Garlic For Health

"Antibiotics present an excellent example of over-dependence on modern medicine.  Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that lives on our skin and in our noses.  It is capable of causing many types of infections and diseases (e.g., impetigo, cellulitis, pneumonia, meningitis).  Penicillin has been used as an antimicrobial to kill this organism.  But, even in the early half of the 1900s, resistance to penicillin was being observed.  In 1945, it was noted that 14% of Staphylococcus aureus was resistant to penicillin.  By 1950, the figure had increased 59%.  And by 1995, 95% of this bacterium was resistant.  Though some of this resistance is the product of over-use of antibiotics and improper use (e.g., failure to take the full course of a prescribed antibiotic), it is also the fault of modern practice and its view of medicines.  Contemporary researchers are always seeking the "magic bullet" chemical that has the highest activity against various harmful (or potentially harmful) organisms.  This often leads them to isolate or synthesize a single chemical for various medications.  Penicillin is a single mycochemical (i.e., a chemical molecule produced by a fungus).  It is much easier for a bacterial population to achieve resistance to this relatively simple antimicobial medication than to gain resistance to Allium sativum (garlic) that utilizes whole plant preparations.  The reason is very simple - plants (and other medicinal organisms) usually do not contain a single active chemical; rather, they contain a suite of related chemicals that act in a synergistic fashion within the body.  Allium sativum contains at least 35 active phytochemicals (e.g., ajoene, allicin, aline, allixin, allyl methyl thisulfinate, dimethyl disulfide).  It is very difficult for bacteria to develop resistance and avoid the impact  of numerous phytochemicals and their complex interactions."   Ancestral Plants by Arthur Haines pg. 22.


by Rex Adams, Parker Publishing Company, Inc. West Nyack NY, 1977, page 29.

Garlic is reportedly the oldest, safest, and surest remedy for asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments.  For centuries, the Chinese, Greeks, and Egyptians all claimed that garlic cured infections of the respiratory tract.  Dioscorides, a Greek physician who accompanied the Roman soldiers as their official doctor, in the 2nd century, specified garlic for all lung disorders.  Pliny, the 1st century Roman naturalist, maintained that garlic cured consumption (TB).  Down through the ages, garlic's reputation as an aid to breathing has persisted.

And that is because of garlic's proven antiseptic, germicidal powers.  Grated garlic placed near the most vicious germs will kill them all in 5 minutes!  Typhoid, cholera, polio, TB - even  leprosy and gonorrhea - have all been stopped dead in their tracks by garlic!  Against garlic, cold, flu, virus and allergy germs don't stand a chance!

In addition, the ethers of garlic are so potent and penetrating they dissolve mucus in the sinuses, bronchial tubes, and lungs.  As one woman stated: "It was from an herb book that I learned about the wonders of garlic, and cleared up pneumonia congestion in my lungs when antibiotics failed."  It is truly Poor Man's Penicillin!



Garlic is the fresh bulb of Allium sativum Linne (Fam. Liliaceae)N.F.Ail,Fr.; Knoblauch,G.  The genus Allium includes a large number of species. Many, and perhaps all, of these species contain volatile oil upon which their activity depends. 

Constituents. The active properties of Garlic depend on a pungent, volatile, essential oil, which may readily be obtained by distillation with water. It is a sulphide of the radical Allyl, present in all the onion family. This oil is rich in Sulphur, but contains no oxygen. The peculiar penetrating odour of Garlic is due to this intensely smelling sulphuret of allyl, and is so diffusive that even when the bulb is applied to the soles of the feet, its odour is exhaled by the lungs.

Allium sativum, L., or English garlic, is a perennial plant with numerous bulbs which have a common membranous covering, from the base of which the fibers that constitute the proper root descend. The stem is simple, and rises about two feet. The leaves are long, flat, keeled and grass-like, and sheathe the lower half of the stem. At the termination of the stem is a cluster of purple flowers and bulbels mingled together, and enclosed in a pointed spathe, which opens on one side and withers.

