Back in 1918, my Italian grandmother who was on the verge of dying, claimed that constantly chewing raw garlic spared her of the Spanish Influenza. Using garlic as an antibiotic today may not be as powerful as a single dose of an antibiotic, but using it as a flavor enhancer in many recipes on a regular basis may be the reason why our Italian family doesn’t require antibiotics in the first place. Antibotics are “dangerous” according to ABClocal.go.com:
Using garlic as an antibiotic- saved my grandmother’s life
“Antibiotics can have dangerous side effects when they are overused. Many people take antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses but in actuality antibiotics are not helpful for viruses. Over time, the overuse of antibiotics can make bacteria more resistant and thus, will require higher doses of medicine to treat. Bacteria that used to be highly responsive to antibiotics have become increasingly resistant and harder to treat including; ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis. Many minor viral infections will improve in a matter of days but it is best to consult with your doctor to determine the correct form of treatment. There are many natural alternatives to antibiotics that a person can take to help battle illnesses. Although you should always consult with your doctor when sick, the following natural remedies may help to treat some common illnesses: Garlic- Used in many cultures for thousands of years, garlic is rich in antioxidants which can strengthen the immune system and help destroy particles that can damage cell membranes. Garlic has been shown to help treat and prevent the common cold. Garlic also can help reduce high blood pressure and decrease the progression of cardiovascular disease.”
The article also lists other natural replacements for antibiotics besides garlic. Read whole
This excerpt from garlic-central.com
“Perhaps the best well known is its use as a natural antibiotic and antibacterial agent with reports going back through history. There are even stories of it being used to ward off the plague. It’s not known how effective this was, however there is some evidence that anthrax is sensitive to garlic. Some people have even suggested that it might help in the fight against acne although that might be too much to hope for.
Using garlic as an antibiotic- scientific reason why it saved my grandmother’s life
Garlic’s antibiotic properties have been more extensively studied than some of its other reputed health benefits. Louis Pasteur examined garlic’s use as an antibacterial back in the nineteenth century and showed how it killed bacteria under laboratory conditions. Numerous modern studies confirm that garlic has definite antibiotic properties and is effective against many bacteria, fungi and viruses. According to Wright State University, garlic is approximately one per cent as potent an antibiotic as penicillin. Some people have reported that even blood from a garlic eater can itself kill bacteria! One significant advantage of garlic is that the bacteria do not seem to evolve to build up a resistance to it as they do to many modern antibiotics; “garlic does not seem to produce such resistant strains”. This also makes it potentially effective against hospital superbugs - or at least less likely to contribute to their evolution.” read whole article
As far as the bad breath, I’m sure you already know that there are odorless pills that you can take instead of garlic. But in my opinion, taking a pill is defeating the purpose of going natural and, you are missing out on the secret flavor that is the key to great Italian cooking.
With regard to garlic’s health properties- I will reiterate that garlic eaten occasionally is not going to be as powerful as an antibiotic. And you should consult a doctor if you are using other medications because there can be an interaction. But as a regular part of your diet, using garlic as an antibiotic or in our families case- the ultimate flavor enhancer for most recipes, we believe has kept us all away from the doctors for many years.
additional sources (Spanish Influenza, to make sure my grandmother was telling the truth!):