For this blog post, I actually reached out to my husband's grandma to see if I could glean some information off of her. We grew up using garlic as a natural antibiotic, but I wanted to be able to provide you guys with some more detailed information on why it works and what garlic works best for (other than for cooking). Below is some of the information she shared with me over the phone and through email. Enjoy! - Natalie
You know the question, "If you could only take three things with you to a desert island what would it be"? I would quite possible be tempted to answer with garlic. We use garlic for so many things in our home! Kids have a fever? Rub some garlic oil on their feet and cover with socks. Have an earache? Put some garlic oil drops in your ears? Having a problem with warts? Bandage a clove of garlic on it or rub the juice from a fresh garlic clove on your skin. Blood pressure is high? Eat a garlic sandwich on a daily basis. Insect bites? Just rub the juicy surface of a garlic clove on the bite a few times.
Chinese texts dating back to 2,000 B.C. speak of the healing potency of Garlic. Fresh garlic has many active constituents including alliin, allicin, and sulphur compounds. These ingredients primarily account for Garlic's famous potency as an antibiotic and fungicide and for its use in healing high blood pressure. Allicin is a strong antibiotic agent which means that it kills bacteria and many viruses. Alliin becomes an antibiotic agent, with properties similar to allicin, when it comes into contact with the digestive enzyme alliinase. Sulphur compounds strengthen the immune system, lower high blood pressure, and also fight infections. These three major properties of garlic make in an infection fighter easily comparable to penicillin. In fact, my experience has shown that garlic, especially when combined with cayenne as a "carrier", is often a more potent choice than penicillin.
Applications and Attributes for Garlic (quick reference list):
Abscessed teeth, amoebic dysentery, animal bites, animals, antibiotic, antispasmodic, arthritis, bath, bites, blood poisoning, blood pressure, boils, colds and flu, congestion, cough, cough syrup, diarrhea, digestion, dysentery, earache, enema, expectorant, footbath, fungus, gangrene, garlic bath, garlic enema, garlic oil, garlic poultice, garlic water, gum infection, hepatitis, herpes, high blood pressure, immune system, inflammation, insect bites, insect repellent, kidney infection, lungs, mononucleosis, mouth infection, mucus, nervine, oil, parasites, pets, plants, pneumonia, poultice, rash, rejuvenating elixir, sinus, skin infection, sleep, teeth, throat, thrush, tonic, urinary tract, vaginal infection, vermifuge, warts, wounds, yeast infection.
Fun and Easy Ways to Eat Garlic:
1. To minimize hotness on the tongue or in the stomach, eat slices of raw garlic simultaneously with bites of raw fruit like apple, peach, or pear, or in fruit sauces such as applesauce. Some people prefer to chop up some garlic and mix it with a spoonful of raw honey before chewing. With these methods most children and adults will grow to enjoy garlic.
2. A "Garlic Sandwich" is another pleasurable method for ingesting raw garlic or for buffering the spiciness. Start with whole grain bread. Next add as much raw garlic as you need and maybe some lettuce or tomato slices. The idea here is to eat a lot of garlic with just enough sandwich around it to buffer the spiciness.
3. There are odorless, commercial preparations of garlic available.
4. My all-time favorite garlic ingestion technique is to make garlic popcorn! In a blender, mix:
-a lot of peeled raw garlic (powdered garlic is ok as a second choice but not for real garlic lovers)
-tamari soy sauce or salt, or any other spices according to taste. I like cumin and dill weed.
-a small amount of olive oil (or other cold-pressed oil) mixed with one or two parts water - enough oil/water to cover the garlic and still make a concentrated brew. The water is important so the mix doesn't end up being too oily for a body in the midst of a healing crisis.
-blend extrememly well and dribble heavily over the popcorn you've made. The idea for medicinal use is to have this mixture heavy on the garlic sauce and lighter on the popcorn, but it's not curcial. being a garlic popcorn-lover myself, I usually make it so strong that I can blow your eyelashes off at 100 paces - not that I'd want to but I enjoy the garlic popcorn immensely nonetheless.
To transform "garlic breath" eat a generous mouthful of raw parsley, or chew on a clove bud or a bit of cinnamon stick, or put a drop of peppermint oil on your tongue. You could also rinse your mouth with equal parts of lemon juice and water, or chew on orange peel, or much on a few roasted coffee grounds for thirty seconds or so.
To demonstrate the efficiency with which garlic enters the blood and begins its work, try this experiment. Peel a clover of garlic and place it between two toes while you are relaxing and watching a tv show at night. Garlic will enter the body through the skin in this way and by the end of your show (1-2 hours) I am willing to bet you can taste the garlic in your mouth. Some people can even taste it as quickly as five minutes.
General Dosage (internal use):
Infants to 3 years: Garlic oil is most often used and administed by the dropperful (1/4 to 1/2 tsp.), followed by a few swallows of water or juice or mother's milk (for a nursing infant). Garlic oil can be taken as often as every two hours up to eight times a day, depending upon the seriousness of the condition. 1 tsp. of garlic oil equals approximately 1 average clover of raw garlic when using the garlic oil formula. I have known many 3-year olds who will chew up a piece of garlic with a bite of fruit and this method could be used for ingesting up to 5 garlic cloves a day.
