Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Medical Emergency and First Aid Uses of Garlic

Many of you may be interested in this information I found about garlic. There is lots of reading about garlic and what it can do for you and your family. I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical information. I'm just passing on some information and you can judge for yourself if it has any merit for you and your family. My family grows all the garlic we use. We also were really blessed to obtain garlic from two families who have been growing it for over 75 years in our town. This garlic is acclimated to our location.


The Medical Emergency and First Aid Uses of Garlic

When people have medical emergencies and there is no doctor around, as in Katrina's aftermath, a bulb of garlic can be a lifesaver - literally, if you know how to use it. Crushed raw garlic is a very powerful antibiotic, but it must be applied to the site of the infection, including Staph and Strep, to be effective. It will burn like fire for a minute or two but it is the best way I know of to kill staph, including MRSA without a prescription medicine. Most importantly, garlic will still kill strains of staph that have become immune to modern antibiotics, including MRSA, because it kills in a different way and the bacteria cannot become immune to it, But it must be applied in one form or another to the site of the infection.

It is best to let crushed raw garlic set for 7 or 14 minutes before using so that it can form the maximum amount of allicin in order to have greater antibacterial properties. The reason is that crushing garlic forms sulfenic acid (thus the burning sensation) which steadily breaks down into allicin, the highly antibiotic compound that kills bacteria. For reasons not clearly understood, every 6 and 1/4 minutes or so there is a rapid dramatic increase in the rate of conversion for about 30 seconds and then it drops off to normal again for another 6 and 1/4 minute cycle and then it sharply increases again for another 30 seconds or so and again drops back to the normal rate. By waiting seven minutes, you benefit from the first great wave and by waiting 14 minutes, you get the extra boost of the second surge.

Desperate hungry survivors will eat things they never would consider normally. If there's a piece of meat that's not fresh , but you're going to cook it and eat it anyway, rub crushed garlic all over it and the garlic will kill most if not all exposed bacteria. If you eat raw garlic in the same mouthful of food with other food, it will kill some of the bacteria present, but garlic will kill a lot more if you rub it on the food before eating. Saliva deactivates allicin, as do all digestive juices and it is the allicin that kills the bacteria. If you're going to eat it anyway, at least protect yourself the best you can with garlic.

Crushed raw garlic can be used to kill bacteria and other tiny lifeforms such as E. coli in contaminated water when there is no other water available. Just crush it and let it wait as above and then mix it into a bottle of strained water and let set for an hour or two or overnight to have time to kill as many of the bacteria as possible. While it will not make the water taste any better and there may be things in it garlic doesn't work on, like oil, it's at least less toxic than before and if death is the alternative, less toxic is preferable to more toxic. Garlic's antibiotic properties also make it useful for sterilizing things like dishes, pans, etc.

Water stabilizes allicin, the active ingredient in garlic for a while and its half-life in water is 28 days, during which time is still possesses antibiotic properties, according to Dr. Larry Lawson (Lawson & Wang, 1994). That's important to remember. Conversely, crushed garlic left alone at room temp loses allicin rapidly the first day and gradually each day and after a week or ten days, there's little allicin left. If you only have a little, putting the crushed garlic in water will keep it useable much longer than if you just set it on a saucer. My guess is that it would burn less when treating wounds that way but it's just a guess, I have no way of knowing for sure since I have not tried it on myself yet.

Garlic is a very old treatment for snake bite and it is supposed to work although I have never tried it, myself. Crush it and rub directly into and around the fang marks. It will burn like fire for a minute or two and then settle down. Most snake venom is fat soluble and therefore spreads via the lymphatic system, not the blood circulatory system - so does garlic's sulfur compounds. It should be rubbed all around the area so that it can seep into the skin and into the area's lymphatic system. Try not to move around much as movement is what causes the lymphatic fluid to flow and spread the poison. Eating garlic also helps as it gets garlic into the lymphatic system elsewhere in the body and gets it into circulation. Venomous snake bite is very serious and life threatening and garlic may not be the ideal treatment, but it's better than dying without trying anything and you might even live to tell about it.

Method of application makes a big difference.

