Garlic

IMG_2320 If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have any one herb with you, what would it be? Many people say cayenne. Some say activated charcoal powder. I say garlic.

Garlic is pungent. I’m not a big fan of it in food even. But when it comes to herbs, illness and my family, garlic is usually the first thing I reach for.

I got started using garlic several years ago out of desperation. See, I can totally deal with a wicked cold just fine. Nasty cough, achy joints, congestion, etc.- I have a bag of herbal and home remedy tricks for that stuff and I can fight it!

But a stomach virus? The thought makes me want to cry. I hate throwing up. I was never really morning sick with either pregnancy, and I am so thankful for that. I am a huge wimp when it comes to puking.

A stomach virus started going around our community a few years ago and I . . . well, I freaked out. I was willing to do just about anything to not catch it! So I crushed a big clove of garlic, put it on a spoon, covered it with raw honey and horked it all down.

I should have eaten first. It’s a bad idea to take raw garlic on an empty stomach. Oh my goodness, the burning!

But I didn’t get sick.

Maybe I just escaped the germs that time, but it sold me on the powers of garlic. I started taking a spoonful anytime I thought I might be coming down with a cold, and many times I completely avoided it.

Since then I’ve learned other ways to use garlic (Most not quite as gross as swallowing a spoonful of raw garlic!). With two small children in the house I use it regularly. But before we get into the how-to of garlic, let’s look at the why.

Garlic: Nature’s Antibiotic

In Practical Herbalism (by Phil Fritchey) I read:

Probably because of the strong sulphury odor associated with it, garlic was given mixed reviews by historical herbalists…Pliny gives an exceedingly long list of complaints, in which it was considered beneficial, and Galen eulogizes it as the rustics’ Theriac, or "Heal-All.” Garlic was an important ingredient in the famous Vinegar of Four Thieves that protected looters that plundered the bodies and homes of Plague victims. In more recent times, garlic has gained the status of one of the few herbs universally recognized as a beneficial healer. Prior to the advent of antibiotics, and during wars when they have been in short supply, garlic preparations were used on wounds to prevent infection. Practical experience and scientific research alike has confirmed its abilities to strengthen immune function, improve circulation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, quell infections and lower fevers. In laboratory studies, garlic has been shown to have direct anti-microbial actions equivalent to many anti-biotic drugs, but without those drugs’ tendency to create resistant strains of pathogens.

And in The ABC Herbal (by Steven H. Horne) there is an interesting story:

Garlic helps stimulate the flow of blood and lymph, promotes perspiration, expels phlegm and otherwise improves the internal environment to make it unfriendly to harmful micro-organisms.

In fact, a nurse who worked in a hospital growing bacterial cultures told me how she had proven to herself the powerful effect of garlic. She took a petri dish with a very powerful strain of bacteria and set a peeled clove of garlic in the center of the dish. Within two hours, every bacteria in the dish was dead. She told me it took eight hours for the strongest antibiotic the hospital had to kill that same strain of bacteria when the antibiotic was sprayed over the whole plate. That shows you how penetrating the effects of garlic are.

Open any book on herbs and you will most likely find a section singing the praises of garlic as a powerful infection fighter. That, combined with my personal success using garlic, keeps me reaching for it again and again.

Fast and Effective-Garlic On A Spoon

Now this isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of stomach (unless you just really love garlic). But it’s a quick and effective way to get the healing properties of garlic into your system and started working.

-Ingredients-

1 clove garlic, 2 if they’re small Raw honey*

1. Peel garlic, then crush or finely chop. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the compounds to mix and activate.

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2. While the garlic is sitting, eat a snack or part of a meal. This is important unless you have an iron stomach!

3. Scoop garlic onto a spoon, then cover with raw honey. Swallow it quickly, then chase it down with a glass of water.

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4. Eat a few more bites of food to help settle the garlic, otherwise you’ll be tasting it quite a bit over the next hour.

 

*Honey is the best way I’ve found to help get the garlic down. Spaghetti sauce isn’t too bad either. I’ve heard some people just use juice or even water, but I tried that once and almost didn’t get the garlic down. So I stick with honey!

Notes: To easily peel the garlic, first smash the clove with the bottom of a glass. The skin slips right off after it’s been bruised.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I cannot give you medical advice and you should always consult with your health care provider. I share what has worked for me and hope that you find it informative and are encouraged to take charge of your own health and make healthy choices.