The flowers make their appearance in July. This species of garlic is indigenous to Europe. It grows wild in Sicily, Italy, and the south of France. The bulbs, or so-called cloves, are usually six or eight in number, oblong or wedge-shaped, and covered with dry membranous scales with a pungent odor and a disagreeable and acrid taste.

Description and Physical Properties.

Whole Garlic.-Bulb sub globular, 4 to 6 cm. in diameter, compound, with 8 to 15 bulbels surrounded by whitish, membranaceous scales and attached to a flattened circular base, the latter with numerous yellowish white roots; 

Odor when broken or bruised powerfully alliaceous, taste intensely pungent and persistent.

Constituents. Such medicinal value as garlic may possess is undoubtedly due to its volatile oil. The oil of garlic is of a dark brownish-yellow color, heavier than water, and decomposed at its boiling temperature. It may be purified by repeated distillation in a salt water bath, and is then lighter than water, of a pale yellow color, and not decomposed by boiling.

The oil,  The impure oil has an exceedingly pungent odor and a strong acrid taste, and, when applied to the skin, produces much irritation and sometimes even blisters.

The pure oil combines with silver nitrate, forming a precipitate soluble in heated alcohol and afterwards separating in crystals. 

Bouillon-Legrange mentions among its constituents sulphur, a saccharine matter, and a small quantity of starch. The fresh bulbs yield upon pressure nearly a fourth part of juice, which is highly viscid, and so tenacious as to require dilution with water before it can be easily filtered. 

Water, alcohol, and vinegar extract the virtues of garlic. Protracted boiling renders it inert. 

Uses. Among the ancients garlic was credited with curative virtues in an extraordinarily large variety of diseases. At the present time its medical employment is limited chiefly to pulmonary conditions such as chronic bronchitis, especially with an asthmatic tendency, and sometimes whooping-cough. And Now There are so many more curative virtues.

Minchin (Pract., Feb., 1915) has revived the ancient idea of its value as an internal antiseptic and lauds it as a remedy for diphtheria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Loeper and DeBray (Bull. Soc. Hop., 1921, xxxvii, 1032), from upon both human beings and dogs, reach the conclusion that the tincture of garlic causes a fall in blood pressure which is most marked in cases of hypertension. They also find that it brings about a leucocytosis. There is no doubt that the oil of garlic is absorbed through the alimentary tract and eliminated partly through the lungs and partly through the urine. Garlic is also occasionally employed as an anthelmintic, especially in domestic practice.

Externally it is employed as a rubefacient and stimulant to the nervous system especially in cases of young children. In catarrhal pneumonia bruised garlic cloves are sometimes applied as a poultice to the lungs, partly because of their counter irritant effect and partly for endermic absorption.

The expressed juice of garlic is sometimes employed in doses of one-half fluidrachm (2 cc.) but the most popular preparation is the syrup, which is recognized by the N. F., and may be given in doses of one to two teaspoonfuls (4-8 cc.). The fresh bulb is occasionally exhibited in substance in doses of from one-half to two drachms (2 to 8 Gm.).

The Common Garlic, a member of the same group of plants as the Onion, is of such antiquity as a cultivated plant, that it is difficult with any certainty to trace the country of its origin. De Candolle, in his treatise on the Origin of Cultivated Plants, considered that it was apparently indigenous to the southwest of Siberia, whence it spread to southern Europe, where it has become naturalized, and is said to be found wild in Sicily.

It is widely cultivated in the Latin countries bordering on the Mediterranean. Dumas has described the air of Provence as being ‘particularly perfumed by the refined essence of this mystically attractive bulb.' 

Description. The leaves are long, narrow and flat like grass. The bulb (the only part eaten) is of a compound nature, consisting of numerous bulblets, known technically as 'cloves,' grouped together between the membraneous scales and enclosed within a whitish skin, which holds them as in a sac.

The flowers are placed at the end of a stalk rising direct from the bulb and are whitish, grouped together in a globular head, or umbel, with an enclosing kind of leaf or spathe, and among them are small bulbils.

To prevent the plant running to leaf, Pliny (Natural History, XIX, 34) advised bending the stalk downward and covering it with earth; seeding, he observed, may be prevented by twisting the stalk.

