Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) has become one of the most prevalent medical conditions worldwide. The statistics are alarming. It is estimated that CVD is accountable for as many as 17.7 million deaths globally, with 80% of them being due to heart attacks and strokes. And those numbers are on the rise, especially in developing countries. Several factors are to blame for the occurrence of CVD – mainly poor food choices, lack of exercise, smoking and the ever-increasing amounts of stress we are exposed to daily. All of these factors increase the amount of inflammation in the body and create a cascade of reactions that lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels.
But as it’s true for all diseases, I believe that prevention is far better than treatment. In medicine, we talk about primary prevention and secondary prevention. And while secondary prevention is all the methods that modern medicine offers to patients with already existing conditions (these treatment methods range based on the severity of the symptoms – from medication to interventional techniques, such as surgery), primary prevention deals with preventing the disease occurring in the first place.
Primary prevention refers to making healthy lifestyle choices, such as following the type of (nourishing) diet that is right for your body (hopefully my food blog can inspire you to do that!), quitting smoking, exercising and reducing stress. Another powerful tool we can use to prevent the onset of the disease is by using plants and herbs as supplements to support our body’s natural healing abilities.
One of the methods for preventing and even treating Cardiovascular Disease is an ancient remedy that has been used by many nations all over the world. It is an infusion made out of garlic, lemon and water. Yes, simple remedies are sometimes our most powerful allies in curing disease. This tonic is very popular in Russian Herbal Medicine and is used with great success by advocates of healthy living. I got this recipe from my uncle, who has been preparing and taking this tonic regularly for many years. I call it his Elixir of Youth! He is now 80 years old, is very active and enjoys great health (hello Uncle Habil if you will ever read this!).
But let’s forget anecdotal evidence for a moment and look into real scientific data. Here are some research articles about the effects of garlic and lemon in preventing and treating CVD that I’ve been able to gather:
EFFECT OF GARLIC AND LEMON IN TREATMENT OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
– In this parallel-designed randomised controlled trial, 112 patients with hyperlipidemia and high blood pressure were recruited. The patients got divided into four groups and were studied for 8 weeks: 1) patients received a combination of garlic and lemon juice daily 2) patients received only garlic 3) patients received only lemon juice 4) patients received neither garlic nor lemon juice. After an 8-week trial period, the results showed a significant decrease in blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), total cholesterol levels, LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol levels and fibrinogen activity (1).
– In this study, 50 patients with metabolic syndrome (a syndrome characterised by abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertension, dyslipidemia) were recruited to study the effect of daily oral raw garlic administration for 4 weeks. The results were positive again – subjects showed a decrease in waist circumference, decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and a decrease in serum triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels (2).
– In this randomised, placebo-controlled study, 50 patients with hypertension were divided into two groups and studied for 3 months: 1) received garlic powder tablets daily 2) received placebo. The results showed a notable difference in the blood pressure of each group- while the blood pressure of those receiving the garlic powder tablets decreased, the blood pressure of those in the placebo group stayed the same or increased (3).
But the benefits of the Garlic & Lemon Infusion don’t stop there…
EFFECT OF GARLIC AND LEMON IN TREATMENT OF TUMOURS
– The compounds in both garlic and lemon have been shown to decrease tumour cell proliferation, inhibit angiogenesis (the process by which tumour cells increase blood flow to the tumour locus), induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and modulate the immune system (4).
EFFECT OF GARLIC AND LEMON ON THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
The citrus pith contains an active compound called Diosmin, which has been the subject of many recent studies. Diosmin has shown to significantly increase the lymphatic circulation (5). Main signs of poor lymphatic circulation include: 1) water retention 2) inability to lose weight 3) painful swelling of the breasts during PMS 4) appearance of cellulite.
Furthermore, GARLIC AND LEMON ACT AS:
– A natural antiparasitic, antiviral, antimycotic and antimicrobial remedy. Lowering the number of bacteria, parasites, fungi (such as Candida) and viruses in your body reduces the workload of the immune system, allowing it to concentrate on fighting other diseases and giving it a further boost.
Okay, now that we have all that out of the way we can finally get on to the recipe! The recipe is extremely simple – all you need is one organic lemon with the rind on, one head of organic garlic, skin removed, a blender and some clean water. Using organic lemons which haven’t been chemically treated is very important because non-organic citrus fruit store most of the chemicals they are treated with in the rind and the pith (the white part) of the fruit. These substances are highly dangerous to consume and carcinogenic, so… just get the organic lemons, okay?
METHOD: First, you need to give the lemon and the peeled garlic cloves a good wash (hey, just because they’re organic doesn’t mean you don’t have to wash them!). Next, you need to cut the lemon into wedges and put it in a blender with the garlic cloves. Blend until the mixture resembles a runny paste or a…smoothie. Add the paste to a large glass jar or bottle with 1 litre of boiled then cooled water or clean, filtered water. Close the top tightly and put it to rest at room temperature. The mixture will have to stay at room temperature for a week. Give the bottle a shake every day and open the lid to release any gas that might be forming inside (this shouldn’t happen if you used boiled water, but I’ve used cold filtered water when preparing my infusion and I had no issues with fermentation – the components of garlic and lemon zest are strong enough to kill any bacteria!). After 7 days at room temperature, you can filter the infusion through a muslin cloth to remove the bits of lemon and garlic. I, however, do not filter the infusion as I do not mind it when taking it. Your very own Youth Elixir is now ready to be consumed. I recommend taking 1 tablespoon per day, preferably with a meal.
WARNING: The first time you take this infusion, you might think it tastes absolutely foul. But trust me, it will get better in a couple of days and you will get used to the taste! It actually starts tasting more lemony rather than garlicky over time. I take mine with a big gulp of water and then I’m ready to eat breakfast.
USE: Take 1-2 tablespoons daily with meals. The cure lasts 40 days (1 litre is enough for 1 person for the whole period). Repeat yearly.
PRECAUTIONS: From what I can find this infusion is generally well tolerated by most people. Do not take if you are allergic to garlic or lemons. Consult your doctor before taking it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you are taking blood-thinning medications.