Thanks for checking back with us! Today we are talking about a plant that has been used for over 7,000 years. Jayne will explain how she grows garlic and then we'll talk about several of it medicinal uses. I must confess that I love this time of year. October makes me want to curl up on the couch with a cozy blanket to watch vampire movies. Speaking of which, my new favorite is "Only Lovers Left Alive." So, As I was saying let's break it down about garlic! Have a listen....
Sister Sage Podcast Transcript
Keep Away Vampires With Garlic!
Welcome To Sister Sage Herbs Roadside Herb Service with Jayne Simmons and Marc Fendel. Jayne is the owner of Sister Sage Herbs, a natural remedies company located in beautiful Seattle, Washington. We sell at Pike Place Market every day of the year, and online at sistersageherbs.com.
The content herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
As Matthew Wood states in his book The Earthwise Herbal, Volume 1: A Complete Guide To Old World Medicinal Plants "Garlic is one of the most important, widely known, and universally applicable of all medicinal plants in the Old World Pharmacopoeia." Garlic is one of the most ubiquitous of all herbs, and is truly a food AND a medicine.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been previously grown by Sister Sage Herbs and will be again in the current fall season. There are two basic types of garlic---softneck and hardneck. Do not store them together because hardneck garlic has a shorter storage life than do the softnecks. Since you are choosing garlic according to the taste that you like, such as mild or spicy, any garden catalogue should be helpful for your decision. The most health benefits will be derived from raw garlic, or perhaps barely cooked as a last minute ingredient. Fresh garlic is far superior to the extract pills.
Fall is the time to plant garlic. Harvest times vary; here in the western Pacific Northwest, June or July is the harvest for garlic. When harvested, let the heads dry out so you can store them and use them throughout much of the year. Plant the bulbs throughout your garden rather than having entire rows. As an alternative, in the early spring clip off the tops as they are getting ready to flower; they are a delicious addition to sauteed vegetables, casseroles, etc. as an early spring green, kind of like green onions.
Some of the nutritive properties of garlic are Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, manganese, selenium, and trace minerals. It is also very high in antioxidants which, true to the name, ward off oxidation caused by physical and mental stress, wrong food choices, overwork, air and water pollution, inadequate sleep, and more. Garlic is excellent for keeping the immune system strong against bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. It is great for headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, sore throat, fever, colds and flu, digestion, kidney and bladder issues, menstrual cramping and hot flashes, circulation, blisters, the lowering of an overabundance of estrogen, skin problems, fungal issues, and much more. It has been widely used as an expectorant as well. Garlic oil is even a remedy for cold feet. In Penelope Ody's The Complete Medicinal Herbal, A Practical Guide To the Healing Properties Of Herbs, the author states: "Prized as a medicinal herb for at least 5,000 years, garlic has long been known to reduce blood cholesterol levels after a fatty meal. Even orthodox medicine acknowledges that the plant reduces the risk of heart attacks in cardiac patients; it is also a stimulant for the immune system and antibiotic."
Note that most sources claim garlic was first used by the Chinese 7,000 years ago! Historically, garlic has been used as a preventative against outbreaks of deadly diseases including influenza, bubonic plague, leprosy, and smallpox. Maud Grieve notes in A Modern Herbal that during the influenza pandemic of 1918, the English government encouraged the growing of garlic as a preventative and treatment for the disease. While it is estimated to have saved perhaps thousands of lives, millions died. Too little, too late of course, but the point is that it was known to be effective. During the bubonic plague, the famous and infamous four thieves of Marseilles confessed to the use of garlic and other herbs as a preventative while they robbed the houses of the dead, while French priests ate garlic as a preventative remedy when they administered last rites. English priests did not, and many more of them died than their French colleagues. According to National Geographic, slaves who built the great pyramids of Egypt were given garlic and onions daily. Athletes in Greece used garlic before competitions, and so it was one of the earliest performance enhancing substances. It did not show up in North America until the 1800's, but was pretty much ignored until the 1940's.
Garlic is basic to any fire cider recipe. Fire cider is a potent immune booster and tonic, and is also used for colds and flu---and even hangovers! There are many recipes to be found on the internet. Ingredients can vary, but often consist of garlic, horseradish, ginger, onions, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, and honey. If you make it right, it is really tasty! It is not only a stand-alone drink; it may be added to soups, salads, chili, as a marinade, etc.
Garlic may be preserved in apple cider vinegar and stored for one to three weeks, and used in many recipes. Again, the how-to information is easily accessible on the internet.
Wild garlic, or ramsons, (Allium ursinum) is native to parts of Europe and Russia, but is also found in eastern North America. It is garlicky in taste, but mild, and is actually more related to chives---and really tasty! Use it in the many ways you would use garlic. It is sometimes found in farmers' markets and specialty stores.