GARLIC

Botanical Information

Latin: Allium sativum
Actions: Antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, antifungal, anthelmintic, immune-stimulating, hypotensive, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cholagogue.
Active against: Tuberculosis, Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus spp., Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Proteus mirabilis, herpes simplex, influenza B, HIV, and many others.

Story

I lived and worked among the Kumboi people in the highlands of Papua New Guinea during 1997-1998. I was the first white person they had ever seen. They affectionately named me “mbiny kuloi ai yande,” the albino daughter. I was there to teach literacy and compile a translation of the New Testament in their language, but healthcare inevitably took up some of my time. The main health problems in those mountains were infections of all sorts, from skin boils and abscessed wounds to lung conditions like pneumonia.
Rather than destroy their precariously built immune systems with antibiotics, I planted a huge garlic garden and explored the uses of that smelly herb. The village ladies were enthusiastic. We tried everything from garlic poultices on external infections and internal doses for parasites (we also used pumpkin seeds for that), to garlic water enemas.
What a job it was to explain the civilized reasoning behind enemas! I showed the village ladies how to use a clove in the ear for ear infections, hot-garlic chest poultices for lung infections, a few drops of diluted garlic water on an infected umbilical cord and a warm washcloth saturated with diluted garlic water on the baby’s belly. Mothers were taught the benefits of using garlic poultices on general infections, and how the ingesting of garlic by mothers could help prevent any afterbirth infections due to prolapsed uterus, etc.
I cannot give garlic all the credit for the success we had; I’m certain that God, as usual, was working miracles. The most encouraging thing about the use of garlic in rural conditions is that, when I left that village, I did not take my medical care with me; it remained there in a little aromatic patch in the middle of those thatched huts and has continued to heal a multitude of diseases.

Interesting Facts!

Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is the most powerful herb for the treatment of antibiotic resistant disease. No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiating power. Unlike traditional medications, and many herbs, garlic is directly effective against viruses. It has been successfully used to treat all of the following common conditions:

• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Active bacterial infections
• Gastrointestinal infections
• Sinus infection
• Infections of eye, nose, and ears
• Athlete’s foot and surface skin infections
• Prevention of blood infections such as gangrene and amebic dysentery

Varieties:

There are literally hundreds of varieties of Garlic, but the most common two are Softneck, and Hardneck Garlic. Three other popular varieties are:
Rocambole Garlic, a special type of Hardneck Garlic that is said to have the best flavor, is a very beautiful plant, with tall curling stems that can extend to a height of five feet or more.
Elephant Garlic, which is closely related to the leek. It’s also called “giant garlic.” It has a very rich, but mild, flavor.
Spring Baby Garlic, which doesn’t have an identifiable bulb, but looks and is used like shallots (green onions). The green tops taste like garlic, which makes it a fun seasoning to cook with.

Recognizing Garlic:

A Garlic bulb looks like a small lumpy onion. When the papery covering is peeled off, the bulb will separate into cloves that may be as thick as your thumb, or as thin as a baby’s pinky finger. The cloves are also covered with a thin natural paper that must be removed before use.
Hardneck Garlic plants have tall woody flower stalks. The flower, at the top of the stalk, contains “bulbils” which are seeds that can be planted to grow new garlic plants. Most gourmet chefs prefer Hardneck Garlic over the other varieties because of its flavor.
Softneck Garlic plants do not produce a flowering stalk, and the top of the bulb is flexible and papery. Softneck Garlic usually has a longer shelf life than the Hardneck variety, with more, but smaller cloves per bulb. The cloves can be planted to produce new plants. Look closely at the pictures so you will be familiar with the way garlic looks and be able to recognize it growing, or in the grocery store.