A few years ago I caught a staph infection in my finger. I recognized it because I had to go to the doctor and get expensive antibiotics when it happened before so I decided to fight it with garlic this time and I increased my usual daily intake of strong raw garlic. After a week or so, there was no improvement and it just continued to swell until it was about twice normal size, or more. It didn't make any difference how much raw garlic I ate, it only slowed it down but didn't stop it. Then in desperation, I crushed a large clove of strong garlic and rubbed the juice and pulp directly all over my distended digit. There was a acute burning sensation at the site of the infection, but it went away in a minute or two and was replaced with a throbbing feeling which then was gradually replaced over a hour or so by a feeling of less pain and pressure. Feeling better, I went to bed and upon awaking in the morning, the swelling had decreased by nearly half and it felt better yet. I treated it again that morning and there was no burning and again that night and it continued to improve and in a couple more days returned to normal. That's results!

This transdermal application allowed the allicin to seep right through the skin and go directly to the site of the infection rather than trying to get there via the circulatory system. The direct route allowed it to be more concentrated when it got there and it made short work of the staph infection. How it was applied made all the difference in this case. Transdermal application bypasses the chemical changes imposed by the stomach and intestinal juices and the thinning out by being dissolved into the bloodstream and filtered by the liver. Applying it directly to the affected part allows a more intense and purer concentration right at the site of the infection and gets much better results. Note: RAW GARLIC CAN BURN DELICATE SKIN - use caution if your skin is sensitive or susceptible to rashes or other skin reactions. Diluting it in water reduces the chance of burning and it still has the potency it needs to be effective. People who are or may be allergic to garlic or any of its sulfur compounds shouldn't try this, or anything on this website, without asking their doctor first, but how can you do that if he or she is nowhere around? Sometimes you just have to decide for yourself.

If you have a deep infection, the garlic may not be able to get to the bottom of it and if there's no doctor available, you may have to lance and drain the wound in order for the garlic to get close enough to do any good. Pouring hydrogen peroxide into an opened, drained cavity is an old rancher's trick to treat infections in cattle but I don't know if it's acceptable practice among humans or not. If you have to do it, it will feel like you just lit your foot, leg, wherever the wound is, on fire for a few minutes and then it will start to get better. It may require several treatments, but that's better than dying.

Staph is nothing to mess with and it can be fatal. If you can get to a doctor, do so but if you're out on your own you have to treat yourself and crushed raw garlic kills staph, including MRSA. If you're on your own with your life at stake, your job is to survive until help arrives and you can get to a doctor. I am not practicing medicine or giving medical advice, simply informing you of your options.

A garlic/water enema kills the bacteria that cause Irritable colon and chronic diarrhea - 
If a person has a bacterial infection in the colon and there is no Gastro-intestinal specialist or pharmacy around, then a garlic and warm water enema may prove effective in ridding the colon of the offending germs. Simply crush a couple of cloves (not bulbs or heads), wait 14 or 15 minutes or more, add to warm water, strain out the larger particles and use. Garlic that has been diluted by water is much milder and less subject to burning sensitive skin in most normal people although there may be a temporary slight burning sensation around the anus, but it's more like warming than burning. Lying on the back or the right side is a better way than sitting on a toilet because in the upright position, you only fill the descending colon but not the transverse or the ascending colon but on your back or left side, you can fill all three parts of the colon and spread garlics germ killing power throughout the entire colon. results are usually pretty fast - a few hours. It would seem beneficial to try to hold the liquid as long as one conveniently can in order for the antibiotic effect to have the best chance of working. I have used this folk treatment myself and found it to be highly effective in only a few hours or overnight. I took acidophilus in conjunction with the enema and it seemed to help restore firm stools. Repeat if necessary and with an additional clove or two as needed.  

If there are some bacteria in the small intestine you may not get complete relief as long as it is present. One way of dealing with it is to crush a clove of garlic and let it wait 15 minutes or more to develop more allicin and then put the crushed garlic in a spoonful of olive oil, tsp or TBSP, if you're not allergic to it, and let it steep a few minutes before swallowing it. This will let it become fat-soluble so it goes out the pylorus and into the duodenum with some allicin left in it. Another way is to fill the hollowed out center of a grape with crushed raw garlic and swallow it whole. Flushing these things down with a glass of water containing a crushed clove of garlic will help get more allicin into the stomach while adding enough water to dispel any burning sensation from the allicin or the stomach acid. The whole idea is to try to get some allicin into the small intestine so it can fight the bacteria there and help clear up the diarrhea.

