Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Easy Medicinal Herbs - Garlic

Garlic -- Allium Sativum

When I was young, people weren't so European in their cooking, and even though my mother was a Ukrainian-American, she never used garlic in her food. I guess my father didn't like it. I really didn't know anyone who used garlic. When I was first married, I wanted to expand my mother's recipes and started experimenting with new and cultural dishes. Honestly, I didn't even know how to open a garlic bulb. One time when a spaghetti recipe called for 1 clove of garlic, I threw the whole bulb in! The odor was so strong to us that two weeks later, someone came over and asked if we were having spaghetti for supper.

Now I can't imagine my kitchen without some garlic on the counter or in the fridge. Several years ago, we became aware of garlic as a medicinal and started taking garlic pills to aid in heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. It may also be good in regulating blood glucose levels and preventing cancer. Now that we're in the middle of winter, it might be wise to take extra garlic to help fight a common cold.

For a good vapor rub, crush 6 cloves of garlic and add 1 Tablespoon of petroleum jelly in a glass or enamel pan. Heat until the jelly is melted and put into a sterilized jar. Cool. Use as a rub on the chest when needed.

For a cough aid, finely chop 8 cloves of garlic and place in a sterilized jar. Cover with 4 Tablespoons of organic honey. Use 1 teaspoon every 2 hours for relief.

For centuries the Chinese have used garlic to heal wounds by placing slices of raw garlic directly on the affected site. During World War I, the American military followed suit on the battle field.

In cold areas like mine, plant garlic 6 weeks before the ground freezes and then harvest in late spring. Cut the scapes back  as they grow, to force larger bulbs. Garlic is virtually pest free  (what insect would want to take a bite out of that powerful tasting plant)  and doesn't even mind close planting.   How easy is that? 

Although garlic is known as an antibacterial, antiviral, and an antifungal, it does have one very noticeable side effect -- halitosis, better known as bad breath! The cure for this? Eat garlic with friends!

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Bits, Tales, and Yarns - my newest writing adventure.


Carol said...

Great post! I love how you say "eat garlic with friends"... for truly there is one side effect... BAD breath! Whew! ... but that does not keep me from eating it raw in my salads ... when I am alone for awhile. Peppermint is a good cure along with a good far back near gagging tongue scrub! ;>))

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi Jane Marie, I am amazed and impressed with your stream of informative herbal posts! I know where to look if I need answers or just want to learn about something new! I love your header photo...it's been quite a while since I've been over to visit;( I hope you are well. Jan

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Jane Marie - a lovely posting and good for the time of year when so many colds and things around - the natural remedies are so often the best! Unfortunately garlic and me don't get on v. well although I do like it! It infact gives me tummy pains for some reason? I notice that you also like Day Lilies - wonderful plants! Miranda