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Garden Lifestyle

Garlic as an Herbal Medicine

Garlic has a more practical side that you may not be aware of and it just might be the information you need to push you over the proverbial edge to plant some in your garden this year.

Photo by CarbonNYC under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Photo/Illustration: Carbon NYC

Garlic (Allium sativum) is recognized world-wide by its none-to-subtle odor and taste. Its flavor is unmistakable as just as irreplaceable in sauces, roasting, and as a seasoning for countless dishes. Food preparers would probably be lost without it – I know I would; I adore garlic. Maybe it’s my Italian heritage or maybe like dogs, I love to roll in strong-smelling substances, but whatever the case garlic is my favorite seasoning hands-down.

But garlic has a more practical side that you may not be aware of and it just might be the information you need to push you over the proverbial edge and plant some in your garden this year. According to Webster an herb is described as a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic quality. Good old garlic covers all these definitions and then some.

It contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, selenium, and scordinins. But perhaps its most valuable property is its high contents of volatile oils. Traditionally, garlic has been heralded through the ages as a treatment for various infections from tuberculosis to typhoid. During WWI, garlic was even used to treat soldier’s wounds.

Garlic as an Antibiotic

Considered a powerful treatment for many health issues, garlic is well-known for treating colds, flu, ear, and chest infections. It’s also excellent for infections in the intestinal tract and clears out intestinal parasites (worms) to boot. As a natural antibiotic, garlic may be taken with prescribed antibiotics which supports the medication and helps with potential side-effects of the prescribed medication. Take 2 – 100 mg. garlic capsules 3 times a day for bronchitis. The capsules or tablets can be purchased at nutritional centers world-wide and come in an odorless form, as well.

Garlic for a Healthy Circulatory System

Extensive research has been done in Japan, Germany and the United States during the 1980s and there are still disagreements on exactly how garlic achieves such powerful results as an antibiotic. However, the fact that it reduces blood lipid levels and lowers blood pressure was confirmed during those clinical trials.

Garlic is a natural blood-thinner, therefore aids in preventing strokes and other circulatory problems while lowering blood-pressure and cholesterol levels. Because it also lowers blood sugar levels, garlic is a healthy addition to the diet of people with late-onset diabetes. Garlic can be taken in tablet form regularly for high blood-pressure as well as bronchitis. Nutritionists suggest using chopped garlic in prepared food dishes regularly to promote good health. You don’t have to tell me twice, I’d eat it even if it gave me facial break-outs.

How to Grow Garlic

Garlic thrives in deep, rich, fertile soils, and full sun. As far as preparing the garlic bed, I just add some compost or composted manure and stir it all up like cake mix. You’ll need to purchase (or obtain from another gardener) a garlic head. Peel the papery skin off the garlic and separate the cloves. Plant the full and healthy-looking cloves only. Plant them 1” -2” deep and 4”-6” apart with the root end down. Usually, you’ll be planting garlic in the fall around Columbus Day (almost country-wide), but if you happen to live in the deep south plant them a little later.

Cover the cloves with loose soil and mulch the bed with straw or some other organic much for the winter. Garlic bulbs are actively growing in the spring, so keep them watered well. Also, don’t start with garlic bought in the grocery store. Many times they are treated with an anti-sprouting chemical.

The information in this article is for informational use only. It is not meant to be a substitute for seeking advice from a medical professional. If you have an infection of any kind or circulatory problems seek medical care immediately.

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