Garlic (Allium sativum)

garlic allium sativum herb of the month

I’m afraid to write, “I can’t remember the last time I had bronchitis because I eat garlic all the time”.  Even though that phrase is true, my fear is that God may zap me with the exact opposite if I type it out.  This kind of God zap would include the worse case of bronchitis I have ever known, in spite of an over consumption of raw, stink-out-your-friends garlic.

I have a fear problem with certain words or phrases that are spoken aloud.  Things get complicated when this particular fear mixes with my God-likes-to-zap-me complex (maybe they are the same thing?).  I worry that God’s gonna zap me with the opposite of things I say out loud, just to get me. In the delusional situation, God says, “Hah!  I’ll give her asthmatic bronchitis tomorrow, just because she said that”.  He seems to be a bit kinder than this messed up zapping mentality, but I’m just being real.  Am I the only one who has a reverse psychological problem when it comes to God’s zapping skills?

I had asthmatic bronchitis for two long months during my sophomore year in college.  I got it again my junior year.  Maybe my lungs were telling me something.  In Chinese medicine, grief is held in the lungs.  The volume of tears I cried out years later!  Perhaps I carried the heavy weight of sorrow in my lungs.  Perhaps I just needed Allium sativum instead of antibiotics and a steroid inhaler.  Let’s be official and call it by its Latin name when it’s up against conventional meds.

Powerful Kitchen Medicine for the Common Cold

Garlic is one of my favorite kitchen tricks for stopping an upper respiratory infection.  Whenever I feel the sick coming on, I eat several raw garlic cloves a day.  It will almost always prevent me from getting the full blown sick symptoms, and if it doesn’t, I’ll just get the snots for a day or two. Your body processes garlic by releasing its vapor through your lungs.  This vapor could have killed the respiratory bugs that caused the bronchitis I had in college.  So yes, your garlic breath is lethal.

The stinkier your breath, the better.  Because of the vapor thing, the antimicrobial properties of garlic are at their peak when it is fresh.  The more the garlic has been processed, the less potent it’s antimicrobial activity.

Antibiotic Alternative for Ear Infections

Garlic can be used topically to relieve the ear pain associated with a middle ear infection.  No, you do not need to stick garlic cloves in your ears.  A garlic infused olive oil is used to apply drops into the car canal with a dropper.  Garlic should NOT be substituted as an at home treatment in place of proper evaluation by a doctor.  If your ear drum is ruptured, you do not want to put drops in there.  There’s no way to know it’s ruptured unless it has been examined by a doctor.

Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Garlic can be used to fight against arteriosclerosis, probably because it is such a potent antioxidant. It can modestly reduce high cholesterol and help to balance the good vs. bad cholesterol. It has some ability to lower high blood pressure, but only on a small scale.

Cancer Prevention

Research has shown garlic to prevent both stomach and colorectal cancers.  The anti-cancer activity of garlic is highest in the raw state, as heat diminishes this quality.


Garlic has some mild antiplatelet activity, and may interfere with anticoagulant drugs.  Allergic reactions to garlic are possible, and may include headaches, upset stomach, nausea, or skin rashes. Raw garlic can aggravate esophagitis and stomach ulcers.

If you would like to start taking garlic, please consult your naturopathic doctor.  A licensed healthcare practitioner can tailor the dose according to your needs. 

1 Yarnell, Eric.  Botanical Medicine V.  Bastyr University.  Spring 2011.

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2 Responses

  1. Emily

    My mom used to swear by garlic. She’d put an entire bulb in her soups, never failing to say “You don’t get sick like all of your friends, do you?” Of course, I would’ve liked a few sick days during the school year to relax, but it beat having the flu, bronchitis, etc. :)


    Dr. Archer

    I should try that! I usually put a lot of garlic in my soups, but never a whole bulb. I’m going for that next time I make soup!


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