Garlic that is more pungent, that is, hotter when eaten raw, is generally more efficacious than milder tasting garlic but I have usually used milder garlics with good results. From the moment garlic is harvested until it is planted, eaten or otherwise used, it is undergoing constant change as it loses moisture through natural dehydration and that makes it impossible to quantify so that exact dosages could not be determined even if research were done to determine dosages. It's inexact to say the least. That's why I consider garlic to be a dietary supplement rather than a medicine; medicines are much more exact.

A way to use garlic on a stuffy nose, sore throat and infection that has gone into the lungs is to crush the small end of a clove and use it like a Vick's inhaler so you breathe the fumes through your nostrils. This will help clear the passages as well as fight the germs. Eating garlic is not enough, it has to get to the site of the infection as directly as possible and breathing it in takes it all the way into the lungs. Another way to do the same thing is to crush the garlic and wrap gauze, cheesecloth or thin fabric around it and breathe through the gauze to get the vapors into the lungs. One study showed that crushed garlic vapors alone kill many kinds of bacteria, including staph, including MRSA and strep up to eight inches away. Another way is to put crushed garlic into a plastic tubing and blow air over the crushed garlic and onto a wound site that may be otherwise hard to get to. Be creative in how you use your garlicky resources, your life may be on the line.

Drug-resistant Tuberculosis - 
Tuberculosis that has developed immunity to standard antibiotics has evolved and since 1.6 million people die each year from Tuberculosis, it is a big concern to doctors all over the world in March 2007. I have seen research that clearly showed that vapors from crushed raw garlic killed bacteria up to eight inches away and my bet would be that crushed raw garlic vapors breathed into the lungs through a gauze mask would kill the bacteria outright, drug-resistant or not since garlic kills in a different way than those antibiotics. Is any doctor anywhere willing to suggest such a treatment? Perhaps in some third world backwoods where they can't afford prescription medicines someone may try it and discover that it works. Of course, garlic being a cheap herb instead of an expensive prescription medication may irritate some people, but from my perspective I say why not give it an honest try? It just might work.

A way to break up dried lung congestion is to crush garlic, wait 14 minutes and mix it into water and strain the particles out and do what I call reverse gargle. Take a mouthful of the garlic water , with the crushed particles strained out, and facing downward, purse your lips as if you were going to whistle and instead breathe in through your mouth so that the air bubbles in through the water and the garlic-laden moisture coats the throat and lungs and helps to break up dried phlegm as well as fighting germs - this doesn't take long as it forces you to cough up stuff, kinda similar to the "cold steam" of ultrasonic therapy, but with antibiotic properties. It may be the only hope of coping with viral pneumonia without a doctor. It becomes critically important to liquify and cough up the phlegm and if you have a better way to do it, please use your way.

Toothaches - 
If you get one of those massive brain-pounding toothaches and there's no dentist around, crushed raw garlic actually knocks out the infection and relieves pain. It has worked for me several times and all I do is to chew up the garlic some and pack the residue around the tooth. Yes, the burning sensation is quite hot and sometimes I wonder whether it is worth it but the hotness dissipates in a few minutes and the pain from the tooth lessens at the same time. There are several ways of doing this, one is to simply slice a piece from the side of the clove and hold the cut side to the gum where the pain is and move it around the area slowly on both inside and outside gums around the affected tooth. A milder way is to take a small inner clove and cut some vertical slits in its side so a lesser amount of allicin is released but over a longer time and is still effective but takes a little longer to work. If you want the most allicin crush the clove and pack it around the tooth - WARNING - This is very hot and can irritate the skin of the gums, but this is less painful than the toothache. Basically, you trade the pain of the burning sensation of garlic for future relief of the deeper pain of the toothache. How fast you get relief is a function of how much hotness you can endure in order to get relief from toothache pain. Usually the pain is gone in 30 minutes to an hour and the swelling diminishes as well. It may have to be treated more than once and I treat it as needed and within a day or two neither the swelling nor the pain return. Of course, it's good to see a dentist as soon as reasonably possible to do something about that cavity. In short, crushed raw garlic is a great way to deal with a toothache when you are in a desperate situation and there is no dentist available but is no substitute for seeing a dentist eventually.

