Medicinal Properties of Garlic

Medicinal Properties of Garlic

Part of Ep. 1103 Pretty Enough to Eat

Learn about the health benefits of garlic with Anne Walker of Homeland Garden in Madison.

Premiere date: Sep 24, 2003

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
I hate putting the garden to bed at the end of the growing season. It's my least favorite chore. So, I'm going to ignore it. I'm going to plant garlic. It's much easier. It's the easiest crop I grow. You take the cloves, September, October, basically any time up until the ground freezes, then it does get a little difficult. Pop it in the ground, two to three inches deep, pack the soil over it gently, water this in, and then put a good layer of straw or mulch over the top of it. It'll be your first plant up next spring, which is good, because I eat a lot of it. I like garlic on everything, except cereal! But today, we're going to find out, not only does it taste good, it is good for you, too.
I'm joined by Anne Walker of Homeland Garden. And Anne, thank you for joining me. I understand that you, in addition to designing gardens, you deal with herbal medicine quite a bit.

Anne:
I do. I've been studying for the last 15-plus years, and recently, I've been teaching.

Shelley:
So, is garlic in part of our herbal medical history?

Anne:
It is. It's been listed as far back as 1500 B.C.

Shelley:
Wow! So, it's been around a while.

Anne:
It has.

Shelley:
How was it used historically?

Anne:
For instance, during the Black Plague, it was used extensively in Europe. It was, the cultures that did best with the Plague were the ones that traditionally ate garlic.

Shelley:
So, some of us good people that ate this stuff, they had a higher survival rate actually?

Anne:
They actually did.

Shelley:
Wow. And how has it been used since then? Is that the main way it's been used?

Anne:
During World War I and World War II, it was used particularly for battle wounds. It was iether sliced and put on the wound itself, or it was juiced, diluted and it then it would be put on an unmilled sphagnum moss pad and then put on the wound itself.

Shelley:
So, externally as a poultice rather than eaten for this?

Anne:
Right, for those conditions.

Shelley:
Well, are we, I know in modern times, that it has a reputation of being good for lowering cholesterol. Is that actually true then, too?

Anne:
That's true, as well. And it's also antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal. It's a powerful player.

Shelley:
So, all we have to do is eat it. Usually, cooked is better.

Anne:
Cooked is better for the cholesterol fighting properties, the cardiovascular system. But if I was doing antibacterial, I would want to eat it raw.

Shelley:
Okay...

Anne:
Raw. Raw, I would stick it through a garlic press and then mix it with butter and a little bit of salt or soy sauce, and then I'd just put it on an nice piece of toast or bread.

Shelley:
That sure does sound good. Oh, pesto.

Anne:
Pesto.

Shelley:
That's raw, too.

Anne:
Pesto is good.

Shelley:
Okay, I can eat it raw. What's it going to do for me if I eat it raw?

Anne:
If you eat it raw, it's nice for the cold and flu season.

Shelley:
Oh, really?

Anne:
And I also like it if I kind of have something going on in the back of my throat. I'll cut the garlic, put it in a bowl, add some honey to it and let it steep. And then, I'll take teaspoons of the honey and eat that.

Shelley:
That sounds like a treat! Is this preventative or curative?

Anne:
I would use it for both.

Shelley:
So, it really does have those properties, then. Now, are people using it in modern times, though, as a poultice on the external parts of us?

Anne:
A friend of mine who's in the woods got a cut on his knuckle and didn't pay attention to it, he was having a good time. And looked down and then realized that he had the red streak climbing up his hand.

Shelley:
From an infection, which can be quite dangerous.

Anne:
Right. He is an herbalist, so he knew to cut the garlic, he put a slice on, band-aided it down. And he was a distance from town, so he gets in the car, packs up, comes back down. And by the time he got here, to town, it had resolved.

Shelley:
So, he never even had to go and see somebody about the infection?

Anne:
He didn't.

Shelley:
Wow. Now, that's not something that we would suggest everyone try. It's always good to consult your health professional before trying anything new like that.

Anne:
It is.

Shelley:
But it's fascinating. It makes me give a lot more respect to this humble bulb. Anne, thank you very much.

Anne:
Thanks.

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