Adding a little garlic seems to make any dish taste better. However, garlic has dozens of uses outside of the kitchen as well. You have probably heard of a few folk remedies that garlic is used for but are unsure if any are true. So we decided to put together a list of the best and most surprising health and beauty tips using garlic.
1. Cold Treatment
Garlic has been used for centuries to combat the common cold. Modern research has confirmed the belief that garlic can be an effective alternative to traditional cold medicines. A recent study published in the New York Times points to allicin, the main biologically active compound in garlic, as the reason. Allicin can help block enzymes that play a large role in cold and flu symptoms.
Research also shows that garlic’s antibiotic properties can help ward off colds and the flu before they become a problem. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, garlic can also be used as a natural cough syrup.
For use as a cold treatment/cough syrup: Steep one clove of minced garlic in hot water for approximately five minutes. Strain out the garlic and drink it as tea.
For use as a preventative during flu season: Eat two to three cloves are raw garlic per day during the worst parts of cold and flu season. It may not sound pleasant, but raw garlic loses much of what makes it effective as a treatment if cooked.
2. Facial Cleanser
A small amount of garlic is a wonderful alternative to the harsh chemicals in many facial cleansers. It is gentle enough that it can be used every day without the concern of negative effects on your skin. Research has shown that the antibacterial and antifungal properties of garlic make it useful in keeping skin healthy.
Not only as a cleanser, but many women also use it as a facial mask to exfoliate and refresh skin. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, garlic is said to be used as a “natural chemical peel.” Livestrong has a great article about how to use exfoliate your skin in the place of getting a chemical peel.
For use as a facial cleanser: Mix finely minced garlic, sugar, and olive oil into a paste. Massage the paste into the skin in circular motions. Rinse with warm water.
For use as a facial mask: Rub a thin layer of garlic paste onto your skin and allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes. Rinse well with warm water afterward to avoid excessive drying.
3. Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Especially if you are a sports fan, you are more than familiar with commercials advertising seemingly hundreds of creams, sprays, powders, gels, and other ways to cure an athlete’s foot. Although you’ll never hear John Madden speaking for it, garlic is a common and effective treatment that isn’t embarrassing to buy.
The natural antifungal properties of garlic have made it a useful treatment for foot fungus for many years. In 2000, a study was published in the Journal of the Academy of American Dermatology that tested the efficacy of garlic against the active ingredient in popular athlete’s foot drug Lamisil. They found that a mild garlic solution applied twice a day was actually more effective than Lamisil in foot fungus treatment.
To treat athlete’s foot – Method 1: Add two or three cloves of finely crushed garlic into a foot bath of warm water.
To treat athlete’s foot – Method 2: As performed in the study cited above, mix garlic with olive oil and apply it to the affected area twice a day.
4. Ear Infection Treatment
For years as an old folk remedy, garlic is also effective as a treatment for ear infections. Garlic contains natural antibiotics that help kill the bacteria in the ear that cause the infection. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties will also help to ease the pain.
Children, in particular, are prone to ear infections, and many parents prefer using garlic and other natural remedies at an early age. Obviously, this does not mean that you shouldn’t take your child to the doctor when an infection occurs, but garlic is a safe treatment that can be used before your appointment.
You can purchase garlic oil for this and many other helpful uses, but in the meantime, the following method works just as well.
To treat ear infections: Crush one clove of garlic and mix it in a teaspoon of hot olive oil. Allow the mixture to sit for five minutes. Strain the garlic out of the mixture. Add a few drops of warm oil to the ear.
5. Removing a Splinter
Ever have a painful splinter that was impossible to get out of? Believe it or not, garlic can help with that too.
When my mom first told me to use garlic to remove a splinter, I thought no way made sense. It still didn’t make sense, but for whatever reason, the splinter came right out the next day.
Now I understand that garlic’s natural and gentle adhesiveness can help ease splinters out. Its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties also help soothe any irritation and possible infection.
To remove a splinter: Place a thin slice of garlic under a band-aid and apply it to the affected area. Leave on for a few hours, and the garlic will help the splinter work its way out.
6. Toothache Treatment
The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic make it very helpful for a sore tooth. This will also help reduce swelling that accompanies many severe toothaches. Its antibacterial properties can also help to prevent infection or fight bacteria in a present infection.
Although there has not been extensive research into how this works, garlic can be very useful in easing the pain of a toothache. Experts at garlic-central.com believe that this is due to the allicin, the same component of garlic that makes it useful as a cold treatment.
To treat a toothache: Placed crushed garlic directly on the affected area or right next to the sore tooth.
7. Cold Sore Treatment
It is a scientifically proven fact that cold sores always appear at the most inopportune times by their nature. Well, maybe it’s not exactly scientific, but anyone who has had a cold sore before a date or a job interview will attest to their tendency towards bad timing.
Not to worry, you don’t have to rush to the store for an over-the-counter treatment. Chances are, you have all that you need to treat that annoying cold sore already in your kitchen.
To treat cold sores: Cut one clove of garlic in half and apply directly to the cold sore. Hold it for ten to fifteen minutes and repeat several times a day until the sore disappears. Due to the acidity in garlic, there may be some redness and discomfort initially, but this is normal.
8. Maintaining Intestinal Health
This may sound counter-intuitive because many people relate garlic to causing uncomfortable gas symptoms. Because garlic is high in sulfur, this can often be true. However, when consumed regularly, garlic is actually beneficial in maintaining good intestinal health.
Regular intake of garlic will help kill harmful bacteria, but it will also promote the growth of beneficial flora. This is not only helpful in maintaining intestinal health, but it can actually help you lose weight as well. According to Livestrong, some components of garlic send signals to your brain to help you feel full. It can also help to increase your metabolism and burn calories.
9. Acne Treatment
Similar to the reasons garlic is used to treat cold sores, it can also help clear up troublesome acne. The antibacterial and antifungal properties will help reduce swelling and remove puss. It will also improve blood flow to help your skin to heal quickly and efficiently.
According to Home Remedies for Life, garlic has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals, damaging body, and skin cells. It is also full of vitamins and nutrients that will help maintain healthy skin.
You can use garlic to treat individual pimples so that you would use it for a cold sore. However, if you will be using it frequently, make sure to dilute it to avoid excessive drying. Use the garlic facial cleanser daily to help reduce acne regularly. Also, eating garlic regularly will help reduce acne.
To treat acne: Crush three cloves of garlic and to one cup of hot water. Allow setting for 10-15 minutes. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply it to the face liberally. Rinse with warm water.3
Since the times of Aristotle, garlic has been a natural way to get in the mood. The smell of garlic may not immediately turn you on, but eating it regularly is proven to aid circulation, pumping blood to your extremities. According to EcoSalon, regularly eating raw garlic may also increase a man’s endurance in the bedroom.
11. Repel Vampires
OK, that one is a joke…or is it?
Either way, these are just a few of the ways garlic can be used as a natural way to help you stay healthy and beautiful. Garlic is also useful in treating yeast infections, preventing hair loss, and even as fish bait. Although there is not as much scientific research on some of these, garlic is safe enough to try in them all. Just remember that if you use all of these methods at once, you may need to buy some perfume as well.