Monday, March 8th, 2010...12:00 am

Garlic: The Stinky Savior

Garlic by riesling_76

TheGardenLady has invited people with horticultural interests and expertise to contribute posts to this blog.  The following post  was submitted by Christy Baker, a certified Family Herbalist and Consulting Herbalist.   Christy is currently pursuing a certificate in Horticulture Therapy and a second Master’s in Landscape Architecture.

“Bronx Vanilla”, “Stinking Rose”, “Italian Perfume” or more commonly called today- garlic. Garlic (Allium Sativum) has been known by many names and has enjoyed its fair share of fame and rejection since its first recorded use in Mesopotamia by the Sumerians. In the 1550 BC Ebers Codex of Egypt garlic was included in 22 different medicinal formulas. Dating back to 3200 BC sculptures and paintings of the bulbous plant were found in Egyptian tombs while an Egyptian papyrus boasts of the benefits of garlic in the successful treatment for over 22 ailments of the time. In Korea, the six clove black garlic was given to women to bless them with supernatural powers and immortality. Interestingly, early Christians believed that when Satan left the Garden of Eden underneath his right foot sprang an onion and from his left garlic. The ancient Greeks and Romans used garlic to treat dog bites, repel scorpions, bladder infections, leprosy and asthma. In 1858 Louis Pasteur was able to prove that 1 mm of raw garlic juice was as effective as 60 mg of penicillin. The list of ways garlic has been used over the span of time humans have walked the Earth is plentiful.

The Stinking Rose garlic restaurant by Erwin Bolwidt (El Rabbit)

Due to its high antibacterial content, during World War II British and Russian soldiers used diluted garlic solutions to stave off infections and gangrene. Early Transylvanians used garlic as mosquito repellent (and to ward off more menacing blood suckers); but despite a long and distinguished history garlic was rejected by the American elite, who deemed this powerful bulb unfit for proper ladies and anyone who wanted to court them- however in the warm comfort of immigrant kitchens garlic never lost its place among revered culinary delights. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that Americans once again returned to the beckoning arms of this pungent culinary staple. Today, Americans alone consume 250 million pounds of garlic each year.

Garlic is a plant that does double duty, if one is partial to its pungency (which does mellow with cooking-especially roasting) then garlic is sure to be indispensable in the kitchen, ever ready to start a base for soups stews or sauces. One also gets a healthy dose of Vitamins when garlic is consumed regularly: Vitamins A, B, and C help the body fight carcinogenic buildup in the arteries, ridding itself of toxic buildup that may be the precursor to cancer. Studies have shown that garlic may also be helpful in improving blood circulation and alleviating digestive issues. Garlic is a no brainer for colds and infections and when paired with ginger and lemon, you can rest assured you will promptly be returned to health.

Garlic is easy to grow and likes a mild climate, although when planted before the first frost it thrives through winter for a late spring harvest.

Although relatively harmless, if raw garlic is consumed in abundance bad breath and body odor may result- these effects can be close to alleviated if the garlic is cooked before consumption.

Enjoy Garlic & Be Merry!

Roasted Garlic Dip

Courtesy of


• 3 heads garlic, unpeeled

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1/2 cup sour cream

• 1/4 cup mayonnaise

• 1 green onions, chopped

• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 tablespoon ground black pepper


1. Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

2. Cut off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves, trimming about 1/4 inch off of the top of each clove. You may need to trim individual cloves along the sides of the head. Brush the cut cloves with a small amount of olive oil, then nestle the head into a piece of aluminum foil.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cloves are tender and nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove, and allow to cool to room temperature.

4. Once cool, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into a mixing bowl. Mash well with a wire whisk, then add the sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk until evenly blended, then refrigerate 2 to 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend.

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1 Comment

  • Garlic is another example of a natural remedy and can sometimes be used in place of prescription drugs to treat heartworms in your dog. It is also very effective for repelling fleas and other known parasites. When using garlic to treat your cat or dog, always cook it thoroughly. Raw garlic can be harmful to your pet. I have a friend that has made cooked garlic a regular ingredient in her cats’ food.

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