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Garlic–pungent foe, or potent friend? 

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Most people know garlic as the stinky, old-time remedy for colds and flu, but garlic actually has myriad uses, both in the home and outside, some of which I will include later in the article.  

The origins of garlic are said to originate in Central Asia, and since then, it has been spread across the globe to different countries and cultures. It is mostly used as food now, but for the most part it was used medicinally and sometimes in superstitious rituals.
It was even mentioned in the book of Numbers in the Bible (chapter 11 verse 5), which is reported to have been written around 1447-1407 BC. Interestingly, it was spelled as ‘garlick’ in the Bible. I’m not sure why the letter ‘k’ has been dropped. Maybe I’ll look into linguistics another day. 

As heart health is a big topic in conversations today, I thought I’d include information that pertains to the benefits of garlic for the heart first. 
Garlic contains vital nutrients such as allicin, which may help with inflammation and block free radicals, and flavonoids, which help the body maximize the use of vitamin C. In my Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, on page 195, garlic is also said to have B group vitamins and is anti-biotic (bacteria do not become resistant), anti-parasitic, anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic and more.
In an article by Dr Axe, garlic is “shown to help reverse early heart disease by removing plaque buildup in arteries.” 7 Raw Garlic Benefits for Fighting Disease–Dr Axe. 

In a study done in 2016, Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., one of the head researchers said: “This study is another demonstration of the benefits of this supplement in reducing the accumulation of soft plaque and preventing the formation of new plaque in the arteries, which can cause heart disease. We have completed four randomized studies, and they have led us to conclude that Aged Garlic Extract can help slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reverse the early stages of heart disease.” 

As well as the benefits of heart health, garlic has other medicinal uses as well. It can be helpful in controlling conditions such as high blood pressure (a must in this fast-paced world), diabetes, ear infections, intestinal worms, and even smallpox gets a mention. There are many more medicinal uses, far too many to list in this article. How you choose to ingest it is completely up to you. You can eat it raw, in capsule form, in powder form, or cook with it.  

As I mentioned earlier in the article, garlic has a lot of different uses, many outside the home. If you are an avid gardener, you will already know some of these, but hopefully I’ve included some new ones for you. Garlic has long been used as a companion plant for roses because it is said to help keep the aphids away. It has also been used as a companion plant for apple trees to protect against ‘apple scab’, under peach trees to protect them from ‘leaf curl’ and also tomatoes as a deterrent to ‘red spider’. An insecticide spray can also be made with it. 

There are a couple of unique uses that I have discovered while doing some reading up on garlic. Apparently it can be used to repair minor, hairline breaks in glass due to its stickiness. It can also be used as a drawing agent for splinters, which is great if you don’t have any Magnoplasm around, and you can also crush up a clove or two and use for wasp and bee stings. 

It just so happens that now is time of year to plant garlic. You can find it at the local supermarket, health food shop or nursery and is very easy to grow. Simply place them in a good sized pot, pointy end up, and cover just to the top with soil. Water them in well and watch them grow.
For more information on how to grow your own garlic at home, check out this fact sheet by Sabrina Hahn. https://sabrinahahn.com.au/factsheet/growing-garlic/ 

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