Have you been at your farmer’s market in spring and early summer and seen bundles of green stalks with tiny bulbs at their tips that appear to be green onions, but their tightly curled up appearance makes them look more like pigs’ tails?
These are garlic scapes, the flower stalks of the garlic plant that are just as delicious, nutritious, and boast similar cancer fighting compounds than the actual bulb. Cell protective phytochemical nutrients such as allium and sulphur compounds found in both bulb and scapes have been shown in numerous studies using both plant extracts as well as whole food components, to have powerful anti-tumor and immune-supporting effects.
In order for cancer cells to be able to develop and grow, certain conditions such as exposure to carcinogens, certain viruses, oxidative stress and mutated genes need to exist. Under normal conditions our body has an innate repair mechanism to deal with these imbalances. A complex enzyme repair system (p53) usually prevents damaged cells from becoming cancer cells. Powerful anti-oxidant and anti-mutagenic foods such as garlic can influence gene mutations and help repair cellular damage.
According to Donald R. Yance, author of “Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer”, garlic has certain blocking and suppressing compounds that can:
- divert toxic carcinogens away from cells and help the liver convert them to a less toxic substance that can more easily be excreted
- interfere with a carcinogen’s potential to interfere with a cells’ DNA causing it to mutate and become cancerous
- repair DNA damaged by carcinogens
- silence factors that could potentially lead to cancer growth within a cell
Besides a potent anti-cancer food, garlic, a warming and stimulating food, can help stabilize blood sugar levels which is another favorable anti-cancer environment condition. It also is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungus and anti-parasitic food helping to regulate gut flora which is the true foundation of our immune system. It also aids the body in eliminating poisonous heavy metals, of particular importance for anyone of us having undergone chemotherapy.
Using Garlic Scapes
Most of us are familiar with using garlic, but what do you do with these twirly, unruly garlic scapes that seem difficult to tame? It is actually super easy! They can be eaten raw or cooked. Here’s a few ways how:
- Cut them up and used in salads, soups, stews and casseroles
- Sprinkle them on top of cooked dishes same as you would use green onions
- Left intact, coat with a little olive or liquefied coconut oil, sprinkled with a little sea salt and grilled
- Steam them lightly, or use them raw in pureed veggie dips and hummus spreads
Green Hummus Delight
- 1 can chick peas, drained
- 1 cup garlic scapes, raw and chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 organic lemon, juiced and rind grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- ½ cup water (or more depending on desired smooth consistency)
Place all ingredients in a food processor of high-powered blender and whizz away.
Nicastro, Holly L., Sharon A. Ross, and John A. Milner. “Garlic and Onions: Their Cancer Prevention Properties.” Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.) 8.3 (2015): 181–189. PMC. Web. 16 July 2017.
Malki A, El-Saadani M, Sultan AS. “Garlic constituent diallyl trisulfide induced apoptosis in MCF7 human breast cancer cells, Cancer Biol. Ther., 2009 Nov;8(22):2175-85
Jiang X, Zhu X, Huang W, Xu H, Zhao Z, Li S, Cai J, Cao J. “Garlic-derived organosulfur compound exerts antitumor efficacy via activation of MAPK pathway and modulation of cytokines in SGC-7901 tumor-bearing mice”, Int. Immunopharmacol. 2017 Jul;48:135-145
Ma HB, Huang S, Yin XR, Zhang Y, Di ZL. “Apoptopic pathway induced by diallyl trisulfide in pancreatic cancer cells”, World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jan 7;20(1):193-203
Milner, JM; Knowles, LM, “Garlic Constituents Alter Cell Progression and Proliferation”, FASEB Journal 11: A422 (1997)
Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer by Donald R. Yance Jr. C.N., M.H., A.H.G. with Arlene Valentine
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, ND