Garlic Health Benefits (Allium sativum)

Garlic has been in cultivation for medicinal and culinary purposes for 5,000 years. Garlic appears to lower blood cholesterol by decreasing low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides (TG). The active agent in garlic is the allyl sulfur compounds. Within the Allium species, garlic contains the strongest potency of these allyls. It is possible that garlic aids in the prevention of cardiac conditions including heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and stroke. Garlic has been used worldwide for centuries to protect against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It might contribute to the prevention of the common cold or at least reduce symptoms and strengthen immunity for re-infection. The reduction of incidence in cancer with regular garlic ingestion has been hypothesized.

The traditional healing modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) incorporate copious amounts of garlic. Once ingested, it has the property of warming the body. Garlic aids digestion, prevents diarrhea, and defends the body from bacteria. Effective release of its healing power occurs by crushing the cloves prior to use.

For Halloween night, the typical American household spends $44 on candy. That amount could purchase at least 4 lbs. of garlic (approximately 24 heads). Would it not be prudent to slightly decrease the candy budget and exchange those dollars to include more garlic in your family menus?

Garlic Growing Tips

Here is some background info we follow:

  • Intensive bed preparation with hand implements, little soil disruption;
  • Soil fertility enhancements (compost and later mulch);
  • Initially we planted every clove. Now that we have achieved seed stock, we choose the best cloves for planting;
  • Cloves planted 6 inches apart and 4 inches deep in equilateral triangular patterns;
  • In early summer snap off scapes after curling (can be eaten as a separate vegetable);
  • Discontinue watering shortly after scape removal;
  • Harvest within 4-6 weeks, when about 6 bottom leaves begin to die back. Harvest promptly for garlic skin integrity;
  • Hang to dry, at least 2 weeks;
  • Experiment with varieties that consistently grow heartily in the area, disease resistant.