive functions by its effect on the brain through the “gut-brain axis” this means that good gut bacteria influences the brain positively and bad bacteria would have a negative effect on the brain. This therefore brings me to the “box” culture that exists these days with regard to fast food. This type of non-nutrient, synthetic stuff that some people eat on a daily basis is not helping the good bacteria in their gut and as a consequence is affecting not only their physical health but their cognitive abilities and encouraging a host of other neuro-degenerative diseases. Little wonder that the World Health Organization has stated that by the year 2030 a new case of Alzheimer’s will be diagnosed every four seconds.