If I had to choose just one herb to send with Rebekah to the jungles of P.N.G., I would without question send garlic.
Scientific research has confirmed the effectiveness of garlic in treating many health abnormalities.
Garlic is presently most popular for its amazing ability to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. A good percentage of middle age and elderly Americans are using garlic to help control high blood pressure and heart disease.
Garlic is an anti-fungal. Applied topically, it kills a wide range of fungal skin diseases. It has been shown to kill common intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms. Garlic’s antibiotic and antibacterial properties have proven to be equal, and in many cases superior to commonly used antibiotics.
Medical science has little to offer when we suffer from a virus, but garlic has demonstrated strong antiviral properties. It has proven to boost one’s resistance to contracting flue, and to be effective in fighting the infections if one has already succumbed to the virus.
Everyone knows that garlic is popular at the Pearl house. We are constantly being fanned away. To make a topical ointment, I soak a garlic clove in warm olive oil for 24 hours. For treating ear infection, I put a few drops of the oil in the ear every few hours. I use this oil for minor abrasions as well as infected insect bites. To treat an ear infection when the garlic ointment is not available, I sometimes just stick a bruised clove of garlic right into the outside canal of the ear (not to deeply). For gland infections, I rub the garlic ointment or fresh garlic right on the area over the gland. Garlic has the ability to penetrate through the skin. Sinus infections can also be treated by external application. Rub the fresh garlic or garlic oil into the skin right over the sinus cavities.
Treating serious infections, viruses, flu, bad colds, etc., I put a clove of garlic and 2 cups of warm water, in a blender and use the strained liquid as an enema. In cases of athletes foot (fungus), I bathe the feet in the garlic water (blender mixture), dry, and then apply the garlic oil.
As a midwife, if there is any reason to suspect infection, I have the new mother use the garlic enemas and douches. The only caution needed in the use of garlic is to remember it is a powerful remedy. Raw garlic can cause a “burn” on the skin in just a few minutes (skin gets hot and red). It can make your stomach burn if you eat raw garlic. If the enema is too strong or done too often, it can cause discomfort.
For convenience, you can purchase garlic oil capsules. Wal-Mart and most any drug store carries them. If you desire to reduce the odor and taste, you can purchase the “garlic with parsley” capsules. The parsley greatly reduces the odor and flavor.
A simple book that covers the use of garlic, as well as a few other herbs useful in treating children, is: The ABC Herbal, by Steven Horne. Some of his other books tend toward New Age, but this one is intelligent. You can order it by phone. (1-800-421-2401).