Garlic is a tremendously powerful herb that most of us have a steady
access to. It is always found at the local grocery store and, with the increasing
popularity of farmer’s markets, heirloom varieties can often be bought locally,
which results in even more medicinal qualities.
Garlic is another herb whose use can be dated back to the Ancient
Egyptians and has been used extensively since then. The Romans used it
abundantly and Italy today is still well known for its garlic loving recipes.
Hippocrates used it for a variety of ailments and in medieval Europe it was
used as a charm to keep bad spirits at bay.
Today it is one of the most researched and most used herbs in our
kitchens and herbal apothecary. It has a variety of actions, making it a great
ally for a variety of health disturbances.
Raw garlic can be taken liberally at the first sign of a cold or flu to
ward off the illness or to lessen the symptoms. I like to do this by dipping
bread in olive oil with lots of minced garlic. Raw garlic is an emetic, so it’s a
good idea to approach it slowly and back off if nausea occurs.
Herbalist Stephen Buhner reports in his book Herbal Antibiotics that
garlic is effective against Staphyloccus aureas, Candida albicans, Escherichia
coli, Streptococcus spp., Salmonella spp., herpes simplex, and more. He
recommends eating the fresh juice for best results. To do this without
immediately experiencing its strong emetic qualities, Buhner recommends
starting with a ¼ teaspoon in a glass of tomato juice and slowly working up
For fungal infections garlic can be used externally as well as internally.
It is quite strong and could burn sensitive areas, so it can be diluted by
soaking it in oil for a ½ hour to several hours, straining and then applying to