Parts Used: bulb
Meridians/Organs affected: lungs, kidneys, spleen, stomach, colon, cardiovascular, immune, circulatory
Properties: Yang tonic, stimulant, diuretic, alterative, digestive, carminative, expectorant, parasiticide, antibiotic, antifungal, emmenogogue, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, antiseptic, anti-protozoan, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, hypotensive, immune-stimulating, vulnerary, anti-venomous
Garlic is a member of the Lily family. It is a hardy, clump-forming perennial that is composed of several cloves that comprise a bulb. It has flat leaves that get up to 2 feet long and appear early on followed by a flowering head of greenish-white flowers.
Allium is the Latin name for garlic. It is a close relative of onions, leeks, and scallions. The history of this plant goes back several thousand years, approximately 3000 years before Christ, where it was used by the Babylonians. It was mentioned in a Chinese book called, 'Calendar of the Hsai' 2000 years before Christ and is part of ancient Talmudic law which says it must be used on certain occasions in certain dishes. The Egyptians in Pharaoh's time used it to feed the workers and the slaves to give them stamina and strength. It was found included in King Tut's tomb and was cultivated in the Middle East between 5 and 6000 years ago. The Greeks and Romans consumed alot of it and the Romans used to brag that no one could conquer them because garlic made them so strong. However, they wouldn't permit garlic or people who had recently consumed garlic in their temples because of the odor. Pliny used it for dozens of issues and Galen referred to it as a 'cure-all'. Hippocrates used it as a laxative and for leprosy, tumors of the uterus, chest pains, toothaches, epilepsy, and wounds during battle. Dioscorides used it for intestinal worms.
Throughout the ages garlic has been used for any number of things such as: pneumonia, bronchitis, cholera, cancer, gastric ulcers, worms, hemorrhoids, dysentery, leprosy, acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, constipation, rheumatism, tuberculosis, diabetes, whooping cough, spinal meningitis, cold sores and snake bites.
In Muslim legend it is believed garlic sprang up where Satan stepped when he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. On a more positive note, it is also believed to protect against vampires.
During the 1940's a chemist in Switzerland extracted oil from garlic and called it allin. He found that it was attached to an enzyme which he called aminase. This enzyme was found to change the allin to allicin when garlic is crushed. It is what gives garlic its odor and its antibacterial abilities. In fact, it was found that even when diluted to 1/125,000 that it was saving many lives during the plague. Cotton Mather, a leader for the New England colonies, used garlic cloves on the feet of smallpox victims. In experiments done in India they found that eating garlic lowers cholesterol and other fats by a significant margin. It was used in both world wars to prevent septicemia and gangrene. In 1963, Japanese researchers found that garlic extract injected into rats killed tumor cells.
There have been so many studies done on this herb that its efficacy as a medicinal plant is undisputed. It has been proven to stimulate metabolism, to ease lower back and joint pains, help lung and bronchial infections, mucus conditions, genito-urinary infections, candida, and pinworms. Lab studies have shown its effectiveness against strep, staph, Salmonella, shigella, pseudomonas, E. Coli, campylobacter, herpes simplex, influenza, HIV and a host of other gram negative and gram positive bacteria. The Chinese have found it exceptionally effective against meningitis and encephalitis. The Africans use it for dysentery, toxoplasmosis and a host of other issues. It activates the immune system and helps to protect the body from infection. It is largely used in the usa for cardiovascular issues and cholesterol.
One could go on and on about garlic-the studies, the papers written and its effectiveness, but you get the point. It is not recommended for nursing mothers as it can transfer to the milk. Garlic is best gathered between September and October between 9 am and 4 pm when it is at its most medicinal.
As is customary with my posts I am including some links below for your benefit. Use them well and stay healthy!