I don’t necessarily believe in herbal “Panacea’s”, however, with one exception…Garlic (Allium sativum) comes pretty close. What a fabulous herb that is so accessible to all and can be used as food/medicine. Whether cooked or eaten raw the health benefits of garlic are astounding. When eaten raw, garlic is an extremely effective antimicrobial (substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoans). When cooked, garlic still extols numerous health benefits to include being a powerful antioxidant, blood thinning which helps to prevent clotting, and an adjunct to lowering blood sugar.
Historically, garlic has been used against plagues, diarrhea, as a tonic, for infectious fevers, coughs, colds, flu, parasites, intestinal infections and as a antidote to poison. There is current research to indicate that garlic may be beneficial for various forms of cancer, for heavy metal poisoning, atherosclerosis, chronic fatigue, herpes and AIDS.
Some practical uses for Garlic might be:
– Topically for Acne
– In lieu of Antibiotics for Viral, Bacterial or Fungal Infections
– As a natural anti-inflammatory in conditions such as Osteoarthritis
– For Bites and Stings
– Skin conditions such as Boils
– Coughs, Colds, Bronchitis and Influenza
The official U.S. Dispensatory of 1918:
“… The oil of garlic has some influence upon the human system as a general mild stimulant. Its chief value in medicine is for its local action upon the stomach and as a stimulant expectorant. The garlic itself is sometimes employed as a rubefacient which, by yielding its volatile oil to absorption, stimulates the nervous system, especially in the case of young children. The oil may often be given with advantage in chronic bronchitis and in the advanced stages of obstinate acute bronchitis. It is especially valuable in the treatment of children when there is a distinct nervous element. In catarrhal pneumonia of young children the bruised garlic cloves are often applied as a poultice to the lungs, and similar applications were formerly used upon the feet for the nervous restlessness or even the convulsions of young children. Garlic clove may be swallowed either whole or cut into pieces of a convenient size, but the syrup has replaced most other methods of administration. The dose in substance is from half a drachm to two drachms (2-7.7 Gm.) of the fresh bulb. That of the juice is half a fluidrachm (1.8 mils). A syrup is official in the N. F. (see Part III).”
The challenge with garlic can be that it is extremely irritating to sensitive mucous membranes and can cause stomach distress when taken raw. However, there are numerous ways to get garlic into your diet either by cooking it in your food or trying a few of the following methods when using it raw:
– Chopped and mixed with carrot juice
– Chop and add raw garlic to soups, stews or other foods.
– Cut a clove in half, coat in honey or oil, and take as though you were taking a pill.
– Add chopped garlic to wine or vinegar, allow to sit for a week or two and then take a tablespoon every hour or so.
– Cover a teaspoon of garlic with honey and take without chewing the garlic. (as a note: I have yet to be able to do this without wanting to chew)
– In Ayurvedic medicine garlic is chopped and combined with buttermilk.
– Other preparations include the use of garlic as suppositories, macerated in oil, as an infusion, as a syrup, as a douche, and as a poultice.
12 heads of garlic
2 tsp dried Oregano
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp whey or 2 additional tsp of salt
Remove outer skin and set garlic heads in a 300 degree oven and bake until heads open and cloves can be easily removed. Place cloves in a quart sized, wide mouth mason jar. Mix oregano, salt and whey with 1/2 cup of water. Pour over garlic, adding more water if necessary to cover the garlic. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.
Garlic Honey Syrup
Fill a small jar with peeled and chopped garlic. Completely cover the garlic with honey. Place the lid on the jar and leave to sit for several days. Mix well and take a teaspoon every hour or two.
Garlic Lemonade (Aviva Romm)
Finely mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic and place them in a 1 quart mason jar. Fill the jar with boiling water and cover for 30 minutes. Strain out the garlic, and to the liquid add the juice of 1 whole lemon. Sweeten to taste with honey. Give warm and as often as needed.
A Connoisseur’s Garlic Cocktail (Paul Bergner)
Different solvents extract and promote specific chemical reactions between the constituents of garlic. Water, vinegar, alcohol, and oil each draw specific constituents out. Alcohol and water, for instance, is the best solvent to extract allicin. Soaking crushed garlic in oil promotes the production of ajoenes and dithiins, important antibiotic and blood-thinning constituents of garlic. My garlic “cocktail,” then, is as follows.
Three cloves of garlic
1 Tbls of red wine
1 Tbls of vinegar
1 Tbls of olive oil
Blend well in a blender.
Add 1/4 cup hot water.
Let stand for 3 hours. Do not strain. Add one-third of this to a cup of hot water. Take another dose every 3-6 hours until it is all gone.
Garlic Pesto (James Green)
1 1/2 cups of stripped Basil
3-5 cloves of peeled garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup shelled pine nuts (or walnuts)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or ramono cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put all ingredients except for olive oil in a blender and process into a paste. With the machine still running slowly add the olive oil.
Marinated Garlic (James Green)
1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
1/4 raw honey
1/4 cup water
Put all the ingredients in a jar and place a lid on it. Place the jar in refrigerator for at least one month. Mixture will keep indefinitely. Eat at least 3 cloves a day.
Natalie’s Favorite Salad Dressing
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tbsp of raspberry balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp walnut or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of dried mixed spices (oregano, thyme, rosemary or your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. Use liberally on salads or as a dip for veggies.
So the next time your headed out to the grocery store make sure to pick up some garlic so that you always have some on hand. Consider cooking garlic in your meals and as a heavy hitter during cold and flu season.
Bergner, P. (1996). The healing power of garlic. Prima Publishing. Rocklin CA.
Fallon, S. (2001). Nourishing Traditions. New Trends Publishing Inc. Washington, DC.
Green, J. (2007). The Male Herbal. Crossing Press. Berkley, CA.
Henriettes Herbal – http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/usdisp/allium-sati.html
Romm, A. (2003). Naturally healthy babies and children. Celestial Arts. Berkley CA.
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