In England, Garlic, apart from medicinal purposes, is seldom used except as a seasoning, but in the southern counties of Europe it is a common ingredient in dishes, and is largely consumed by the agricultural population. From the earliest times, indeed, Garlic has been used as an article of diet.

Among the ancient Greeks, persons who partook of it were not allowed to enter the temples of Cybele. Homer, however, tells us that it was to the virtues of the 'Yellow Garlic' that Ulysses owed his escape from being changed by Circe into a pig, like each of his companions. Homer also makes Garlic part of the entertainment which Nestor served up to his guest Machaon

There is a curious superstition in some parts of Europe, that if a morsel of the bulb be chewed by a man running a race it will prevent his competitors from getting ahead of him, and Hungarian jockeys will sometimes fasten a clove of Garlic to the bits of their horses in the belief that any other racers running close to those thus baited, will fall back the instant they smell the offensive odour.

A writer in the twelfth century-Alexander Neckam - recommends it as a palliative for the heat of the sun in field labour, and in a book of travel, written by Mountstuart Elphinstone about 100 years ago, he says that 'the people in places where the Simoon is frequent, eat Garlic and rub their lips and noses with it when they go out in the heat of the summer to prevent their suffering from the Simoon.'

Garlic is mentioned in several Old English vocabularies of plants from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, and is described by the herbalists of the sixteenth century from Turner (1548) onwards. It is stated to have been grown in England before the year 1540.,  And if a garden is infested with moles, Garlic or leeks will make them `leap out of the ground presently.' The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, being derived from gar (a spear) and lac (a plant), in reference to the shape of its leaves.

Cultivation. The ground should be prepared in a similar manner as for the closely allied onion. The soil may be sandy, loam or clay, though Garlic flourishes best in a rich, moist, sandy soil. Dig over well, freeing the ground from all lumps and dig some lime into it. Tread firmly. Divide the bulbs into their component `cloves' - each fair- sized bulb will divide into ten or twelve cloves, and with a dibber put in the cloves separately, about 2 inches deep and about 6 inches apart, leaving about a foot between the rows. It is well to give a dressing of soot.

Garlic beds should be in a sunny spot. They must be kept thoroughly free from weeds and the soil gathered up round the roots with a Dutch hoe from time to time. When planted early in the spring, in February or March, the bulbs should be ready for lifting in August, when the leaves will be beginning to wither. Should the summer have been wet and cold, they may probably not be ready till nearly the middle of September.

The use of Garlic as an antiseptic was in great demand during the past war. In 

1916 the Government asked for tons of the bulbs, offering 1 shilling per lb. for as much as could be produced. Each pound generally represents about 20 bulbs, and 5 lb. divided up into cloves and planted, will yield about 38 lb. at the end of the growing season, so it will prove a remunerative crop.

The Crow Garlic (A. vineale) is widely distributed and fairly common in many districts, but the bulbs are very small and the labour of digging them would be great. It is frequent in pastures and communicates its rank taste to milk and butter, when eaten by cows. N.B. Professor Henslow calls A. vineale the Field Garlic, and A. oleraceum the Crow Garlic.

Ramsons (A. ursinum) grows in woods and has a very acrid taste and smell, but it also has very small bulbs, which would hardly render it of practical use. Ramsoms is also very generally known as 'Broad-leaved Garlic.'

The Field Garlic (A. oleraceum) is rather a rare plant. Both this and the Crow Garlic have, however, occasionally been employed as potherbs or for flavouring. It is an old country notion that if crows eat Crow Garlic, it stupefies them.

Ramsons, the wild Wood Garlic, but for its evil smell would rank among the most beautiful of our British plants. Its broad leaves are very similar to those of the Lily of the Valley, and its star-like flowers are a dazzling white, but its odour is too strong to admit of it being picked for its beauty, and many woods, especially in the Cotswold Hills, are spots to be avoided when it is in flower, being so closely carpeted with the plants that every step taken brings out the offensive odour.

There are many species of Allium grown in the garden, the flowers of some of which are even sweet-smelling (as A. odorum and A. fragrans), but they are

 the exceptions, and even these have the Garlic scent in their leaves and roots.

