Flower of Garlic - Allium Sativum (Liliaceae)

Medicinal Use of Garlic – Allium Sativum (Liliaceae)

Known for its pungent odor and taste, garlic is an ideal herbal medicine, being completely safe for home use and a powerful treatment for a host of health problems. It counters many infections, including those of the nose, throat, and chest. It also reduces cholesterol, helps circulatory disorders, such as high blood pressure, and lowers blood-sugar levels, making it a useful dietary addition in type 2 diabetes.

Habitat & Cultivation

Originally from central Asia, garlic is now grown world wide. It is grown by dividing the bulb and is harvested late the following summer.

Related Species

Onion and ramsons (A. cepa and A. ursinum) are both important medicinal herbs.

Key Constituents

  • Volatile oil (alliin, alliinase, allicin)
  • Scordinins
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins A, B, C, and E

Key Actions

  • Antibiotic
  • Expectorant
  • Increases sweating
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces blood clotting
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Expels worms


Invaluable remedy: Well over 1,000 research papers have been published on the medicinal effects of garlic. They show that it helps to lower raised blood fat levels, including cholesterol, to keep the blood thin and protect against blood clots, to lower raised blood pressure, to lower raised blood-sugar levels, and to have antibiotic activity.

Unknown action: While it is understood that when the fresh clove is crushed, alliin is broken down by alliinase into allicin (which has strong antiseptic activity), authorities still disagree on precisely how garlic achieves its medicinal effects. Nevertheless, research indicates that it is best to crush garlic cloves, and then to wait 10 minutes before using it in food or as medicine. This allows sufficient time for allicin to form.

Traditional & Current Uses

Traditional remedy: Garlic has always been esteemed for its healing powers, and before the development of antibiotics it was a treatment for all manner of infections, from tuberculosis to typhoid. It was also used to dress wounds in World War I.

Bronchial infections: Garlic is an excellent remedy for all types of chest infections. It is good for colds, flu, and ear infections, and it helps to reduce mucus.

Digestive tract: Digestive infections respond well to garlic. The herb can also rid the body of intestinal parasites.

Circulatory remedy: Garlic prevents circulatory problems and strokes by keeping the blood thin. It lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Other uses: Garlic has been used to treat diverse health problems, from hay fever and asthma to an enlarged prostate and osteoarthritis. It is useful when taken alongside conventional antibiotics to help prevent side-effects such as diarrhea. Strongly anti-fungal, garlic can be an effective treatment in fungal skin conditions, taken internally and applied to the skin. It has anti-cancer activity and helps to protect against stomach and colon cancer.