Garlic: this medicinal powerhouse is now being researched for its ability to deal with the antibiotic-resistant superbugs lurking in hospitals ...

Common Names: Garlic

Botanical Name: Allium sativum

Family: Alliaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial bulb

Parts Used: Bulbs

Flowering: Early Spring

When this plant is well established, the flowers can make a white sheet under trees and shrubs. Wild garlic is very common around the country in woodlands and hedgerows.

Description: The wild garlic is a low-growing plant, between 20 and 30cm tall with a broad flat leaves, as much as 7cm wide. The broad leaves and a distinct garlicky smell make this plant very easy to identify. It produces a tuft of white flowers at the top of a slender stem. The sparkling flowers are carried in a loose flower-head.

Cultivation: In the northern hemisphere, plant individual garlic cloves 4cm (1 1/2 inches) deep in late autumn. Garlic likes a hot, dry climate and a well-drained, well-fed soil, but sunshine is its prime requirement.

Harvesting: Lift the dry bulbs in late summer when the leaves are dying back. They should keep for a few months if they are stored in a cool, dry place. Hang the bulb to dry fully, or preserve in oil or vinegar.

Culinary Uses: In small amounts, garlic adds zest to every kind of food with the exception of desserts. Garlic not only helps to cleanse the digestive system, but also stimulates the release of digestive juices so your body can break down food more efficiently. Roast cloves whole in their skins to spread on toast. Toss a clove into soups and stews. Crush and use in Italian, French, and Asian dishes.

Garlic Magick

Protection. Healing. Exorcism. Lust. Anti-theft.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mars

Element: Fire

Garlic is used in protection, exorcism, and healing.

Hang a garlic braid over your door to repel jealous people.

Place a clove beneath your child's pillow as a protection charm.

Carry garlic as an amulet to ensure that your magical spells will be effective.

Herbal Healing with Garlic

Medicinal Actions: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antifungal, antilithic, antiputrid, antisclerotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aperitive, calmative, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrizant, decongestant, diaphoretic, digestive, disinfectant, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensor, insecticide, laxative, parasiticide, resolvent, stomachic, stimulant, tonic (heart), tonifying (lymphatic system), vasodilator, vermifuge, warming

Medicinal Uses: Scientists are finding many of the old folk tales about garlic's healing powers to be true. The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, which is produced when the bulb is crushed, has an antibacterial action similar to that of penicillin, and is in fact more effective than penicillin in treating typhus. It is also effective against staph and strep germs, yeast infections, influenza, cholera, and dysentery. Garlic helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and inhibits blood clotting and clogging of the arteries. It even seems to have some effectiveness in treating stomach cancer. It can be used externally to treat ringworm and threadworm.

Caution: Direct application of garlic and garlic pastes may cause blistering with people with sensitive skin.


Body Care with Garlic

  • To halt a cold or the flu, on the night of the first signs of illness, sleep with a garlic bandage wrapped around each foot.
  • To help lower cholesterol levels or blood pressure, take 1 size 00 capsule filled with garlic powder or 1 teaspoon garlic tincture in a little water twice daily, as necessary.

Garlic Bandage: Crush a clove of garlic and place in the centre of a length of bandage. Secure the bandage around your foot so the garlic is held in place against the skin on your sole. Repeat for the other foot.

Tincture: 200g (7 oz) peeled garlic cloves in 1 litre (4 cups) vodka-water mix.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness is free to access and use.
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Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.

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