This bulbous plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Some consider
it to be the most valuable herb yet discovered because of its multitude of culinary and medicinal applications. It grows to 4 feet in height, and is a relative of the onion, the shallot, the leek, the chive, and the rakkyo. Among its many properties, it keeps insects at bay, which is why it is included in most Spanish tapas. Interestingly, one of the most popular types of garlic sold in the US, so-called elephant garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum). This explains its much milder flavor profile.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mild climates worldwide
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibiotic, hypotensive, febrifuge, antitumor, hypoglycemic, antifungal, antibacterial. Treats vaginal infections, hay fever, diabetes, diarrhea, preeclampsia, colds, flu, rheumatism, gout, sinusitis, poor liver function, high cholesterol, earache, heart disease.
For sinusitis, boil 1 clove garlic in 1 cup
water for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, and then use as a nasal wash with a neti pot. For vaginal infections, place 1 or
2 whole, peeled cloves into the vagina at bedtime. In the morning, discard. Repeat for an additional night or two as needed. For serious infections, you may cut the clove in two; however, this might cause some mild stinging
at first. For earaches, sauté one clove garlic
in 1/4 cup olive oil. Allow to cool, and pour the oil directly into the affected ear(s). You may instead soak the clove in the oil for a few days. Alternatively, you can insert a small clove directly into the affected ear(s). For athlete’s foot or ringworm, steep an entire garlic bulb in 4 cups water. Soak the feet for 20 minutes, three times per day. For colds or flu, eat 3 fresh cloves at the onset of symptoms.