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Garlic the Healer

AKA: Hard-necked garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon), soft-necked garlic (Allium sativum var. sativum), Lahsun,

Propagation/Description: Garlic does not produce true seed but is propagated by planting cloves, which are the small bulblets or segments making up the garlic bulb. Each bulb usually contains a dozen or more cloves; each clove is planted separately. To plant garlic properly, dig a hole or trench, place the unpeeled clove gently into the hole with the pointed side up (the scar [stem] end down) and cover the clove with soil. Setting the cloves in an upright position ensures a straight neck. Approximately 2–3 lb of garlic bulbs will plant 100 ft of row. The amount will vary depending on variety (number of cloves per pound), row width, and plant spacing. Plant cloves 1–3 in. deep and 6 in. apart. Rows are usually planted 12–14 in. apart. In colder areas of the state, cloves may be planted slightly deeper for winter protection. Mulching will help protect bulbs from severe cold and will help conserve moisture. Irrigate immediately after planting. It is considered a member of the onion family.


Folklore/History: In the Old World, Egyptian and Indian cultures referred to garlic 5000 years ago and there is clear historical evidence for its use by the Babylonians 4500 years ago and by the Chinese 2000 years ago. Some writings suggest that garlic was grown in China as far back as 4000 years ago. Garlic grows wild only in Central Asia (centered in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) today. Earlier in history garlic grew wild over a much larger region and, in fact, wild garlic may have occurred in an area from China to India to Egypt to the Ukraine. Egyptian slaves were given a daily ration of garlic, as it was believed to ward off illness and to increase strength and endurance. As indicated in ancient Egyptian records, the pyramid builders were given beer, flatbread, raw garlic and onions as their meager food ration. Upon threatening to abandon the pyramids leaving them unfinished, they were given more garlic. It cost the Pharaoh today’s equivalent of 2 million dollars to keep the Cheops pyramid builders supplied with garlic. It became custom for Greek midwives to hang garlic cloves in birthing rooms to keep the evil spirits away. As the centuries passed, this ancient custom became commonplace in most European homes. uropean folklore gives garlic the ability to ward off the “evil eye.” Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against devils, werewolves, and vampires. To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn on one’s person, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes. These and so many other cultures had their own folklore of garlic.


Medicinal: Hippocrates (300BC) recommended garlic for infections, wounds, cancer, leprosy, and digestive disorders. Dioscorides praised it for its use in treating heart problems, and Pliny listed the plant in 61 remedies for a wide variety of ailments ranging from the common cold to leprosy, epilepsy and tapeworm. During World War I, the Russian army used garlic to treat wounds incurred by soldiers on the Front Line. Although Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely replaced garlic at home, the war effort overwhelmed the capacity of most antibiotics, and garlic was again the antibiotic of choice. The Red Army physicians relied so heavily on garlic that it became known as the “Russian Penicillin”. In a study conducted in Russia in 1955, garlic extract used therapeutically was found to bind with heavy metals in the body, aiding their elimination. Workers suffering from chronic lead poisoning while working in industrial plants were given daily doses of garlic extract and saw a decrease in their symptoms. Other experiments that took place in Japan using mercury and cadmium also found that garlic bound with the heavy metals. Now it is known to be beneficial to help with colds, flus, sore throats and sluggish digestion, stimulate white blood cells, boost the immune function. It is antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and antimicrobial and works great to treat intestinal worms. It helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels and prevents blood platelet aggregation. Some studies even show it’s assistance in lowering blood sugar levels.

Spiritual: Garlic has been associated with Courage, Healing, Protection, Strength and many more. Most associations make sense as the different uses in different cultures in history. These various magical properties have been recorded in cultures from Talmud to the greeks, India to the Balkins and so many more. It is interesting that this plant has so many stories recorded and it’s history and uses on our earth.


Summary: There is no way for me to give an in depth study of this amazing plant, both medicinally, practically and spiritually because this post would take days to read all the information out there. Hopefully this beginner look at garlic may open your eyes and hearts to not only appreciate the tastiness of this seasoning but also the many medicinal and spiritual properties it holds. Garlic is more than a seasoning. It is an all around amazing plant that heals your heart, soul and mind! So indulge!!!!

Bibliography:

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs; A Beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar; pages 70-77

The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies; The Healing Power of Plant Medicine by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis; pages 80-81

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine; 550 herbs and remedies for common ailments by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH; page 59

Lost Book of Remedies by Mary Newman; Pages 19-21

The Book of a Disease Free Life by Grace Andrews; Pages 13 & 19

The Lost Ways II edited by Claude Davis in conjunction with multiple authors; pages 91-92 & 132

Healing Yourself at Home with Household Items by Amber Robinson; pages 10, 19, 31 & 37-38

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