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Herbal Monograph

Herb:  GARLIC   (Allium sativa; Liliaceae)

Other Names: poor man’s treacle, clove garlic   (2);    da suan (Chinese)    (38)

stinking rose, heal-all, rustic’s treacle   (62)

Character/Energetics:  spicy, hot    (6)

Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:  lungs, kidney, spleen, stomach, colon   (6)

Part(s) used:   fresh or dried bulb, oil   (2);    bulb  (6)

Identification & Harvesting: Long-stemmed flowers that usually remain in bud form, often don’t produce seed;  reddish or greenish white petals;  Perennial;  25-70 cm high, erect stem, leafy up to the middle;  flat leaves.  Bulb is usually compound.  Cultivated worldwide.  Harvest in September and October.   (2); Harvest after aerial parts have wilted.  Collect bulbs quickly as they tend to sink downward once the leaves have wilted and are difficult to find.   (15)

Grows easily from seeds or cloves.  It’s easier to start with cloves.  Plant 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart in early spring for harvest in fall.  Cold-tolerant;  may be planted up 6 wks before final frost date.  Thrives best in rich, deeply cultivated, well-drained soil under full sun.  During summer, cut back flower stalks so the plant will devote resources to produce large bulbs.  Avoid bruising:  invites mold and pests.  Braid leaves into a rope and remove heads as needed.   (62)

A member of the lily family, the bulb is not found wild, having evolved purely through cultivation over 5000 years.    (61)

Active Constituents:    Alliins (alkylcysteine sulfoxides):  in particular allylalliin (allyl-L-(+)-cysteine sulfoxide) and its gamma-glutamyl conjugates, that in the course of cutting up either the freshly-harvested bulbs or those that have been already dried and then re-moistened, are transformed into the so-called alliaceous oils: for example, into allicin (diallyl-disulphide-mono-S-oxide), cycloalliin, vinyl dithiins and diallyl-di- and tri-sulfides; Fructosans (polysaccharides);  saponins   (2)

Allyl sulfide, allicin, alliin, Vitamins A and C, nicotinic acid   (6);  Allicin and ajoene.   (15)

Alliin by itself has no medicinal value, but when the herb is bruised in any way, the alliin contacts an enzyme, allinase, which transforms it into allicin, the active agent.   (62)

Extremely complex chemistry, with more than 160 interactive compounds.    (61)

Actions: May delay the stiffening of the aorta due to aging.  Studies have established a positive correlation between aortic stiffening and elevated cholesterol.  Also seen in patients with high blood pressure.  Avg period of intake in this study was 7.1 years.  Results demonstrated a clear association between long-term intake of standardized garlic powder extract and decreases in “pulse wave velocity” and “elastic vascular resistance”, both indices of aortic stiffness.  No difference in effect between subjects taking 300 mg extract daily, and 900 mg daily.  Precise mechanism remains to be defined.   (1) 

Antibacterial, antimycotic, and lipid-lowering effects of garlic are proven.  Also inhibits platelet aggregation, prolongs bleeding and clotting time, and enhances fibrinolytic activity.   (2)

Garlic is a yang tonic and a stimulant, diuretic, alterative, digestant, carminative, expectorant and parasiticide.    (6); Antiseptic, antiviral, diaphoretic, cholagogue, hypotensive, antispasmodic.  Daily usage aids and supports the body in ways no other herb does.  One of the most effective antimicrobials available.  Reduces blood cholesterol levels.   (8);  Stabilizes liver and gall bladder.   (13)

Anti-histaminic, expectorant.  Dilates peripheral blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.   (15)

Promotes sweating.  An aphrodisiac according to Ayurvedic medicine.   (38)

Diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant  (57)

Its antibacterial activity was first recognized in 1858 by Louis Pasteur.  Extensive research shows it reduces cholesterol and triglycerides, while simultaneously increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation.  Antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant.  A recent study showed that eating the equivalent of one clove daily for several months had a significant blood-thinning effect.    (61)

