Garlic

Allium sativum

Common Names

Stinking rose, heal all, camphor of the poor, poor man's treacle, rustic treacle, nectar of the gods, serpent garlic. 

Parts Used

Bulb (cloves)

Properties

Antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-asthmatic, anti-epileptic, antiseptic, antispasmodic,  antihypertensive, anticoagulant, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, antihypertensive, anthelmintic (kills worms), aphrodisiac, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, disinfectant, mild diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, renoprotective, rubefacient, stimulant, vasodilatory, tonic. 

 

Energetics

​Pungent, warm, heating, stimulating, drying

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The Power of Garlic

Ahh the ‘Stinking Rose.’ Just the word Garlic conjures up its unmistakable aroma. Garlic is found in cuisines around the world, giving savory dishes just the right flavor. What many don't realize, is that this humble, easy to grow, widespread herb is one of the most powerful immune enhancing herbs we have. You don't have to go to a certain habitat to wildcraft it, or special order it online, because Garlic is right there at your local grocery store. Allicin is the active constituent in raw Garlic that is responsible for the burning sensation you experience when eating it fresh. Allicin and other similar compounds found in the aromatic oils of Garlic are what is responsible for it being a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and anti-fungal agent. These compounds breaks down when heated or cooked, so to get the best immune effects from Garlic it is best taken raw. 

 

The earliest mention of Garlic was in Ancient Egypt in an Egyptian medical text called Papyrus Ebers, which dates back to 1500 B.C. The use of Garlic continues to show up in every early medical text from around the world. Central European folklore considered Garlic a powerful ward against devils, werewolves, and vampires. When diseases caused by mosquito bites were considered "the touch of the vampire," Garlic came in handy as a mosquito repellent. What other herb has the distinction of being able to ward off evil? Even though these myths have been dispelled and long before the germ theory of disease was discovered, it is interesting to note that our ancestors innately had the right idea about Garlic; its potent aroma and burning sensation did protect us from scary monsters, just the microscopic, invisible kind (bacteria and viruses).

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"Garlic (Allium sativum) has appeared in the official materia medica of every major system of natural medicine since medical books have been written down." 
- Paul Bergner, Medical Herbalist, Clinical Nutritionist

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Medicinal Uses

Garlic has long been used to treat a wide range of health problems. Garlic is both an immune stimulant and a true botanical antibiotic. Researchers have identified more than 200 chemical compounds in Garlic, and more than 20 different kinds of sulfur-based compounds. These organosulfur compounds, such as Allicin, are what is responsible for Garlic's antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antithrombotic, hypoglycemic, antitumor, and hypolipidemic effects. Garlic can effectively kill bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, yeasts, and molds. It also is an effective respiratory expectorant, circulatory and blood tonic, and topical disinfectant. Not only does Garlic work to kill unwanted pathogens, it also stimulates an immune response. The constituents in Garlic have demonstrated the ability to activate phagocytes, B-Cells, and T-cells —all three levels of the cellular immune system. Blood tests have shown that taking Garlic can stimulate an increase in the number of lymphocytes the immune system produces in response to pathogens. Other medical trials have shown that Garlic can increase the activity of natural-killer cells. Garlic really is a panacea of immune support, and is readily available to most people. 

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Garlic as an Antibacterial & Antiviral

Garlic has demonstrated to be a broad spectrum antibiotic. Pharmaceutical antibiotics, through overuse, cause certain bacterial strains to become resistant to the antibiotic drugs. This leaves doctors with very few options to treat scary bacterial infections like Staph, which can lead to sepsis if not properly treated in time. Garlic can be very effective in treating many types of bacterial infections, without the risk of creating resistance, even in strains that are notorious for developing resistance including staphylococcus, E. coli, candida albicans, mycobacterium, and salmonella. Garlic is not only antibacterial, it is also antiviral and has proved effective in the treatment of influenza, herpes, viral pneumonia, viral meningitis, cowpox, cold sores, and human cytomegalovirus.

 

Garlic for Fungal Infections 

Garlic is also very effective for stubborn cases of Athlete's foot or other fungal infections, both external and internal. Consuming it internally, while using external applications often clears up fungal infections for good. Garlic can help expel worms and other parasites if consumed raw. 

