Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years. Garlic is often considered a magic remedy with a reputation for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to plague.

Rich in antioxidants that help destroy free radicals which are supposed to be behind a number of conditions, including heart disease and cancer garlic also helps free radicals and reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time.

Allicin is the most powerful medicinal compound in garlic. As well as having antibiotic properties, allicin is an excellent anti-fungal and garlic preparations have been used in folk medicine to treat skin infections such as athlete's foot. The diallyl sulphides obtained from garlic have a reputation for boosting the immune system.

We present a list of health benefits that comes along by adding the humble garlic cloves to our meals:

1. Loss of appetite: Boil three to four cloves of garlic in a cup of water. Take the solution with juice of half a lemon twice daily. It is good to stimulate appetite

2. Toothache: To relieve pain place a clove of garlic crushed with a pinch of rock salt on the affected tooth

3. Severe pain: Slow fry ten cloves of garlic in 60 ml of sesame or mustard or coconut oil till they turn brown. Apply the paste externally. It is effective to relieve intense or localised pain and inflammation

4. Asthma: A drink of 10 garlic cloves boiled in 30 ml of milk taken daily is very effective in early stages of asthma

5. Common cold: Garlic soup made with few cloves of garlic and onion is effective in treating cold

6. Cough: Take one teaspoonful each of garlic and onion juices and mix them with equal amount of honey and allow it settle for three to four hours. The mixture can be taken every day till the cough subsides

7. Acne: Rub raw garlic over pimples a few times a day. You can also take three cloves of raw garlic internally once a day for one month to clear acne

8. Arthritis: A daily dose of 10 garlic cloves cooked in milk has been found to reduce inflammation and pain in various types of arthritis

9. Sexual debility: For sexual problems like decreased libido, three or four cloves of garlic lightly fried in oil can be chewed daily