Scientific: Allium sativum [WikiPedia]
Appearance: Although it is one of the most important ingredients in all of the culinary arts, garlic nevertheless seems to mystify us when it comes to classifying it – is it an herb, spice, or vegetable? The simple answer is that garlic is a member of the onion family, is a bulb consisting of multiple cloves. The primary compound is Allicin, a chemical released when Garlic cloves are chopped, chewed or crushed.
Parts Used: All.
Common Uses: Garlic herb has impressive antibacterial and antiviral properties. For over 5,000 years, in numerous cultures including Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Mediterranean societies, it has proven to be a powerful healing herb able to fight infections, strengthen the immune system, promote heart health, prevent cancer and contribute to weight loss.
Garlic is rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants including Vitamins A, B and C, selenium, potassium, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Arming the body’s immune defenses through inciting production of immune cells such as T-lymphocytes and macrophages, Garlic prevents and fights infections. Antioxidants ward off free radicals and boost the immune system, helping a wide-range of conditions that affect the heart, lungs, stomach and skin.
Garlic is also the most debated whole food supplement in dog food. A search on the internet will provide your with as many pro as con articles on the inclusion of garlic in the diet. First, here’s why garlic is such a wonderful plant:
- Garlic is high in inulin, amino acids, sulphur, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains vitamin A, C, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, germanium and B-complex vitamins;
- Garlic’s pungent energy warms the body. Pungent herbs move energy upwards and outwards to the body’s surface, improving circulation. Garlic also has an affinity for the lungs, large intestine, spleen and stomach;
- Garlic helps detoxify the body. It supports beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract and eliminates harmful bacteria. I use it in the fall, winter and early spring as a detox and to balance out the digestive system;
- As a liver enhancer, garlic breaks down wastes before they enter the bloodstream. It also helps your dog assimilate nutrients and eliminate wastes through the entire digestive tract;
However, garlic is high in sulphur and fructans (inulin and oligofructose). Fructans can cause digestive upset in dogs suffering from leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. When undigested fructans ferment in the small intestine, they cause bloating, gas and constipation. So, the important message here is that your fur kids digestive system needs to be healthy before you food them garlic.
In huumans, garlic is great for heart health, helping to:
- Lower LDL or Bad Cholesterol;
- Increase HDL or Good Cholesterol;
- Reduces Triglyceride Levels;
- Increase fibrinolysis or the body’s ability to break up blood clots;
- Lower Blood Pressure;
- Increase Circulation;
- Reduce coagulation by helping platelet stickiness/aggregation;
- Aid in Weight Loss.
Garlic has culinary and medicinal purposes, is safe (in general), affordable and easy to grow. It is a powerful, versatile herb able to strengthen the immune system, increase heart health, prevent cancer and treat a number of common conditions such as asthma, rashes, insect bites, colds and sore throats.
When used in larger doses, no one will argue that garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs. Yet one must also think about the potential health risks in fooding smaller amounts. On the other hand, with many years of safe use behind it, garlic’s universal acceptance among pet parents, guardians and slaves cannot be ignored. Be sure to consider the pros and the cons of fooding garlic on a daily basis when deciding to include garlic in the diet.
Topic Specific References:
- Garlic Herb [Ref]
- Is Garlic Safe for Dogs to Eat? [Ref]
- Acceleration of superoxide generation in polymorphonuclear leukocytes and inhibition of platelet aggregation by alk(en)yl thiosulfates derived from onion and garlic in dogs and humans. [Ref]
- Garlic for Dogs – Health Benefits, Preparation, Use, Safe Dosage [Ref]
- Many of our supreme meals and herbals blends
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.