 

Garlic Protects the Cardiovascular System

Garlic works on the cardiovascular system as well. Garlic has a known lowering effect on cholesterol, especially when taken daily for longer than 3 months. It also has been shown to reduce clotting and fatty deposits from accumulating in the arteries, by it's ability to thin the blood. Human studies has shown that Garlic reduces blood pressure and total cholesterol, and has beneficial effects on C-reactive protein and coronary artery calcium levels. Studies also show that Garlic helps reverse atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, and helps decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

 

Garlic Protects Against Toxins

Researchers are now finding that Garlic is very effective at protecting the body from natural and chemical toxicities. It has been shown that garlic and its major constituents reduce the build up of toxins in the brain, kidney, blood, liver, embryo, spleen, pancreas, heart, and reproductive system. Garlic does this through its antioxidant effects by reducing free radical damage, lipid peroxidation, and inflammation. This mechanism could be in part from Garlic's natural sulfur-based compounds Allicin and Alliin. Sulfur rich compounds stimulate the production of glutathione in the liver, which is responsible for binding to toxins and safely escorting them to the intestines for elimination. Garlic's organosulfur compounds and flavonoids are responsible for the immunomodulatory effects of this amazing plant.

Garlic for the Lungs

Herbalist Mary Bove uses garlic for respiratory problems, as she explains, “Garlic is really great for the lungs,
especially combined with warming aromatic herbs like thyme and hyssop.” This can be made into a syrup and given to both adults and children. Garlic helps with deep lung congestion by thinning mucous and stimulating the lungs to cough and expectorate it. The warming sensation from Garlic's volatile oils stimulates the blood to start moving, bringing circulation to the lungs to help reduce congestion as well. 

What about Garlic breath? 

Yes, Garlic breath is a side effect of consuming Garlic. Did we mention the warding off disease part? Maybe there is a reason why Garlic breath makes people keep their distance! It's a small price to pay for good health. A way to alleviate "garlic breath" is to eat a few sprigs of fresh parsley.

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Preparation & Dosage

Raw Garlic is best for immune enhancing properties. Cooked Garlic works well as a circulatory tonic (raw also supports the cardiovascular system). See Recipes below for more ways to use Garlic as medicine. 

General use is 600-800 mg of garlic powder or its equivalent per day.

One-half to one clove per day of fresh or lightly cooked garlic.

Contraindications

Caution in patients with hot or dry constitutions or active inflammation. Garlic in large amounts can act as a blood thinner. Use caution if you are currently taking prescription medication blood thinners or baby aspirin.

Recipes & Remedies

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Garlic Honey
Take it by the spoonful, spread it on toast or put it in hot tea. This potent, spicy garlic honey is great to take at the first symptoms of getting sick. It needs to steep for at least 24 hours before using.

 

  • Chop or slice several bulbs of garlic, and place it in a clean glass jar.

  • Cover with good quality local honey. Stir well and cover. 

  • Within a day the juice from the garlic will mix with the honey. Stir the mixture well and cover again.

  • You can either strain the honey after a few days or just eat with the tiny Garlic pieces. 

  • Take the resulting runny syrup by the teaspoonful every half hour to hour for coughs, sore throats or congestion in the lungs. For prevention and immune support take 1 teaspoonful 1-2 times per day.

  • Label, date and consume within 1 week for best results. For the best immune effects, do not heat.

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Daily Garlic Tonic
This potent mixture should be made fresh daily and consumed immediately after combining. 

In a glass combine the following: 

  • The juice of one fresh lemon

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely minced (you can use a garlic press)

  • ½” section of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

  • 1-2 teaspoons of honey

  • 1/3 cup of water 

  • Mix well until combined and drink immediately. 

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Garlic Steam
This helps to alleviate head & lung congestion when you are sick. Especially helpful for sinus infections. Repeat with fresh garlic until symptoms resolve.

 

  • Chop and crush 1 clove of fresh garlic.

  • Place in a bowl, and pour a pint of boiling water over it. Quickly cover with a lid to trap the vapors.

  • Make a tent over the bowl by covering yourself and the bowl with a bath towel or blanket.

  • Slowly open the lid to release the steam.

  • Take slow deeps breaths both through your nose and your mouth.

  • Use caution and be careful not to burn yourself with the steam.

  • Continue to inhale the steam for several minutes before taking a break.