Garlic is an ancient remedy for cancer. Even the father of medicine, Hippocrates prescribed garlic for this disease more than two thousand years ago. It was, however, only in the twentieth century    that    scientists discovered the anti-cancer properties of garlic. The use of garlic has been found especially    valuable    in preventing stomach, lung and liver cancers. More than 30 different enemies of carcinogens have been identified in garlic and onions. Such compounds include diallyl sulphide, quercetin and ajoene. In animals, they block the most terrifying cancer-causing agents such as nitrosamines and aflatoxin, linked specifically to stomach, lung and liver cancer. In experiments, feeding garlic to animals consistently blocked cancer. Garlic also helps strengthen that part of the immune system, which directly fights tumours. It should thus form part of the diet of those who are having cancer or at risk of getting it. Various studies conducted in China, Italy and the United States during the last ten years, have conclusively proved the protective role of garlic in the diet, which can fight cancer effectively.
A five-year Designer Foods Program launched by the National Cancer Institute in U.S.A. in 1991, examined foods which were likely to prevent cancer, based on either traditional medicine or recent epidemiological studies. Among the foods selected were garlic, citrus fruit, linseed, liquorice root, and members of the parsley family. The researchers tried to ascertain the constituents in these foods which could help prevent the formation of cancer cells. According to Herbert F. Pierson, director of this program, garlic is the food with the greatest power to prevent cancer.
In 1994, research studies were conducted at the University of Minnesota to examine the relationship of diet and colon cancer in a large number of women from Iowa. These studies provided stronger scientific evidence than before, about the value of garlic in preventing colon cancer.
Michael Wargovich, at the Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a leading researcher on garlic, gave some mice purified diallyl sulphide from garlic, and others, plain mice food, followed by powerful carcinogens. Mice fed on the garlic substances had 75 per cent less colon tumours. More impressive, when given agents that cause oesophageal cancer in mice, not a single one getting the diallyl sulphide came down with cancer! Similarly, John Milner, head of nutrition at Penn State University, succeeded in blocking 70 per cent of breast tumours in mice by feeding them fresh garlic. Studies on humans show that those who eat more onions and garlic are less prone to various cancers.
Garlic seems to prevent cells turning cancerous by increasing the body’s natural mechanisms for removing toxic substances. The liver eliminates toxic chemicals and other substances from the body, and garlic protects the liver itself from damage. Garlic also has a deep effect on liver detoxification enzymes, which break down toxic substances and render them harmless. Garlic’s many sulphur-rich compounds appear to be responsible for this effect. Sulphur makes up about one per cent of garlic by weight, and dozens of sulphur containing compounds are present in it, especially after it has been chopped or crushed. At the cell level, these sulphur compounds bind to sensitive areas in the cell’s genetic machinery. By blocking those sites, the compounds appear to prevent cancer causing chemicals from doing their damage to the cell.
Garlic also protects against radiation-induced cancer. A certain level of radiation from the sun is normal in the atmosphere. This radiation puts the people who spend considerable time in the sun at great risk for skin cancer. Other sources of radiation in the atmosphere are pollution from energy or weapons production. Eating garlic liberally can help prevent cancer caused by radiation from all these sources.
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