Medicinal Action and Uses. Diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant. Many marvelous effects and healing powers have been ascribed to Garlic. It possesses stimulant and stomachic properties in addition to its other virtues.

As an antiseptic, its use has long been recognized. In the late war it was widely employed in the control of suppuration in wounds. The raw juice is expressed, diluted with water, and put on swabs of sterilized Sphagnum moss, which are applied to the wound. Where this treatment has been given, it has been proved that there have been no septic results, and the lives of thousands of men have been saved by its use.

It is sometimes externally applied in ointments and lotions, and as an antiseptic, to disperse hard swellings, also pounded and employed as a poultice for scrofulous sores. It is said to prevent anthrax in cattle, being largely used for the purpose.

In olden days, Garlic was employed as a specific for leprosy. It was also believed that it had most beneficial results in cases of smallpox, if cut small and applied to the soles of the feet in a linen cloth, renewed daily.

It formed the principal ingredient in the `Four Thieves' Vinegar,' which was adapted so successfully at Marseilles for protection against the plague when it prevailed there in 1722. This originated, it is said, with four thieves who confessed, that whilst protected by the liberal use of aromatic vinegar during the plague, they plundered the dead bodies of its victims with complete security.

It is stated that during an outbreak of infectious fever in certain poor quarters of London, early last century, the French priests who constantly used Garlic in all their dishes, visited the worst cases with impunity, whilst the English clergy caught the infection, and in many instances fell victims to the disease.

Syrup of Garlic is an invaluable medicine for asthma, hoarseness, coughs, difficulty of breathing, and most other disorders of the lungs, being of particular virtue in chronic bronchitis, on account of its powers of promoting expectoration.

It is made by pouring a quart of water, boiled hot, upon a pound of the fresh root, cut into slices, and allowed to stand in a closed vessel for twelve hours, sugar then being added to make it of the consistency of syrup. Vinegar and honey greatly improve this syrup as a medicine. A little caraway and sweet fennel seed bruised and boiled for a short time in the vinegar before it is added to the Garlic, will cover the pungent smell of the latter.

A remedy for asthma, that was formerly most popular, is a syrup of Garlic, made by boiling the bulbs till soft and adding an equal quantity of vinegar to the water in which they have been boiled, and then sugared and boiled down to a syrup. The syrup is then poured over the boiled bulbs, which have been allowed to dry meanwhile, and kept in a jar. Each morning a bulb or two is to be taken, with a spoonful of the syrup.

Syrup made by melting 11⁄2 oz. of lump sugar in 1 oz. of the raw expressed juice may be given to children in cases of coughs without inflammation.

The successful treatment of tubercular consumption by Garlic has been recorded, the freshly expressed juice, diluted with equal quantities of water, or dilute spirit of wine, being inhaled antiseptically.

Bruised and mixed with lard, it has been proved to relieve whooping-cough if rubbed on the chest and between the shoulder-blades.

An infusion of the bruised bulbs, given before and after every meal, has been considered of good effect in epilepsy.

A clove or two of Garlic, pounded with honey and taken two or three nights successively, is good in rheumatism.  Garlic has also been employed with advantage in dropsy, removing the water which may already have collected and preventing its future accumulation. It is stated that some dropsies have been cured by it alone.

If sniffed into the nostrils, it will revive a hysterical sufferer. Amongst physiological results, it is reported that Garlic makes the eye retina more sensitive and less able to bear strong light.

The juice of Garlic, and milk of Garlic made by boiling the bruised bulbs in milk, is used as a vermifuge.

Preparations. 10 to 30 drops. Syrup, 1 drachm. Tincture, 1⁄2 to 1 drachm. Wine of Garlic-made by macerating three or four bulbs in a quart of proof spirit is a good stimulant lotion for baldness of the head.

Used in cookery it is a great aid to digestion, and keeps the coats of the stomach healthy. For this reason, essential oil is made from it and is used in the form of pills.

If a very small piece is chopped fine and put into chicken's food daily, it is a sure preventative of the gapes. Pullets will lay finer eggs by having garlic in their food before they start laying, but when they commence to lay it must be stopped, otherwise it will flavour the eggs.  

And there is More More More & More.........

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