We think of garlic as an herb, but garlic is actually a vegetable and an ancient one, at that. Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In “modern times” 18th-century French gravediggers drank crushed garlic in wine believing it would protect them from the plague. In 1858 French scientist Louis Pasteur confirmed that garlic has antibacterial effects, and during World Wars I and II, soldiers were given garlic to prevent gangrene, and garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent wound infections.
We’re still learning about garlic’s many powers. A study from China published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that eating raw garlic twice a week can protect against lung cancer, even among smokers (the researchers didn’t evaluate the effect on cancer risk of cooked garlic). Here’s more about garlic’s amazing health benefits: