Weekly Herb Review #4 – Garlic

Common Name: Garlic (“Russian Penicillin”)

Scientific Name: Allium sativum

Family: Liliaceae (the lily family)

Parts Used: cloves (and the flower greens or ..apes..an be cooked in stir fries and other dishes!)

Harvesting: Usually harvested after the Summer Solstice, once ~3/4 of the leaves have turned brown. Then hang it up to dry for ~3 weeks. (Did you know that ~90% of the US.?garlic is grown in California?? I didn.?know that!)

Constituents/Nutrition: Allicin (the active component to garlic, gives garlic its smell, and is destroyed by cooking it. i.e. Raw garlic is better for medicinal use), glucokinins, germanium, high in sulfur, iodine, phosphorus, protein, selenium, and thiamine (One clove of raw garlic is equivalent to 100,000 units of Penicillin!)

Properties/Actions: antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antithelmintic (worms), diaphoretic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, strong lymphatic, immune stimulant, antifungal, antithrombitic, vasodilator, hypoglycemic, hyolipidemic

Uses/Indications: Used to lower cholesterol (decreases LDL while increasing HDL), also aids in lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and decreasing bronchial secretions. Great for colds and flu.?as it helps increase the quantity, longevity, and killing power of Natural Killer Cells. Helps expel worms, good for athletes foot and yeast infections.

Folk History/Magical Uses: OK, there is so much history, I can.?put it all in here! But, basically, garlic has been used since the beginning of time.:-) It is believed to have originated near Siberia, and references have been found as far back as the 16th century BC (on an Egyptian medical papyrus that listed 22 garlic remedies). It is mentioned in the literature of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. Writings have been found on the great pyramids discussing the amount of garlic the slaves and laborers had to take while they built the pyramids in order to keep up their strength and protect them from disease. Garlic is considered the herb of the war god Mars, and is used for protection from drowning and from evil spirits (think vampires!) In the Middle Ages, bald men were called ..lgarlics..meaning peeled garlic). Albert Schweitzer used garlic on patients for amoebic dysentery. During WWII, sphagnum moss was soaked in garlic juice and used on wounds.

Cautions/Side Effects: May increase the effectiveness of the anti-clotting, and Blood Pressure and cholesterol lowering medications. Raw garlic can cause burns to sensitive skin and it can cause GI upset if eaten in excess. Even though it has been used to rid animals of flea problems, it is not good for pets! It contains Thiosulfate, which after extended use, can lead to hemolytic anemia.

Preparation: Can be eaten raw, dried, powdered, in an extract, syrup, oil, plaster, salve, douche and many other ways.

Recipe:Here.?another aid for the winter colds:
Peel and finely chop 1 cup of fresh garlic, and chop up 12 whole rose hips. Place in 2 qt. Jar with a lid. Add 12 whole juniper berries, 6 whole cloves, 1 qt Gin and 1/2-cup honey. Screw on the lid and place in the sun for 3 hours. Shake the jar and place in cool, dark place for 7 days. On the 7th day, add 2 Tbsp fresh parsley juice to the elixir. Shake and let sit for one more day. Strain through cheesecloth, place back in a jar with lid, label it, and keep in the fridge. I take ~1 Tbsp. full 3x/day when I have a cold or feel cruddy.

My Thoughts:Garlic is said to cure every ailment except bad breath. Maybe I am weird, but I don.?think garlic breath is offensive.

For years I have been adding garlic to my pets food to help aid their systems. Come to find out, it.?not good for them. I knew that onions weren.?good for pets.?why I didn.?make the connection to garlic, which is in the same family, I don.?know. But, I have stopped using it with them. Now I have to find yet another natural flea remedy!!

Now is the time to plant garlic. Check out Filaree Farms for some fantastic garlic!! They have hundreds of varieties, too!!

Cunningham, S. 2000. Magical Herbalism. Llewellyn Publications, Minnesota.
Element, Shaftesbury. Magic and Medicine of Plants. 1990. Reader.?Digest Association, New York.
Hoffman, D. 1990. The New Holistic Herbal. Second Edition,
McVicar, J. 1994. The Complete Herb Book. Kyle Cathie Limited, London.
Onstad, D. 1996. Whole Foods Companion. Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont.
Pederson, M. 1994. Nutritional Herbology. Revised Edition, Wendell W. Whitman Company, Indiana.
Skenderi, G. 2003. Herbal Vade Mecum. Herbacy Press, New Jersey.
Tierra, L. 2000. A Kid.?Herb Book. Reed Publishers, California.

3 thoughts on “Weekly Herb Review #4 – Garlic

  1. Thanks for the info! I already have some garlic planted but might plant some more this weekend. Your herb reviews are wonderful! The only thing I would add to them is companion planting info. I don’t have my gardening book with me, but I think its good to plant garlic around raspberry bushes and fruit trees and maybe something else.


  2. Great information! It might even tempt me to plant some and start eating it….if only I could get used to the garlic smell. I just have to eat a little smidgeon of it, and I stink! I know some people love it, but the smell is so very pungent and odorous to me! And I know its good for our body! Anything I can do to get used to/over the smell?

  3. Christine, I wish there was something that could stop us from developing that garlic smell. Unfortunately, unless you chemically alter it, there isn’t. It’s that same ingredient that causes that smell that is also the main medicine of garlic.

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