Kills bacteria from tuberculosis, food poisoning, and women’s bladder infections.  May also prevent infection by flu virus.  No standard medications match garlic in the number of cardiovascular risk factors it alleviates.  Garlic decreases cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and inhibits internal clotting.  At least as potent as aspirin as an anti-clotting agent.  Reduces blood sugar levels.  Strong evidence of effectiveness in preventing and treating cancer.  Helps eliminate lead and other toxic heavy metals from the body.  Evidence of effectiveness in treating leprosy.  Preliminary studies indicate some success in treating AIDS.   (62)

Conditions & Uses:  Treats arteriosclerosis, common cold, cough/bronchitis, fever, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, infection.  Used to support dietetic measures for elevated lipid levels in blood.  Also used as a preventative measure for age-related vascular changes.  Also for GI ailments, digestive disorders with bloating and convulsive pain.  Folk uses include treatment of menstrual pains, diabetes;  externally for corns, warts, calluses, otitis, muscle pain, neuralgia, arthritis, and sciatica.   (2)

Garlic stimulates metabolism, and is used both for chronic and acute diseases; has both tonic and alterative properties; counteracts lower back and joint pains, arthritis and rheumatism. It also treats weak digestion, genito‑urinary diseases, lung and bronchial infections and mucous conditions. In Ayurveda it is considered a rejuvenative for kapha (water) and vata (air).

Garlic cloves may be taken internally both as a preventative and as a treatment for all intestinal worms. Blended with a little sesame or olive oil, it may be used externally. However, its strong odor may repel humans as well as parasites. A single dose is three to five cloves in infusion or taken raw. This is repeated three to six times a day until the problem is resolved. 

Garlic is good for amoebic dysentery. Enemas of garlic also are helpful. It is an effective antibiotic for staphylococcus, streptococcus and salmonella bacteria and is effective against bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs. It is a good antifungal for the treatment of candida albicans yeast infections. For the treatment of pinworms, it should be made into a paste with olive oil or the bruised clove inserted directly into the rectum. For vaginitis and leucorrhea, one or two bruised cloves 

GARLIC   (Allium sativa; Liliaceae)

Conditions & Uses:  (cont)

wrapped in muslin are inserted into the vagina. Since it is a local irritant, it should be combined with an oil when applied externally.    (6);   Treats fungal infections such as thrush.   (15)

Because the volatile oil is largely excreted via the lungs, it is used in infections of this system such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, recurrent colds and flu.  May be used as a preventive for most infectious conditions, digestive as well as respiratory.  Will even support development of natural bacterial flora while killing pathogenic organisms.  Used externally for ringworm and threadworm.   (8)

Given with advantage in cough, colds, asthma.    (57)

Pliny the Elder recommended it to treat asthma, coughs, and to expel intestinal parasites, but claimed it dulls the sight, causes flatulence and injures the stomach in excess, and causes thirst.  In China, it was used for fever, dysentery and intestinal parasites.  Helps prevent yeast infections, cancer, colds and flu.  Significantly decreases incidence of cancer, esp. gastrointestinal tract cancers, among regular users.    (61)

Kills bacteria from tuberculosis, food poisoning, and women’s bladder infections.  May also prevent infection by flu virus.  Chinese researchers report success treating cryptococcal meningitis.  Studies show success with Trichophyton mentagrophytes (athlete’s foot) fungi and Candida albicans (vaginal yeast infection).   (62)

Combinations: Combines well with echinacea for microbial infections.   (8);  Best as a simple.   (15)

A mistake to rely exclusively on garlic to treat infectious diseases.  Take the herb in addition to the standard medication.   (62)

Precautions:  No hazards or side effects with designated dosages.  Possible stomach irritation with large dosages.  Rarely, frequent use leads to allergic reaction (hand eczema).   (2)

Pregnant women should use in small amounts as garlic is a mild emmenagogue. The yogis used it as a medicine, but did not  recommend it as a food or spice because of its irritating properties.      (6)

Volatile oil is largely excreted via the lungs (causes bad breath).   (8)

Can cause heartburn in large doses.  Aromatic compounds are excreted via lungs and skin.  If  it irritates the stomach, take ginger or fennel tea.  Avoid large doses during pregnancy and lactation.  To avoid complications due to the odor during external use, apply at night.   (15)

