Garlic Allium sativum
Garlic is a member of the Lily family, Liliaceae. We harvest the bulbs in late July / early August, when the bottom 2 or 3 leaves have turned yellow. Garlic requires a great amount of fertility, although it does not mind rocky soil, and good drainage. Beyond good compost, it is good to add a solid organic fertilizer, 2-3-3 or thereabouts, to the rows when you plant the garlic cloves (this happens in late September of the previous year).
Elemental associations: Fire
Phytochemistry: Volatile phenolics (alliin, converted to allicin by oxidation), phytosterols, mucilage (S. Mills)
Actions: Antiseptic, Anti-viral, Anthelmintic, Diaphoretic, Cholagogue, Anti-cholesterol, Hypotensive, Blood thinning
Specific systems: Digestive, Respiratory, Circulatory
This is an ancient remedy, traditionally used for everything from earaches to heart disease, and still employed for those conditions today. Its easiest administration is as a daily part of the diet, where it functions as a tonic and preventative unlike any other. It is invaluable in colds and other winter ailments, helps in generalized inflammation of the digestive tract and musculature, and gently stimulates the liver towards a more cleansed state.
In Italy (and as part of the Mediterranean diet in general), it is consumed at almost every meal. Recent research is showing that there may be something to this practice: it markedly reduces blood cholesterol by inhibiting its production in the liver, gently thins the blood, and stimulates the growth of beneficial intestinal flora: you could not ask for a better prescription for heart health!
Additionally, its anti-bacterial powers are harnessed in an oil for earaches, combined with Mullein flowers.
Indications: Elevated cholesterol, risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, ear infection
Contra-indications: None really. Discontinue use 1 week before surgery.
Preparation/Dosage: Eating the raw cloves is the best way. Their anti-bacterial power (for dealing with respiratory infection) is best if left uncooked; otherwise (for heart health), cooking is fine. The dose is 3-5 cloves per day.
An infused oil for ear infections is prepared by steeping 5 cloves, chopped, in a pint of oil, along with enough Mullein flowers to fill. Leave this to steep in the sun for 7 days, then strain and store in a cool dry place.