Children 4-10 years:
-Garlic oil, 1/2 to 1 tsp., as often as every two hours up to eight times a day, depending upon the seriousness of the condition. 1 tsp of garlic oil equals approximately 1 average clove of raw garlic when using the garlic oil formula.
-Or, powdered garlic (plain), 1/8 to 1/4 tsp., as often as every two hours up to eight times a day, depending upon the seriousness of the condition.
-Or, powdered garlic in the form of the "special enhanced forumla" 1/4 to 1/2 tsp., as often as every two hours, up to eight times a day, depending upon the seriousness of the condition.
-Or, fresh raw garlic (average size 1 inch long by 1/2 inch wide), 1 or 2 cloves, eaten as often as every two hours up to five times a day, depending upon seriousness of the condition.
-In mild cases of cold or flu, congestion, cought, etc., generally three to four doses are all that is needed during a day.
-Any of these doses of garlic could be taken with a little juice, fruit, applesauce, honey, cracker, or some other ehatlhy yet small tidbit to lightly buffer the stomach. This will prevent any indigestion that might occur on an empty stomach.
Children 11 years to Adults:
-Same as for children except double the dosage sizing for garlic oil and powdered garlic.
Pets and Other Creatures:
-Administer in the same ways as for humans. Dosage size depends upon body weight. For tiny or baby animals use dosage as for an infant child. A small bird would get 1 or 2 drops of garlic oil. For an animal the size of a horse the estimate of dosage might be double that for a large man. With large animals I usually add garlic powder to the feed, or mix chopped garlic with honey and then gently push this "pellet" down the animal's throat, far enough to have it swallowed. Obviously, the latter method does not work for every large animal. I would be discriminating about trying it on an angry animal, especially one with sharp teeth or claws.
General Dosage (external use):
-Use garlic externally as an antibiotic, insect repellent, fungicide, or against parasites.
-Garlic oil can be rubbed into the affected body part, or if an infection is in the ear, the oil can be used as eardrops.
-Powdered garlic (plain, or use the enhanced garlic formula) can be applied topically as a dusting powder for infection, fungus, rash, ,or mild skin abrasions. Used a a poultice, the powder is moistened with a little water, aloe vera gel, honey (not for outdoor animals, as honey draws insects), or other moistening agent and applied 1/8 to 1/2 inch thick to the affected area. Clean the affected part with garlic water, or other disinfecting wash, and repack with a fresh poultice two to five times a day depending upon the seriousness of the condition.
-Fresh garlic, chopped, crushed, or sliced, can be used alone or mixed with another herb as a poultice 1/8 to 1/2 inch thick over the area. For a small need, such as a scratch or insect bite, tape a slice of garlic, juicy side down, onto the area. These poultices will speed healing and prevent or treat infection.
-Raw garlic juice can be rubbed onto an affected body part. Simply cut a clove of garlic and rub the juicy part onto the area.
Enhanced Garlic Formula
1 part garlic powder
1 part powdered calcium ascorbate (a form of vitamin c)
1/4 part cayenne powder
-1 part = 1 pinch, 1 oz., 1 Tbsp., etc depending on the amount of the formula you intend to make.
-I recommend making a large enough quantity so you always have extra on hand for emergency use. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for best shelf life.
Alternative Antibiotic Formula
Mix together equal parts of chaparral, garlic, and slippery elm powders for internal and external use.
-Begin taking a dose of some form of garlic at the first signs of an illness. For some of us this first sign is a certain type of grumpiness; for others it is a scratchy throat. One or two doses of garlic will generally act to prevent these first signs from becoming full-blown illnesses. If more is needed, however, the next step would be to continue the proper doses or garlic as specified in the general dosage. For an average cold, a dose of garlic every 2-3 hours is good, but even less frequent doses can still work quite well. Feel free to experiment.
-When using garlic as an antibiotic, always drink at least two quarts of pure water and/or herb tea during the day to help flush toxins out of your body.
Home-made Garlic Oil
1/2 cup minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Blend ingredients thoroughly and then add 1/4 cup more olive oil. Stir lightly, put in a covered glass jar in a sunny window, and let stand for 10 days. Shake the jar gently 3 times a day. On the 10th day, press (strain) through a cloth and store the oil in the refridgerator. This is potent stuff! After the mixture is strained, there is always a little bit of fine, white residue in the oil. It is ok to leave this in as long as it really is a small amount and very fine. Otherwise it will clog up your dropper or cause spoilage, etc.
-If you find yourself in need of garlic oil and you have non prepared, start a fresh batch according to the instructions above but use it immediately as is, unstrained. Do continue the instructions by letting the remainder of the garlic oil sit for 10 days and then strain it, etc but also free free to use it as ins in the meanwhile. Sometimes you may find that you have used up the garlic oil in the making while it was sitting in your window, before the 10 days have passed. This is ok in a crisis, but it is better to have the properly extracted garlic oil on hand to use whenever possible.
-Don't let the mixture ontinue standing past teh tenth day. It will begin loosing potency and deteriorating if not strained and refigerated at that time. The garlic pulp that is trained out can be eaten or used in cooking.
For more data on the chemistry of garlic, see Herbal Pharmacy, by John Heinerman and Miaracle of Garlic and Vinegar, by James O'Brien.
Here is a recent video I made showing how we planted garlic in our garden for less than 25 cents: