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Eat raw garlic every day - boost your health, lose your friends

TCM recommends eating two or three cloves of raw garlic a day for its many medicinal values. What about that garlic breath? Oh, just gargle with wine or vinegar, advises Zhang Qian.

Garlic is indispensable in Chinese cooking for its flavor and health benefits, and Chinese traditional medicine regards it as a precious, health-reinforcing herb. Chinese traditionally pop two raw cloves in the morning with congee.

Of course, unpleasant garlic breath is an issue, so garlic pills work as well. TCM, however, recommends natural raw garlic and offers some antidotes for bad breath - eating nuts, chewing tea leaves or gum, drinking milk, gargling with wine or vinegar.

Garlic, which contains warm yang energy, dispels pathogenic cold and damp, relieves energy stagnation and has antiseptic and sterilizing qualities.

Garlic is often eaten uncooked in cold dishes, such as sweet-and-sour garlic made by marinating cloves in vinegar and sugar - a favorite for Chinese. It's added to almost everything.

Despite, or because of its pungent odor, it is used to eliminate, or overpower, unpleasant smells in cooking mutton, fish, pork and chicken. It can sterilize uncooked dishes.

Garlic is said to have originated in Central and West Asia and came to China on the Silk Road to Turkestan in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).

The medicinal uses of garlic are legion. Its powerful smell helps clear up energy channels to body organs, dispel pathogenic cold and damp, prevent invasion of pathogenic energy and relieve indigestion caused by eating too much meat, according to "Bencao Gangmu" (Compendium of Materia Medica) by herbalist Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Warm energy garlic is usually recommended by TCM doctors to warm the stomach and spleen, prevent colds, relieve energy stagnation, kill parasites, and treat diarrhea, arthritis and whooping cough.

Garlic can also be used externally. Mashed garlic can help relieve ringworm. Garlic juice on the skin can help relieve scabies, chilblains and other problems.

Modern medicine has found that garlic reinforces health and boosts immunity. It can kill various bacteria, mildew, parasites and virus, helping to prevent flu, wound infection and digestive problems.

Uncooked garlic has strong sterilizing properties. Rich in selenium, garlic can help adjust insulin secretion and help diabetics. Some studies suggest that the selenium and germanium in garlic can help restrict cancer cell growth. Eating two or three garlic cloves every day can help decrease blood fat and blood pressure and prevent hardening of arteries.

The bad after-smell and garlic breath discourages many people from eating garlic. But the smell can be reduced by chewing gum or tea leaves, drinking milk, eating nuts or gargling with vinegar or wine.

Garlic pills work as well - without the bad odor - but TCM recommends natural raw garlic. Many Chinese people eat two cloves a day with morning porridge.

Though eating three or four garlic cloves a day is healthful, eating too much can generate internal pathogenic heat, impair eyesight and cause digestive problems. Too much garlic can also kill beneficial bacteria in the digestive system, causing constipation or mouth ulcers due to lack of vitamin B2.

Do not eat garlic on an empty stomach or together with honey.

People with eye problems (glaucoma, cataracts, conjunctivitis, etc) should not eat any garlic as it may impair eyesight. The herb should also be avoided by people suffering pathogenic heat and diarrhea not caused by virus or germs - it can aggravate diarrhea.

Garlic and rock sugar juice


2 garlic cloves, rock sugar to sweeten.


Mash garlic, add rock sugar, add boiling water, filter.


Benefits stomach, nourishes lungs, dispels toxin, and aids in treating whooping cough by killing bacteria.

Garlic stems and pork


Garlic stems (250g), pork (250g), soy sauce, cooking wine, cornstarch, salt, sugar if needed


Cook pork with flavorings, add chopped garlic stems and fry quickly.


Warms stomach and digestive system, and nourishes cold yin energy. It is recommended for people suffering poor appetite, weakness, dry stool and abdominal distention.

Garlic and Chinese kale (jie lan)


2 garlic cloves, Chinese kale (500g), salt and MSG


Slice into thin pieces, fry with oil, add kale, salt, MSG.


Helps dispel pathogenic heat, reinforces blood, stops bleeding, warms stomach and sterilizes. It is recommended for patients suffering urinary infection and diarrhea caused by germs.

External use to relieve eczema and ringworm


Peel garlic cloves, wrap in gauze, mash garlic and squeeze juice to affected areas.


Relieves itching, and kills fungus.


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