Garlic kills Staph, including MRSA - 
Garlic may be an important thing to keep in mind these days when most strains of staph have become immune to everything except Vancomycin, and now there's even a strain that has become resistant to that. Garlic can still work if you can apply it to the right place(s). It's a thought. Allicin kills by invading staph, strep or other bacterial cells and causing them to swell up and burst, killing them, according to Dr. David Mirelman of The Weitzman Institute in Rehovot, Israel,- no wonder they can't become immune to it. A way of explaining how it works is that allicin passes right through the bi-lipid cellular walls and it's mere presence inside the cell changes the electrical polarity of the cell and that forces it to draw in surrounding fluid and swell up, trying to equalize the charge but they burst before stasis is achieved and that kills them. So I repeat...Staph, including MRSA, and other bacteria cannot become immune to allicin like they have standard antibiotics and that simple fact makes it important to discover more ways of getting allicin inside the human body in order to combat today’s runaway staph populations.

People used to call garlic Russian Penicillin for a reason - it kills germs. Penicillin has the advantages of being quantifiable and injectable - garlic isn't either one, but it has the advantage of being able to be stored at room temperature a lot longer. 

Garlic water and its uses.
There are two excellent ways of using garlic's antibiotic properties that can be very helpful in getting garlic to places where there are infections, one is the crushed raw garlic enema discussed above and the other is the garlic bath, including the garlic sitz-bath for combating pelvic fungal infections. It doesn't take much garlic, just a few cloves from a bulb is plenty for most applications and it's dosage related so you can always increase the amount of garlic if you are fighting a more persistent adversary. A little garlic can go a long way, it can be a matter of how long you let it set after crushing and before adding to water and then using. Garlic water that has set for a few days can be extremely strong smelling and I regard that as a way of estimating that is has increased in potency.

Because of the wide range of tastes and flavors in garlics and the proclivity of the hotter ones to burn tender skin, I think it is smart to start out with the milder ones so as not to burn sensitive internal tissue and I did. Also because of garlic waters tendency to increase in potency with time, I used fairly fresh garlic waters and found them to be very effective in getting results that made me feel better. For me, feeling better is what it 's all about.

Garlic baths and enemas are very important tools in that they are about the only ways to get allicin inside the human body without it going through the chemical changes imposed by the digestive process. Allicin, which is both fat and water-soluble, cannot exist for long in the human body and has a half-life of less than one minute in blood before being changed into other things, and scientists currently do not know what those other things are or how they fit in. Because allicin kills germs differently than standard antibiotics, it is one of the most powerful antibiotics in nature if you can get it into contact with the staph, including MRSA, strep, etc. A garlic-water enema puts it directly in the colon while still in its most potent antibacterial form and it can kill a lot of bacteria in there. For reasons I don't currently understand, garlic does not harm the natural friendly flora of the intestinal tract, but only the invading cells. I hope to find out more about that soon.

Water doesn't completely stop sulfenic acid from breaking down into allicin, it just slows it down greatly but the solution continues to increase in allicin the longer it sets and after a few days produces such an intense odor that I would be afraid to use it without diluting it greatly. My suspicion is that it would make a great external application antibiotic. The way garlic continuously changes makes it difficult to prescribe any kind of accurate dosage.

Both of these techniques involve using garlic that has been diluted in water. Good things can happen when you dilute crushed raw garlic in water after it has waited enough time after crushing for an ample amount of allicin to have been formed - at least 15 minutes but an hour or two is better because more allicin will have formed, and it's the allicin we want. Placing crushed raw garlic into water sort of stabilizes allicin and preserves it and changes its half-life from 16 hours in air to 28 days in water, while preserving the allicin and its antibiotic properties. Neat deal, huh? Diluting it in water also dissipates its burning sensation and minimizes it to a faint twinge. You don't have to use fresh garlic, properly prepared garlic powder will work well also, just be sure to let it set a couple of hours after a small amount of water is added to reconstitute the garlic powder before adding it to the bath water.

