Garlic (Allium sativum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Allium sativum

The juice from the bulb is used as an insect repellent[7, 14]. It has a very strong smell and some people would prefer to be bitten[K]. The juice can also be applied to any stings in order to ease the pain[7, 14]. 3 – 4 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of grated soap can be infused in 1 litre of boiling water, allowed to cool and then used as an insecticide[201].

An excellent glue can be made from the juice[7], when this is spread on glass it enables a person to cut clean holes in the glass[7], The juice is also used as a glue in mending glass and china[46].

An extract of the plant can be used as a fungicide[18]. It is used in the treatment of blight and mould or fungal diseases of tomatoes and potatoes[201]. If a few cloves of garlic are spread amongst stored fruit, they will act to delay the fruit from rotting[7].

The growing plant is said to repel insects, rabbits and moles[14, 20].

  • Medicinal Use

    Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit[218]. The plant produces inhibitory effects on gram-negative germs of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group, indeed it possesses outstanding germicidal properties[240] and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay[244]. It is also said to have anticancer activity[218]. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning[244]. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy[222]. Recent research has also indicated that garlic reduces glucose metabolism in diabetics, slows the development of arteriosclerosis and lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients[238, 254]. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds[244].

    The fresh bulb is much more effective medicinally than stored bulbs, extended storage greatly reduces the anti-bacterial action[244].

    The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stings, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[4, 9, 14, 21, 46, 165].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked. Widely used, especially in southern Europe, as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, both raw and cooked[244]. Garlic is a wonderfully nutritious and health giving addition to the diet, but it has a very strong flavour and so is mainly used in very small quantities as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods[2, 9, 14, 27, 33]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. The bulbs can be up to 6cm in diameter[200].

    Leaves – raw or cooked. Chopped and used in salads, they are rather milder than the bulbs[200, K]. The Chinese often cultivate garlic especially for the leaves, these can be produced in the middle of winter in mild winters[206].

    The flowering stems are used as a flavouring and are sometimes sold in Chinese shops[183].

    The sprouted seed is added to salads[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Plant out the cloves in late autumn for an early summer crop[33, 200]. They can also be planted in late winter to early spring though yields may not be so good. Plant the cloves with their noses just below the soil surface[200]. If the bulbs are left in the ground all year, they will often produce tender young leaves in the winter[K].
Succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a moist light well-drained soil[1, 14, 16, 37]. Dislikes very acid soils[206]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The bulb is liable to rot if grown in a wet soil[27, 52]. Hardy to at least -10¡c[206]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Garlic has a very long history of use as a food and a medicine[244]. It was given to the Egyptian labourers when building the pyramids because it was believed to confer strength and protect from disease, it was also widely used by the Romans[244]. It is widely cultivated in most parts of the world for its edible bulb, which is used mainly as a flavouring in foods. There are a number of named varieties[200]. Bulb formation occurs in response to increasing daylength and temperature[200]. It is also influenced by the temperature at which the cloves were stored prior to planting. Cool storage at temperatures between 0 and 10¡c will hasten subsequent bulb formation, storage at above 25¡c will delay or prevent bulb formation[200, 206]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
C. Asia? Original habitat is obscure. An occasional garden escape in Britain[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.