Thursday, October 30, 2008

Garlic is Better than Ten Mothers

Garlic: Nature's Super Healer
by Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen

What a neat and informative book. It's available from Amazon as a hardcover for $30, or it starts at $.75 used. Guess which I would buy. :) I love Amazon, but not that much.

I got this copy from the library, one of my favorite places. It was written by the Wilens, who are not food writers per se, but researchers, writers and television hosts, as the back book cover says. They write on folk healing and remedies, which is currently an interest of mine. This is a terrific book to have as a resource, for it turns out that garlic has many more uses than I have ever considered, and I've used garlic as a home remedy for many things--but not athlete's foot, nightmares, lyme disease or melanoma. Now, however, after reading the Wilen's book, I think I would use it. You bet.

Garlic is something everyone should have in their home, for both food and medicine. If you can't stand it as food, then I pity you truly. Some folks can't eat it or maybe even shouldn't, if they have a medical reason. . . . Even so, you should still keep it for medicines. It's been used for centuries upon centuries by every culture that has ever become aware of it. I consider garlic super-food and super-medicine. In our home, garlic goes into everything except desserts. We eat it raw daily. Michael likes his clove through a garlic press, followed by a teaspoon of jam or jelly, but he's civilized. I chew mine and swallow it (as quickly as possible!) with water.

Garlic: Nature's Super Healer has the following chapters:
No Matter How You Say It . . . Garlic in 45 languages
Garlic's Believe It or Not (vampires, etc.)
Garlic as Medicine (general doses, supplements, raw, suggestions on other foods to take it with)
Remedies (a list of illnesses and complaints and garlic's uses in them)
Garlic Remedies for Your Pets
Health-Giving Garlic Preparations (garlic oil, baths, enemas, formulas, juice, syrups, etc.)
Growing Garlic
Garlic as Food
Recipes (some incredible kick-ass recipes!)
Appendices with Garlic Festivals and Resources

Pretty much everything you'd want to know about this godsend to mankind. I'll include a few excerpts here for your entertainment (the authors have a great sense of humor) and information.

How/Why Does Garlic Work:

The Wilens quote William Blot, chief biostatistician of the National Cancer Institute: "Every time you slice or crush a clove of garlic, you initiate a complex sequence of biochemical events. The merest bruise unleashes an enzyme called allinase, which goes to work converting another molecule, alliin, into allicin. That the reaction is instantaneous is obviously because at precisely this moment, garlic begins to smell like garlic.

"Allicin spontaneously decomposes into a group of odoriferous compounds which provide much of garlic's medicinal punch. Those compounds quickly form still others--dozens of them--depending on whether the bulb is fresh or aged, raw or cooked, natural or processed in pills, extracts, and capsules.

"Garlic's quicksilver nature creates problems for researchers. No one really knows which form delievers the greatest benefit."

I'm glad "researchers" have problems, aren't you? Keeps 'em busy and off the streets. At least, in studying this, they are not studying what makes dogs bark or why men are attracted to busty women....

In the Believe It or Not Section, there's a bit on how vampires became associated with (and repelled by) garlic:

Everyone knows that you repel a vampire with garlic. But do you know how the legend came to be? Dr. James Scala explains: "Porphyria is a hereditary disease that occurred in isolated areas of central Europe, especially Romania, where Transylvannia is located. People with porphyria need iron in the form of hemoglobin from blood. They must avoid sunlight or any strong indoor light or their skin becomes inflamed and produces toxins that make them very sick. They are exceptionally hairy, have large teeth, and very light skin. Most importantly, diallyl sulfides make them violently ill. Garlic is the best source of diallyl sulfides. Therefore, whoever has hereditary porphyria looks and acts like a vampire and will avoid garlic like the plague."

I would never have known this (and don't really need to know it now) but I find this kind of information fascinating.

