This week's article is written by my side-kick in holistic wild livin', Shawn Hinspeter.
You either love it, or you hate it. The smell can be invigorating or deter one from the room. Garlic has been enjoyed by people of Earth for thousands of years. Historians have a hard time finding the region of origin for garlic but it is believed to have came from South-Western Siberia. It quickly gained the hearts of many, spreading like fire over the entire world. It was used in ancient Egypt, found in pharaoh’s tombs. It was used in ancient china, being used as an important food preservative for storing meats and other foods. In ancient Greece there is evidence that it was used by the Olympic athletes, for its stimulating properties: this same stimulating property is what leads Buddhist to omit garlic from their diet. Whether for its medicinal properties, esoteric folklore or its way of livening up a meal; garlic is an herbal asset everyone should have in their life excursion.
The Botanical name for garlic is, Allium Sativum, The name is derived from the Celtic word “all”, meaning stinging or burning, and the Latin “Sativum” meaning cultivated. The English word “Garlic” is thought to originate from the Anglo-Saxon word “gar-leac” meaning spear plant; could be from the spear look of its flower stalk or from its ability to help heal battle wounds. Some of Garlic’s botanical relatives are the Onion, Leek, Shallot, Chives and Ramps. All of the Allium family is great herbal allies for diverse ailments but I think garlic is the king of the crop.
Garlic has many phyto-chemical compounds that can assist the body in many ways. Garlic’s most notable property is its smell, caused by the essential oil allyl; an oil high in sulfur. Sulfur has been shown to assist in formation and shape of protein compounds in the body. You may have heard of MSM, Methylsulfonylmethane; and its affects on ligaments, hair and nails: well the sulfide in Garlic can help these same areas. Garlic can help keep flexibility in the connective tissues leading to help with sagging and wrinkling skin, hair and nail formation, and stiff muscles and joints. Sulfur is also a very important constituent with the process of the enzymes in the body, helping with detoxification, energy transport system function, absorption of important trace minerals, as well as proper insulin function.
There has always been a mythical connection with garlic and warding off evil entities; you may be familiar with the particular connect with vampires. I believe that this connection may be due to garlic’s property of helping rid the body of parasites, life forms which have a negative relationship with their host. They feed off the living in the darkness of the body, un-adapted to thrive in the harsh environment of light.
Garlic is also well known for its effects on the immune system. It was an important part of the “Four Thieves’ Vinegar”, used for protection during the plague. It is a great antiseptic, being affective against bacteria, yeast, and fungal infections. It was used throughout history as a topical antiseptic for wounds during times of war. It also can have a very beneficial action on the respiratory system, being used against asthma, cough, hoarseness, and bronchitis. Next time you feel like a cold is around the corner, reach for a clove of garlic instead of that over the counter “syrup”.
-Pour boiling water over the sliced garlic and let steep covered for 12 HR (overnight)
-add raw honey to create syrup; also can add a little anise for taste.
Now this isn’t all the beneficial properties of garlic, just a pungent taste. I encourage you to build a better relationship with garlic, learn through experience and the plethora of herbal information available on the internet. Taking a step towards a more healthy life could be as simple as adding an ingredient to your home cooked meals. If you need any help with garlic in the garden please comment or message me and I will be happy to assist you in your quest to grow this amazing plant.
Thank you for taking the time reading my article and I wish you the best in your endeavors.