How to Grow Garlic

Garlic likes full sun and well drained soil. It is quite tolerant of soil types and textures, but definitely prefers a sandy loam that crumbles easily in your hand. This will allow the bulb to grow nice and fat without fighting hard soil as it expands. Garlic roots like to go pretty deep, so make sure you loosen the soil 6-10 inches before you plant your garlic. Mixing in well-composted manure will help guarantee a beautiful plant. Fall is the best time to plant, as garlic is a bulb (just like tulips are bulbs), but you can also plant in the early spring. Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Garlic actually likes cold weather (some of the best garlic is grown in New York), so don’t worry if the temperature gets below zero.
“Crack” a bulb open and pull some individual cloves free . Bigger cloves mean bigger bulbs, so you might not want to use the tiny cloves near the center of the bulb. Push each clove (pointed tip up) down into the soil so that the tip is at least 2 inches below surface. Your planted cloves should be about 4 inches apart. Planting them with a 2 foot space between rows will allow you room to weed in the springtime. Sprinkling store bought fertilizer, or cow manure, on your planted garlic once or twice during the spring will help it grow larger. Mulching in very cold winters is important in the Western states, as it helps to regulate the extreme temperature changes from day to night. It also helps control the weeds in the spring. I use old straw or hay for mulch. The colder the winter, the more mulch is necessary. Try an old farmer’s test for watering: Clump a handful of soil in your fist. If the clump stays together when you relax your hand, your soil is wet enough. If it falls apart, water your garlic. In the early summer when your garlic stalks are standing high, stop watering. When the bulbs are finishing their growth , they need to dry out a bit, and too much water will give them dirty, yucky paper wrappings. Don’t wait too long to harvest, or your bulbs will become dry and useless. When the lower third-to- half of the plants’ leaves have turned brown, but there are still mostly green leaves higher on the plants, it’s time to harvest. Dig up a couple plants to see how they look. If your bulbs are plump and firm, harvest the rest of your patch. Don’t just pull on the stalks, dig up the bulb. Remove the dirt and store in a cool, dry place.

Using Garlic

First go to the garden, or the grocery store, and bring home a couple bulbs of garlic. Remember, a bulb is the large seed pod of the plant, which can be separated into many cloves.

Garlic Poultice

Break off two or three large cloves and lay them on your counter. Start some water heating on the stove, and then lay out a clean washcloth or double thick paper towels. Smack the garlic cloves with the bottom of a heavy glass to lightly bruise or crush them. Now the papery skin will come off easily. Take the bruised cloves and dice them up, or smash them in a garlic press so that the juice and the smell billows out to make you hungry for lasagna. Lay the 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic in the center of your washcloth or paper towels and fold in the edges of the cloth, creating what I call a “poultice” or “plaster.” Lay this garlic pad in a bowl or plate and pour the warm/hot (but not boiling) water over it. (If your water is too hot, it may kill some of the powerful healing properties in the garlic. You should be able to keep your fingers in the water without scalding yourself.) Let it sit for 5 seconds or so, and then fish it out and squeeze the excess water out with your hands. Place the warm (not hot!) poultice on the chest, the back, and the soles of the feet (alternately) for about 60 seconds each for viruses, colds, flu, infections, etc.
Garlic poultices can also be used for earache – holding the poultice against the infected ear. For flesh wound infections – hold against the wound lightly. Eye infections – hold over closed eye.

Garlic Oil for Earache

Lightly warm a few tablespoons of olive oil with crushed garlic in it. Thoroughly strain out all of the garlic, making sure the oil is completely clear of chunks and small pieces. Now drop the warm oil into infected ear, and lie still for five minutes to let the oil do its work. Be ready with a paper towel to catch the dripping oil when you stand to your feet again. Also, a bruised clove of garlic wedged in the ear for ear aches will work (but be careful not to leave too long or you will burn the skin!).

Garlic Water

1/2 cup very warm water poured over crushed garlic in a strainer.
Add:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar,
1 tablespoon of honey
Stir and gargle for strep, sore throats, and mouth
infections.

Eating Garlic

Eating Garlic is for tough stoics only. But if you’d rather eat Garlic than get a bad cold, here’s how:
Crush, and then mince a medium size garlic clove into small pieces. Position the garlic in a teaspoon. Dribble honey over the small mound of garlic until it is completely covered. Have a glass of juice or water in hand. Quickly take the spoon of garlic, and swallow immediately, without chewing or separating the mass in your mouth. Wash down with water or juice right away. Eating a banana, or a bunch of celery will help take away any residual taste.

WARNINGS:

Garlic can cause nausea and even vomiting if taken in large quantities. Avoid direct contact with skin, as it can burn. If burning occurs, wash affected area with soap and water, and apply Aloe Vera gel for soothing and healing. If garlic in the eyes occurs, flush repeatedly with water.

Garlic Quiz:

  • What is the Latin name for Garlic?
  • What are the two main kinds of Garlic?
  • Name one other type of Garlic.
  • Is Garlic effective against viruses?
  • List three “Actions” of Garlic.
  • List three common conditions that Garlic can treat.
  • List three different methods of using Garlic.
  • What part of Garlic can you plant in order to grow more Garlic?
  • What are the warnings for using Garlic?
  • Write a short story of how Garlic could be useful in your family.

Download PDF

You may also
download the PDF version of this article to print or save for later reference.

