Garlic (Allium Sativum) cloves contain sulfur and an amino acid called alliin. When crushed, alliin converts into allicin, a potent antibiotic that combats bacterial and fungal infection. Garlic also contains thiamine, which helps discourage mosquito and other insect bites. Germanium, an antioxidant that enhances endurance and promotes healing, is also found in garlic. Most people recognize the smell of garlic and it is often used as a culinary herb. It is also one of the most useful herbs in herbal medicine.
The important garlic plant reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds and may inhibit breast and skin tumors. Garlic helps clear arteries, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, helps prevent blood clots, stimulates the immune system, lowers blood sugar and triglycerides, promotes a healthy digestive system, and improves the health of the cardiovascular system.
Garlic is a very powerful herbal treatment for all chronic respiratory diseases. The active ingredients not only act on bacteria and fungi, but also protect against viruses, parasites, and yeast infections. Louis Pasteur used garlic to treat TB in the early part of the 20th century. In 1858 he confirmed what herbalists already knew -- garlic possesses a strong antibacterial action.
Garlic's use in China goes back for thousands of years. Garlic was used by the ancient Romans and many other cultures. The Bible mentions that the people craved garlic. Numbers 11:5 talks about God's people being tired of manna from heaven and longing for cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. If manna was a sweet wafer, I guess they were hungry for something savory.
Garlic cloves can be rubbed on skin eruptions like acne, warts, and corns to help speed healing. Treatments must be repeated three times a day for up to six weeks in stubborn cases. To treat worms, eating 3 to 6 cloves a day is recommended.
Many studies are being done on the benefits of garlic. The cloves, eaten daily, may help prevent stomach and colon cancer. Garlic has been used as a therapeutic food for many centuries especially for disease prevention. It has been used internally against infection and externally for problems with the eyes, ears, and throat. It has been used to promote sweating which helps rid the body of toxic poisons.
Gilroy, California hosts a yearly garlic festival that celebrates everything garlic. Most commercial garlic is produced in China, but California is the top garlic producing state in the USA.
Garlic is a perennial bulb that sends out slender, round stems (like an onion). There are two types -- hard neck and soft neck. Garlic grows one to three feet high depending on variety. Garlic blooms are white or lavender and are a welcome addition to any flower border. The bulbs multiply during the season forming clusters of bulblets or cloves. Propagate by dividing the bulbs in late summer. Garlic needs full sun and loose, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. Soil should be kept on the dry side since garlic does not like wet feet.
A variety of leek known as elephant garlic is not a true garlic and doesn't contain the same properties.
* Do not uses garlic if you take blood thinners or before having surgery. Don't take garlic if you're on hypoglycemic drugs. Avoid while nursing as garlic may cause the baby to have indigestion. Garlic can irritate the stomach and skin in sensitive individuals. Test before using large amounts! Avoid high doses in pregnancy. Always consult with your physician before taking any herbal remedy.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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