Large medicinal amounts could cause problems for those with clotting disorders.  Consult physician before use.  Occasionally users discover an allergy and develop rash.  Enters mother’s milk, and can cause colic in infants.  Never implicated in miscarriage or birth defects.   (62)

Known to have anti-platelet activity — use with care when taking herbs or drugs with anticoagulant activity (such as warfarin or horse chestnut).  Anti-platelet principles potentiate the danger of bleeding disorder contingent upon anticoagulants.  If you are taking large amounts, have your bleeding time measured by your doctor as a precaution.    (1b)

Rare occurrence of allergic reaction.  More commonly, heartburn or flatulence.    (61)

Tincturing Process:  Fresh garlic retains too much water for effective alcohol  tincturing,. Utilize powdered garlic (which tends to clump when combined with menstruum), so process  in small quantities through the Vita Mix with sufficient menstruum to blend with good consistency. Alcohol: 65%

Garlic-Apple Cider Vinegar: Shuck garlic gloves, and cut away any moldy or rotted parts. Process through juicer and retain the pulp. Transfer immediately to plastic jar (vinegar will eat away metal capped mason jars) and cover with organic apple cider vinegar. (1a)

Applications: Oil — puree bulbs and stir into vegetable oil (1:1) and leave for 48 hours, then filter.   (2)

Cold extract can be used as an enema for intestinal worms.  Steep several cloves in 1/2 cup water for 6-8 hrs.   (13);    Use crushed garlic to draw corns, or rub into boils.   (15)

Divination: a, ruled by t   (48)

XVI  The Tower:  Garlic   Allium sativume

Garlic’s strong odor will cut through most blockages and obstacles, thus it is the herb of breakthroughs.  A stimulant, an aromatic, a carminative, a tonic and an emmenagogue, it is used for digestive and circulatory problems and lung and bronchial infections.  Ruled by Mars.

Symbolically used for:  Personal breakthroughs in relationships.  Becoming more attentive to others.  More tolerance and flexibility.

Divinatory meanings:  Being knocked off one’s position of arrogance.  Making humble.  Preparing the way for true realization.  Awakening to the truth.

Reverse Meanings:  Harshness.  Misery.  Distress.  Adversity and crises.   (52)

Dosage:   4 g. fresh daily or 8 mg essential oil.   (2);   as tonic 3‑6 gms.    (6);  One clove 3 x daily during infection.   (8); Chew 3 cloves at a time, 2-4 x daily to treat infection.   (62)

Up to 1.8 g capsules daily.  Look for products that deliver at least 5 mg allicin (an active principle) daily.  Eat raw or add to foods at the end of cooking to retain the sulfur compounds.    (61)

General Notes: “…in men oppressed by melancholy it will…send up…many strange visions to the head:  therefore, inwardly, let it be taken with great moderation.” — Nicholas Culpeper, 1653.  Deodorized preparations are significantly less effective.   (15)

The most powerful healer within Allium.  Evidence of use as far back as 8000 BC;  prescribed as early as 3000 BC on Sumerian clay tablets.  Rich in history.  A medium-sized garlic clove is equivalent to 100,000 units of penicillin.  Depending on the infection, oral penicillin doses range from 600,000 to 1.2 million units.  Therefore chew 3 cloves at a time, 2-4 x daily.  “Garlic breath” a result of heavy regular ingestion.  To eliminate garlic breath, try chewing parsley, fennel, or fenugreek.   (62)



(1) Cayuga Botanicals Research Data, HerbalGram #43, Summer 1998, pgs. 18-19

(1a) ibid “Garlic Tinctures” file

(1b) ibid Research Data, “The Herb-Drug Mix” by Robert Rountree, M.D., Herbs for Health,

Jul/Aug ’99, pgs. 52-54

(2) PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), pgs. 626-27

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., pgs. 305-306

(8) The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman, p. 202

(13) The Herb Book by John Lust, pgs. 204-205

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, pgs. 33, 119, 127, 135, 157

(38) Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by Deni Bown, p. 234

(48) The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills, p. 56

(52) The Herbal Tarot Deck (Created by Michael Tierra and Designed by Candis Cantin), pgs. 12-13

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 148

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 94-95

(62) The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, pgs. 177-8


PHOTO: Wikipedia