GARLIC

Botanical Information

Latin: Allium sativumActions: Antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, antifungal, anthelmintic, immune-stimulating, hypotensive, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cholagogue.Active against: Tuberculosis, Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus spp., Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Proteus mirabilis, herpes simplex, influenza B, HIV, and many others.

Story

I lived and worked among the Kumboi people in the highlands of Papua New Guinea during 1997-1998. I was the first white person they had ever seen. They affectionately named me “mbiny kuloi ai yande,” the albino daughter. I was there to teach literacy and compile a translation of the New Testament in their language, but healthcare inevitably took up some of my time. The main health problems in those mountains were infections of all sorts, from skin boils and abscessed wounds to lung conditions like pneumonia.Rather than destroy their precariously built immune systems with antibiotics, I planted a huge garlic garden and explored the uses of that smelly herb. The village ladies were enthusiastic. We tried everything from garlic poultices on external infections and internal doses for parasites (we also used pumpkin seeds for that), to garlic water enemas.What a job it was to explain the civilized reasoning behind enemas! I showed the village ladies how to use a clove in the ear for ear infections, hot-garlic chest poultices for lung infections, a few drops of diluted garlic water on an infected umbilical cord and a warm washcloth saturated with diluted garlic water on the baby’s belly. Mothers were taught the benefits of using garlic poultices on general infections, and how the ingesting of garlic by mothers could help prevent any afterbirth infections due to prolapsed uterus, etc.I cannot give garlic all the credit for the success we had; I’m certain that God, as usual, was working miracles. The most encouraging thing about the use of garlic in rural conditions is that, when I left that village, I did not take my medical care with me; it remained there in a little aromatic patch in the middle of those thatched huts and has continued to heal a multitude of diseases.

Interesting Facts!

Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is the most powerful herb for the treatment of antibiotic resistant disease. No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiating power. Unlike traditional medications, and many herbs, garlic is directly effective against viruses. It has been successfully used to treat all of the following common conditions:

• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Active bacterial infections
• Gastrointestinal infections
• Sinus infection
• Infections of eye, nose, and ears
• Athlete’s foot and surface skin infections
• Prevention of blood infections such as gangrene and amebic dysentery

Varieties:

There are literally hundreds of varieties of Garlic, but the most common two are Softneck, and Hardneck Garlic. Three other popular varieties are:Rocambole Garlic, a special type of Hardneck Garlic that is said to have the best flavor, is a very beautiful plant, with tall curling stems that can extend to a height of five feet or more.Elephant Garlic, which is closely related to the leek. It’s also called “giant garlic.” It has a very rich, but mild, flavor.Spring Baby Garlic, which doesn’t have an identifiable bulb, but looks and is used like shallots (green onions). The green tops taste like garlic, which makes it a fun seasoning to cook with.

Recognizing Garlic:

A Garlic bulb looks like a small lumpy onion. When the papery covering is peeled off, the bulb will separate into cloves that may be as thick as your thumb, or as thin as a baby’s pinky finger. The cloves are also covered with a thin natural paper that must be removed before use.Hardneck Garlic plants have tall woody flower stalks. The flower, at the top of the stalk, contains “bulbils” which are seeds that can be planted to grow new garlic plants. Most gourmet chefs prefer Hardneck Garlic over the other varieties because of its flavor.Softneck Garlic plants do not produce a flowering stalk, and the top of the bulb is flexible and papery. Softneck Garlic usually has a longer shelf life than the Hardneck variety, with more, but smaller cloves per bulb. The cloves can be planted to produce new plants. Look closely at the pictures so you will be familiar with the way garlic looks and be able to recognize it growing, or in the grocery store.

