In the book Healing Herbs
, Tina Sams breaks down the beneficial properties of some of the most commonly found plants. Nearly everyone uses garlic in their kitchen, but maybe it belongs in your medicine cabinet too! Check out what makes garlic such a powerful medicinal superhero!
To many, garlic has been a typical ingredient, as common as salt and pepper on the kitchen table. Though my family rarely cooked with garlic, I would wrangle an invite to dinner with the Italian family down the road every chance I got.
There was nothing that came out of my neighbors’ kitchen that didn’t make my mouth water upon the slightest whiff of garlicky goodness. Garlic is a bulb composed of between four and fifteen cloves in a husk that ranges in hue from clear white to tan or even pink.
Growing garlic is ridiculously easy. Find an organic source, buy a bulb, and place the cloves in the ground about 2 inches (5 cm) deep in full sun. Stalks, called “scapes,” come up in early summer and are trimmed off before blooming so that the bulbs get the growth energy instead of the flower.
The scapes can be used in the same way as garlic, and have recently become a sought-after vegetable. When the cut stalks turn brown, it is time to harvest. Store in a cool, dry spot in the same way you would store onions. Many people braid the stalks and hang the garlic bulbs, removing them from the bottom as they are needed. Garlic has been popular in folk medicine for many generations and has been in use in China, Europe, and India for eons.
Even the ancient Egyptians used it for both food and medicine.It has a long, rich history, and it is no exaggeration to say that garlic is a bit of a miracle. Entire books have been written as odes to the “stinking rose” and still we continue to find more benefits from its use.
One of the best-known healing components in garlic is called allicin. The pharmaceutical crowd would move to isolate this one component and leave the rest behind, but in herbalism we know that the whole plant contains buffers and synergistic substances that activate and smooth out the effectiveness.
Allicin comes in this great-tasting package, a naturally occurring antibiotic and healing powerhouse combined with enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy.
There are more than 100 valuable healing components included in garlic, many of which are currently being researched. Garlic is often used in an ear oil to help with the painful ear infections of early childhood. It has immense healing and preventive properties to fight influenza, colds, and yeasts and fungi-like thrush and athlete’s foot.
It fights staph infection, and during World Wars I and II army medics used garlic juice–soaked moss to prevent gangrene and help fight wound infection.Crushed garlic or garlic oil can pull infection from a cut, but don’t lay this simple poultice directly on the skin, as it is potent and may raise blisters.
Garlic image by Donovan Govan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Garlic is often used in an ear oil to help with the painful ear infections of early childhood. It has immense healing and preventive properties to fight influenza, colds, and yeasts and fungi-like thrush and athlete’s foot. It fights staphinfection, and during World Wars I and II armymedics used garlic juice–soaked moss to pre-vent gangrene and help fight wound infection.Crushed garlic or garlic oil can pull infection from a cut, but don’t lay this simple poultice directly on the skin, as it is potent and may raise blisters.
Garlic keeps us hale and hearty during our middle years with antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is even a repellent for worms and other parasites (however, it is toxic to household pets).
Garlic is especially useful for the elderly, because it strengthens the heart and circulatory systems. It has been found to assist with high blood pressure while reducing serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It helps keep the blood vessels supple and free of plague. The use of garlic is very helpful in regulating levels of blood sugar, and it is potent enough that if you are using insulin and use a lot of garlic, you should let your doctor know.
It is no wonder that garlic is thought of as having the ability to ward off vampires and myriad other evils, since it actually does protect us from so many things.
Ever wondered about the benefits of dandelion, chickweed, and elder? Healing Herbs is an essential reference for the beginning herbalist, featuring 20 common herbs, many of which are considered weeds, that can often be found in hedgerows, meadows, and wild places.
Along with medicinal information, this book includes traditional folklore and fortifying recipes for each edible or medicinal plant, and plenty of easy-to-follow instructions to help fill a backyard herbalist’s medicine chest with remedies to keep the whole family happy and healthy.
Healing Herbs is conveniently organized by plant, making it easier for the home herbalist to find, identify, and use healing plants from the backyard. Herbalist Tina Sams identifies the 20 most common and healthful herbs and over 100 natural remedies that are easy, inexpensive, and effective. This illustrated guide is fundamental for any nature-lover’s library.