Garlic water doesn't require refrigeration but it can get pretty pungent after a few days and probably highly antibiotic but smells so bad I would be afraid to use it for any internal use. I would like to see more research into this. I once soaked my feet in three day-old garlic water and it really made me feel good and knocked out the athlete's foot fungus on the right foot and the toenail fungus on the left foot. I will bathe my feet in garlic water about once a month or so and let you know about the toenail fungus as the new toenails grow out.

When you do a pelvic soak or a body bath in garlic water, the chemicals go right through the skin and into the subcutaneous areas where there is access to local capillaries and lymphatics as well. I don't quite know how to describe it except to say I was feeling very ill for a few weeks and when I tried my garlic bath it made me feel really good right away but that night I had severe night sweats, like sweating out a fever, but by morning I felt better than I had in years and almost all my aches and pains went away and I had vigor, enthusiasm and peppy energy. I got more done that day than I had in weeks.

I know where all that peppy energy came from and that was the high amount of ATPase found in garlic. ATPase is the enzyme that triggers the conversion of ATP into ADP and the little bit of matter left over is converted into energy at the cellular level like a miniature soft warm nuclear reactor. For those who want details, ATP is Adenosine Tri Phosphate and its conversion into Adenosine Di Phosphate is a normal process but garlic supplies more of the enzyme that triggers the process resulting in much greater immediately available energy. By getting this much ATPase into the body, the reactions were body-wide and resulted in much greater energy that is more easily motivated and it just makes you feel better. This characteristic of garlic was important to the Roman army and it required all soldiers to eat garlic daily to give them an advantage over those who did not.

Another use for garlic water is that it can probably deliver usable amounts of allicin to fight bacteria in the stomach. The water that carries the allicin thins out the stomach acids, slowing down the rate at which it neutralizes the allicin and allowing some of it to kill bacteria and also the water, by thinning out the stomach acids, reduces the pain some people feel when they eat raw garlic . Because it is waterborne, some of its compounds can pass through the capillary walls and get into the bloodstream along with the H2O and have some beneficial effects. In the bloodstream garlic compounds won't last long before being pounced upon by the immune system, which will use these compounds to strengthen itself by making antibodies, for example.

Chemically, an interesting thing about garlic water is that it has both water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds and they work their way through the body in different way with the water-solubles going via the venous system whereas the fat-solubles enter through and travel via the lymphatic system.

Garlic can interfere with prescription medications, particularly anti-clotting agents, resulting in increased dosages, so if I were on any prescriptions, I would check with my doctor to see if garlic interferes with them and to adjust dosages accordingly. Use garlic wisely - the life you save may be your own.

If your house has a foul odor, even after you clean the mud out, garlic can actually be used as a house deodorant and fumigant, believe it or not. I have used this method of overcoming the smell of death twice, once when a small animal died in the heater of my car and again when a mouse died in an inaccessible area in a closet and it worked well both times to overcome the foul odors. Break several bulbs into cloves and crush the cloves and leave them all about the place (on saucers or paper plates) and then close it up for the night. When you come back the next day, the garlic will probably be the dominant odor, but that's usually preferable to a mildewy or sewage or rotting smell. Leave in place as long as necessary. Usually as the odor of garlic diminishes over a few days, the other odor is gone, too. If not, treat again, with more garlic if needed. Of course to be truly effective, you have to remove the source of the foul smell or it will continue to produce the offending odor.

There are going to be many thousands of houses with mold problems as a result of Katrina and Rita. Is the mold, stachybotrys species, toxic? Juries have said yes and insurance companies no longer cover it, but there is a new study by Emil J. Bardana, Jr., M.D. of Oregon Health and Science University that casts doubt on that. He says "We know that mold can make people sick if they end up in the foods they eat, but there is little evidence that inhaled environmental mold exposure can cause the serious illnesses that have been attributed to it." It is implied that other physical conditions present in the people involved in the study could explain the symptoms in most cases. Who do you believe? Is it possible that the smell is so bad it makes you think you are sick?

