The Benefits of Garlic Tea for Adrenal Health and Inflammation
You’ve probably already heard of the many health benefits of garlic, from strengthening your immune system to detoxing your system. You’ve read how it has been used for many different ailments by many ancient cultures. But you’re not about to go chew on a garlic clove every day, are you? Getting some of the amazing health benefits of garlic without risking the dreaded garlic breath can be as easy as brewing a cup of warm, sweet garlic tea.
Garlic tea is made by steeping a few chopped up garlic cloves in a teapot with boiling water for three to five minutes, then pouring out a cup, adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and honey to taste. Each of these ingredients on its own is a powerhouse of health enhancement. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
Why Garlic Tea Is Good for You
Garlic contains many important nutrients, including a good amount of selenium, manganese, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B6, and C. It also has a high sulfur content, which is good for speeding up wound healing and other skin conditions like acne and cold sores.
Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal compounds. It also contains antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and control oxidative stress. Different studies have shown that garlic can protect the cardiovascular system and bring down body weight.
The next important ingredient is apple cider vinegar (ACV), another ancient natural remedy, used since the days of Hippocrates himself. ACV helps bring down blood sugar levels, which is helpful for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes. It can also help reduce cholesterol, manage blood pressure, lower body weight, and improve skin.
Next is lemon juice, which is high in vitamin C, is a good detoxifier, and helps with digestion. It’s also good for weight loss, skin health, and kidney health. Plus, it helps freshen the breath, which is great when you are consuming garlic.
Finally, honey is antibacterial and antifungal, is great for skin and wound healing, helps boost the immune system, and is packed with antioxidants. It can also reduce allergies and relieve a cough.
Put all of these ingredients together and you can see the power of garlic tea as a potential remedy for many issues. Plus, all of its 100% natural ingredients have been used safely for millennia.
Garlic Tea for Adrenal Fatigue
All of the health benefits we just covered can be really useful if you have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). AFS is a condition that results from chronic stress, whether physical or psychological. When your body is exposed to stress, your adrenal glands, which are part of the hormonal circuit of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, secrete your body’s main anti-stress hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol has many different functions, such as maintaining heart and blood vessel function, modulating blood sugar and blood pressure, suppressing the immune system, and neutralizing inflammation.
What happens, though, when stress becomes chronic, is that your adrenal glands work overtime to produce more cortisol. In the beginning stages of AFS, cortisol levels are higher than average, and that has its own adverse effects. Later, when the adrenals are exhausted, cortisol production drops, leaving the body to combat stress without its most powerful ally.
Symptoms of AFS include fatigue, easily gaining weight and difficulty losing it, insomnia, anxiety, mild depression, food and drug sensitivities, hair loss, dry skin, intolerance to stress, heart palpitations, estrogen dominance, PMS, low libido, infertility, lowered immunity, unstable blood sugar, sugar and salt cravings, and many others.
Already, you can see how garlic tea can help with many of these symptoms. It can give your immune system a boost, helping you fight off the recurring colds and flu that frequently accompany AFS, it can help you lose the weight you’ve gained due to sluggish adrenals, and it can protect your system from the oxidative stress that can accumulate when you’re exposed to chronic stress and a weakened state of health.
It’s also a little easier on digestion than eating raw garlic.
Because the garlic is chopped up and then exposed to heat from the boiling water, it becomes more bioavailable. The chopping helps release the compounds that give it its natural aroma and its health benefits. And although the heating reduces the strength of these compounds, it helps make allicin more bioavailable. That’s why we recommend using around four cloves of garlic to make the tea, to make up for the loss of some of the health benefits that you’d get by eating a fresh clove, while still getting the benefits of allicin.
Allicin is what gives garlic its strong smell, and also its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s good for lowering blood pressure. But that’s where we need to give our first warning with regards to using garlic tea when you have AFS.
In the earlier stages of AFS, your blood pressure is usually on the rise, but if you are in the more advanced stages, your blood pressure is likely to be more on the low side. This is where you’d need to be careful with anything that may lower your blood pressure further, including consuming too much garlic.
The same is true for blood sugar levels. With AFS, you are more prone to a cycle of blood sugar spikes and crashes. This is mainly due to the craving for sugary foods your feel when you are running low on energy. Once you consume sugar, your pancreas secretes a lot of insulin to deal with it. But, in many cases, the insulin secretion might overshoot, causing a state of hypoglycemia, which starts the cycle all over again.
Garlic reduces blood sugar levels, which is what you’d want if you have high blood sugar, but you should be careful with it if you are prone to hypoglycemic episodes.
Garlic Tea and Inflammation
The adrenal glands are part of the hormonal circuit of the NEM, which is composed of six circuits of organs and systems that work together to fight stress. The other five circuits are the bioenergetics, the cardionomic, the neuroaffect, the inflammation, and the detoxification circuits. And although garlic tea can support all of these, we are going to focus on how it can benefit the inflammation circuit specifically.
The inflammation circuit involves the immune system cells, the gut, and the microbiome. Its role is to eliminate toxins and pathogens that caused the initial injury to cells and tissues, and it also clears out the cells that were damaged or died due to this injury. It requires a healthy immune system and a strong detoxification circuit in order to function properly.
We already know that garlic can really help boost immunity, therefore enhancing the effectiveness of the inflammation response. On the other end of that process, it can also enhance detoxification.
A sluggish or clogged up liver will slow down detoxification significantly, since it is the main clearinghouse of the body. When toxins, metabolic by-products, and dead cells aren’t cleared from your system in a timely fashion, they will accumulate and increase oxidative damage and inflammation. The increase in toxicity levels in your system will also make you more sensitive to foods and drugs, and create imbalances in your gut flora and hormones.
All of these issues will add stress to your system and increase the need for cortisol, overworking your adrenals even more.
Garlic supports the liver, helping detoxify your body. Any detoxifying foods or drinks can be useful for clearing your system and keeping the piping clean. And, because garlic tea contains ACV, it is also very supportive of the gut’s microbiome, another aspect of the inflammation circuit. In fact, inflammation almost always begins in the gut, because the gut contains two-thirds of the immune system’s cells. So a healthy gut microbiome is actually the first step in reducing inflammation.
However, if you have advanced AFS, you need to be careful with detoxing, since your system is very fragile and may not handle the process very well. So, don’t overdo it with garlic tea if this is your current state. If your AFS isn’t too severe, you can try making garlic tea once and then wait for a few days to see how your body reacts. Also, if you have an autoimmune condition, be aware that boosting your immune system may worsen your overall condition, so you’ll need to first talk to your doctor before using the tea regularly.
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
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This is one of those simple home remedies that packs a punch, not just in flavor, but also in health benefits. Are you ready for a boost in strength, energy, and immunity? Beautiful skin and weight-loss? Check out why garlic tea might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
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