Garlic and Its Healing Powers

A hardy perennial, garlic grows to about 12-36 in (30-90cm), with long, green, strap-like leaves growing from leaf sheaths up the unbranched stem. On top of the stem, a clump of small, white florets is held together by a leaf-shaped skin. The bulb is the most important part of the plant, both for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is made up of a number of cloves or bulbets enclosed in a paper-like skin.

Garlic is one of the most trusted herbs, valued for its flavor and healing powers. It’s generally regarded as a preventive measure for colds and influenza, and is an approved remedy in some countries for cardiovascular conditions, especially high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. Medicinally, it is usually taken in capsule form because of its pungent odor.

The essential oil is distilled from the garlic bulb – a tight papery sheath enclosing numerous cloves. The perfume is strong, pungent, and lingering.

Add garlic to savory dishes with meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, soups, stews, salads, dressing, and vinegars.

It is ideal for respiratory tract infections where it will act as a decongestant, loosening and removing mucus too.

It increases perspiration thereby cooling and reducing fever.

Cystitis sufferers may find garlic capsules an effective treatment (maybe only temporarily until the cause is found and treated). The antibiotic action is such that it doesn’t destroy the beneficial flora in the intestine.

Of great benefit to the digestive system, garlic stimulates bile production, tones the entire system, relieves cramps, spasms, and gas in the intestines, and counteracts the effects of overindulgence in food.

Garlic prevents or destroys fungal infections, and the oil can be beneficial dabbed on ringworm, spots, and pimples.

In the garden, it is useful in sprays to repel insect pests, and for pets to repel fleas.

Caution: Garlic (and its odor) may irritate sensitive stomachs. Children need to be introduced in garlic very slowly.

Growing and harvesting
Grow garlic from bulbets in a sunny spot with moderate water. Plant it near apple or peach trees, lettuces, parsnips, and roses, but away from beans, cabbages, and strawberries. To harvest, dig bulbs gently in late summer.

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