Most of us use this member of the allium family in cooking to enhance the aroma and taste of our food. However, throughout ancient history, garlic was more often valued for its health and medicinal properties. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese applied it as an anti-bacterial and ingested it to boost their immune systems.
Modern science confirms that garlic’s amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can give immune systems a boost, increase heart health, decrease inflammation and kill various bacteria.
Fresh garlic's anti-bacterial properties are strong enough to prevent some kinds of food poisoning by killing bacteria like E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, and salmonella enteritidis. Although there’s no substitute for keeping eating areas scoured clean, one study found that garlic treated campylobacter better than two kinds of antibiotics. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9238912/Garlic-fights-food-poisoning-bacteria.html).
As for infections in dogs, the Veterinarian Institute of Integrative Medicine recommends warm olive oil that has been infused with macerated garlic as a treatment for mild ear infections. viim.org/dog-cat-ear-infections-chronic-resistant.php
Studies show that long-term garlic consumption can benefit the respiratory and circulatory system by reducing cholesterol and inhibiting the hardening of arteries. Some benefits arise from garlic’s ability to inhibit platelet aggregation (blood clotting). Others result from our own production of hydrogen sulfide gas, which occurs when our body’s red blood cells take the sulphuric compounds from garlic. The gas can help expand blood vessels and keep blood pressure stable. As well, garlic's sulfur compounds are significant in helping to control carcinogens and prevent some cancers.
Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties, too, originate from sulphuric compounds. Naturopath Dr. Andrew Weil includes garlic in his Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. Finally, garlic promotes detoxification. Its high sulfur content helps the liver detoxify various substances so they can be metabolized and excreted from the body.
With only few exceptions, garlic in small amounts, mixed into food, can benefit the health of our dogs and cats. For dogs, feed one half to one small minced or pressed clove daily. The suggested dose for cats is one half a finely chopped or pressed small raw garlic clove daily.
While garlic is sure to enliven our cooking, it goes an equally long way in stimulating the bodily systems that determine over-all health.