As pointed out above, garlic's vapors can kill bacteria, I wonder if they can also kill fungi and black mold? I would certainly try to find out. Experts say that the black mold, stachybotrys sp., can be killed with a solution of 9 parts water and one part bleach. I would definitely air the house out if I had just sprayed every nook and cranny in it with bleach water. If you can't get bleach, then crush some raw garlic and let it set a couple of hours to increase the amount of allicin and then dilute it in water and spray it everywhere you would spray with bleach if you had it. It may take multiple treatments and there are going to be some inaccessible places that will be missed. Don't forget the attic and under the house. Is the smell of bleach any more pleasant than the mold?

I wonder if baking soda would kill the fungus? Gardeners often use baking soda as a fungicide. If I know of a house that has some black mold in it, I will test it to see whether a baking soda and water solution works or not and publish the results of the test here. I used baking soda on lumber with fungus on it when I built my shipping department and have had no fungal problems in there so I anticipate positive results.

I am not recommending that people move back into mold-infested houses, what I am saying is that if you already feel you have no other choice and are going to do it anyway, you should take every precaution to protect your health with whatever resources you have on hand. Maybe that week-old garlic water with the strong smell would wipe out some of the fungus? Who knows? Anything is worth a try when times are desperate.

Garlic kills many fungi on contact including athlete's foot fungus, and candida species yeast, also.

Garlic will do nothing to improve the hot muggy days and nights without power or having to return to ancient ways of washing and cooking without modern conveniences. Eating garlic will not repel any mosquitoes, despite what you may have heard elsewhere, although if you're desperate enough not to care about social consequences, rubbing on exposed skin surfaces, oil that has had garlic cooked in it may kill /repel them because that garlicky oil will have large amounts of diallyl disulfide in it and diallyl disulfide is fatal to mosquitoes.

Maybe eating it can give you the stamina to persist. The Roman army thought so and it required all its soldiers to eat garlic for strength and stamina. I can say that eating garlic makes you feel good, at least according to one researcher, whose name escapes me, who said "Eating garlic gives the consumer an enhanced sense of well-being." Maybe it will help you get through the depression and anxiety that comes with the aftermath of disaster. Sometimes your best weapon is a positive attitude and garlic can help with that by helping you to feel better to begin with and the better you feel, the less prone you are to depression.

When I discuss garlic in this article I am referring to fresh garlic that has not been irradiated or de-natured in any way and has not yet sprouted. Unfortunately, this excludes most grocery store garlic as it sprouts too soon to be able to store at room temperature for very long, usually only a week or two. Some grocery store garlic is from China and has been irradiated and will not sprout or grow and irradiated garlic loses pungency (hotness) and is of no benefit since it is no longer alive like normal garlic, it is simply the dead body of a once-living garlic. The enzyme that is the spark of life that causes the chemical reactions that make garlic work is no longer present in irradiated garlic and it cannot form the organosulfur compounds that make garlic work, although I have seen no research to prove this, specifically, only other research that would imply it.

Homegrown garlic, on the other will usually store 4 to 12 months at room temp., depending on variety, storage conditions, etc. and that makes it the best for emergency use. Homegrown garlic harvests before hurricane season and stores all the way through it, so every family in the hurricane zone should grow some and they will be prepared every year.

Dried, wilted or diseased garlic is not good for the uses suggested above, only healthy, firm bulbs will work. Not all garlics will work equally well as different ones have different characteristics and the stronger, longer storing ones are usually best. Properly dehydrated (high room temperature process) garlic will also work, but not quite as well as fresh garlic. Freeze-dried garlic and garlic dehydrated using higher than room temperature heat will not work as their allicin-producing potential has been destroyed. Room temp dehydration preserves the allicin making potential. Grocery store garlic usually doesn't work because most of it has been stored at 32 degrees and upon returning to room temp, it sprouts and rapidly deteriorates.

Not all garlics work equally well, some are better than others for these purposes. Garlics which are hotter when eaten raw have greater pharmacological potential than milder garlics, according to research done by Dr. Larry Lawson and published in his comprehensive treatise, The Science and Therapeutic Application of Allium Sativum L. and Related Species , which is the most authoritative book on the subject written by probably the most qualified researcher.

In short, in the aftermath of a hurricane, earthquake, flood or similar disaster, if you have raw garlic and know how to use it, you have a better chance of surviving that those who do not.

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