This article was authored by Klaus Ferlow, HMH (Honorary Master Herbalist), innovator, lecturer, researcher, writer, founder Ferlow Botanical Enterprises Ltd, Vancouver, B.C. manufacturing/distributing organic toxin-free medicinal herbal and personal care products to professional health & wellness practitioners in Canada and parts of USA since 1993.
Growing up in Northern Germany "country style", I quickly developed a love for Mother Nature, especially for flowers, herbs and vegetables. Our family used an almost unlimited amount of herbs inclusive herbal teas in our daily diet, as well as for healing illnesses. One of our favourite herbs was the "stinking rose" Garlic, which we considered a wonder herb.
Let's look today at the natural healing power of this remarkable herb. This amazing little herb has been performing medical miracles throughout the world for hundreds of years. Many of the world's oldest civilizations considered Garlic to be one of the most important spices for good health. Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans all used it in food, in drinks and as medicine.
The Latin name "Allium" is derived from the Celtic word for pungent, hot and burning, properties common to all the Allium species. "Sativum" means cultivated or planted, referring to the fact that Garlic is no longer found in the wild. It is one of the earliest cultivated crops and continues to be extensively grown for both medicinal and culinary purposes.
The garlic bulb is the part used medicinally. When intact it is odourless; however, crushing the cells brings the enzyme alliinase into contact with the sulphur-containing compound alliin, converting it to allicin which produces the characteristics Garlic odour.
Garlic has had more folklore and scientific research devoted to it than any other herb. It was, and still is, used globally by all three classic healing systems, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine from India and European medicine. As far as back as the first century BC, the Greek physician Dioscorides stated that Garlic "clears the arteries and opens the mouth of the veins" - a fact that modern science affirmed more than 2000 years later! Tracing the history of civilization, it is very interesting to note that Garlic was first a "tool of magic power" in the hands of the physician-priest or medicine man. Here is a list of ailments where the healing power of Garlic can be very helpful:
acne, aids, arthritis, arteriosclerosis and, bites, blood clots atherosclerosis, boils and cysts, breast-feeding, cancer, coughs, cold & influenza, corns, calluses, warts, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diarrhea & dysentery, earache, eczema, fatigue, food poisoning, free radicals, fungus, heart attacks, heavy metal poisoning, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, hives, hypertension, immune-deficiency, infectious diseases, insect problems, lip, mouth, throat, liver disease, pain, radiation, respiratory diseases, steroid abuse, stress, toothache, warts, worms
Furthermore Garlic acts as antibiotic, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral, antiprotozal and anti-cancer. As if the above healing properties were not sufficient, studies have shown Garlic to be effective in these areas:
Balancing insulin need, healing ileitis (inflammation of the lower portion of the small intestine), conjunctivitis, eye infection, vaginal yeast infection, pimples and helping to eliminate poisons in pets. Garlic oil is one of the finest household remedies around. It is especially valuable for infants and young children for the treatment of earache, inner ear infection, teething, thrush (oral candida), diaper rash, athlete's foot, genital itch, bed sores and minor burns. The oil has to be kept refrigerated and as a preservative you can use either a few drops of eucalyptus oil or vegetable glycerine. More information how to use fresh Garlic or Garlic powder for the different ailments can be obtained from the book: "The Healing power of garlic, John Heinermann, Ph.D,
Suggested doses range from 3 - 30 g fresh garlic (1-8 cloves) daily
The German Commission E considers a daily dosage equivalent to 4 g fresh garlic to be therapeutically effective
The British Herbal Compendium recommends 2-5 mg of allicin, 2-5mg of garlic oil, 2-5 g of fresh air-dried garlic or 400-1200 mg of fully dried powder daily.
A possible interaction with warfarin or if people take Aspirin has been reported since Garlic is a natural blood thinner. In addition, it has been suggested that garlic may potentiate the anti-thrombotic effect of ASA and may interfere with existing diabetic therapy.
Garlic supplements should be used with caution by pregnant and lactating women. In addition they should be avoided before undergoing surgical procedures due to possible pot-surgical bleeding. Caution is also recommended after organ transplants because it has been reported that Garlic enhances the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which are largely responsible for tissue rejection. Attacks of pemphigus, a relatively rare autoimmune disorder resulting in lesions of the mucous membranes and skin, may be induced by drugs which contain active thiol groups. This sulphur-containing group is found in garlic, thus, it is suggested that patients with this condition avoid garlic.
Love natural Garlic but hate how it affects your breath? You don't have to use Garlic supplements - after your natural Garlic dish, chew on a fresh sprig of parsley to freshen your breath. To remove Garlic aroma from your fingers, rub them with natural, chemical free toothpaste, then rinse.
Disclaimer: It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific health claims for any products. Any attempt to diagnose and treat illness should come under the direction of your health care practitioner.
The Healing Power of Garlic, John Heinermann, Ph.D
The Botanical Pharmacy, Heather Boon, BScPhm, Ph.D., Michael Smith, BPharm, MRPharmsS, ND
Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, alive books
This information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used in the diagnose, treatment, or prevention of disease. Any attempt to diagnose and treat illness should come under the direction of your health care practitioner.