How to Grow Garlic

Garlic likes full sun and well drained soil. It is quite tolerant of soil types and textures, but definitely prefers a sandy loam that crumbles easily in your hand. This will allow the bulb to grow nice and fat without fighting hard soil as it expands. Garlic roots like to go pretty deep, so make sure you loosen the soil 6-10 inches before you plant your garlic. Mixing in well-composted manure will help guarantee a beautiful plant. Fall is the best time to plant, as garlic is a bulb (just like tulips are bulbs), but you can also plant in the early spring. Plant 4 – 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Garlic actually likes cold weather (some of the best garlic is grown in New York), so don’t worry if the temperature gets below zero.“Crack” a bulb open and pull some individual cloves free . Bigger cloves mean bigger bulbs, so you might not want to use the tiny cloves near the center of the bulb. Push each clove (pointed tip up) down into the soil so that the tip is at least 2 inches below surface. Your planted cloves should be about 4 inches apart. Planting them with a 2 foot space between rows will allow you room to weed in the springtime. Sprinkling store bought fertilizer, or cow manure, on your planted garlic once or twice during the spring will help it grow larger. Mulching in very cold winters is important in the Western states, as it helps to regulate the extreme temperature changes from day to night. It also helps control the weeds in the spring. I use old straw or hay for mulch. The colder the winter, the more mulch is necessary. Try an old farmer’s test for watering: Clump a handful of soil in your fist. If the clump stays together when you relax your hand, your soil is wet enough. If it falls apart, water your garlic. In the early summer when your garlic stalks are standing high, stop watering. When the bulbs are finishing their growth , they need to dry out a bit, and too much water will give them dirty, yucky paper wrappings. Don’t wait too long to harvest, or your bulbs will become dry and useless. When the lower third-to- half of the plants’ leaves have turned brown, but there are still mostly green leaves higher on the plants, it’s time to harvest. Dig up a couple plants to see how they look. If your bulbs are plump and firm, harvest the rest of your patch. Don’t just pull on the stalks, dig up the bulb. Remove the dirt and store in a cool, dry place.

Using Garlic

First go to the garden, or the grocery store, and bring home a couple bulbs of garlic. Remember, a bulb is the large seed pod of the plant, which can be separated into many cloves.

Garlic Poultice

Break off two or three large cloves and lay them on your counter. Start some water heating on the stove, and then lay out a clean washcloth or double thick paper towels. Smack the garlic cloves with the bottom of a heavy glass to lightly bruise or crush them. Now the papery skin will come off easily. Take the bruised cloves and dice them up, or smash them in a garlic press so that the juice and the smell billows out to make you hungry for lasagna. Lay the 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic in the center of your washcloth or paper towels and fold in the edges of the cloth, creating what I call a “poultice” or “plaster.” Lay this garlic pad in a bowl or plate and pour the warm/hot (but not boiling) water over it. (If your water is too hot, it may kill some of the powerful healing properties in the garlic. You should be able to keep your fingers in the water without scalding yourself.) Let it sit for 5 seconds or so, and then fish it out and squeeze the excess water out with your hands. Place the warm (not hot!) poultice on the chest, the back, and the soles of the feet (alternately) for about 60 seconds each for viruses, colds, flu, infections, etc.Garlic poultices can also be used for earache – holding the poultice against the infected ear. For flesh wound infections – hold against the wound lightly. Eye infections – hold over closed eye.

Garlic Oil for Earache

Lightly warm a few tablespoons of olive oil with crushed garlic in it. Thoroughly strain out all of the garlic, making sure the oil is completely clear of chunks and small pieces. Now drop the warm oil into infected ear, and lie still for five minutes to let the oil do its work. Be ready with a paper towel to catch the dripping oil when you stand to your feet again. Also, a bruised clove of garlic wedged in the ear for ear aches will work (but be careful not to leave too long or you will burn the skin!).

Garlic Water

1/2 cup very warm water poured over crushed garlic in a strainer.
Add:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar,
1 tablespoon of honey
Stir and gargle for strep, sore throats, and mouth
infections.

Eating Garlic

Eating Garlic is for tough stoics only. But if you’d rather eat Garlic than get a bad cold, here’s how:
Crush, and then mince a medium size garlic clove into small pieces. Position the garlic in a teaspoon. Dribble honey over the small mound of garlic until it is completely covered. Have a glass of juice or water in hand. Quickly take the spoon of garlic, and swallow immediately, without chewing or separating the mass in your mouth. Wash down with water or juice right away. Eating a banana, or a bunch of celery will help take away any residual taste.

WARNINGS:

Garlic can cause nausea and even vomiting if taken in large quantities. Avoid direct contact with skin, as it can burn. If burning occurs, wash affected area with soap and water, and apply Aloe Vera gel for soothing and healing. If garlic in the eyes occurs, flush repeatedly with water.

Garlic Quiz:

  • What is the Latin name for Garlic?
  • What are the two main kinds of Garlic?
  • Name one other type of Garlic.
  • Is Garlic effective against viruses?
  • List three “Actions” of Garlic.
  • List three common conditions that Garlic can treat.
  • List three different methods of using Garlic.
  • What part of Garlic can you plant in order to grow more Garlic?
  • What are the warnings for using Garlic?
  • Write a short story of how Garlic could be useful in your family.

Download PDF

You may also
download the PDF version of this article to print or save for later reference.