Here's a cold remedy I'm going to definitely going to try:

If garlic is rough for you to take, even though you have a cold and may not be able to taste anything, then peel and crush 6 cloves of garlic and mix them into 1/2 cup of white lard or petroleum jelly. Spread it on the soles of the feet. To keep the feet warm and to prevent messing up the bed linens, put each foot in a plastic bag, secure the bag by tying ribbon or cord around the plastic (not too tight, you don't want to stop your circulation), and leave it on overnight. It should help bring down a fever and clear up the cold.

Or chop it up and put in your socks before you put them on. Seems like that might work too.

Here's something you can do for gangrene, if there is no doctor or other medical professional around. The authors consulted Lalitha Thomas, an herbalist, for this suggestion:

To prevent or possibly retard gangrene or blood poisoning, pack the entire area thickly with pulverized garlic directly in and around the wound. Clean out dead tissue and any pus, etc., with strong garlic water (see Preparations chapter). One way to do this is to soak the area for 10 minutes and then repack it with a fresh garlic poultice (see Preparations) at least 3 times a day. In some cases the red lines of blood poisoning actually begin retracting within a few hours, or at least by overnight. At this point in the process the dead gangrenous flesh may start cleaning out of the wound. With that the re-infection cycle is stopped, and the wound begins healing normally.

I've read of treating gangrene with maggots--I would certainly try the garlic first!

The Wilens also include a section on how to get rid of garlic breath--fenugreek seeds, cloves, cinammon, wine, milk, coffee bean, but the best way they've found to take raw garlic is to crush up the clove, mix it into a dollop of yogurt and swallow it down. Avoiding garlic breath is a noble thing to do for your friends, I guess.

There is a lot of information here useful for just about everyone.

Next time you're feeling sickly, try a garlic footbath. "The footbath will draw toxins from the entire body, soothe tension and anxiety, rejuvenate sore or tired feet and legs, help treat athlete's foot, speed recovery from colds and flu, relieve toxic buildup from a daily job environment that may be physically or emotionally polluted or stressful, and much, much more."

The Preparations chapter includes Lalitha Thomas's Enhanced Garlic Formula. It is well-known that garlic is an antibiotic and the authors report that this formula doubles or even triples the "strength and effectiveness of garlic alone, while it helps the body to more quickly assimilate the garlic and thus put it to work." Here it is:

Enhanced Garlic Formula

1 part garlic powder (bought in bulk at health food or herb store)

1/4 part cayenne powder
1 part powdered calcium ascorbate (a form of Vitamin C that's available at health food stores and has a potency of 1/4 teaspoon = 1 gram vitamin C)

Depending on the amount of the formula you intend to make, 1 part can equal 1 pinch, 1 tablespoon, 1 ounce, and so on.

If you prefer, you can mix only the garlic and cayenne together as powders and take 1 gram of vitamin C in tablet form with each dose as needed.

It is advisable to make a large enough quantity so you always have extra on hand for emergency use. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for best shelf life.

Well, hopefully this will be enough to get you going with garlic. Keep some at home, handy in the kitchen, and you'll always have one of God's best medicines available to you.

Note and Disclaimer: This information is for entertainment and information only. It should not be taken as medical advice.

Have to get that nonsense out of the way. Keep in mind when reading here, OK?

Next post: Where to find garlic outdoors for when the stores close. :)


The Scavenger said...

How is garlic prepared for a foot bath, sounds like something I would like to try. Not a big fan of garlic but I may look at it a little different now thanks to this post. Thanks.


Patricia said...

There's a couple of ways you can make garlic water, Chris. For a footbath, peel and crush and blend well in enough water for the footbath (say, 16 cloves or so) to a couple of quarts of water. Strain out the pulp, heat up the water to tolerance and dip in the dogs. OR you can make a concentrate of garlic water by blending lots of cloves of garlic with 2-3 cups of water, strain it and store in fridge or cold storage. Then you can dilute the concentrate to get the strenght you can take. All the directions are pretty loose, so play with it and see what you like.

You can also add garlic water to your bath water--if you don't get your hair wet in it, you won't smell of garlic.

I like the idea of the footbaths too and aim to try it.

Good luck,