Materia Medica Monday :: Allium sativa

Allium sativa commonly known as garlic is a powerhouse of an herb. We mostly think of it as a culinary herb used to flavor everything from...well from everything to everything (in my humble opinion). It is by far and away my favorite herb with to cook. But as I began studying herbal medicine, I quickly realized this herb is an ally to health and healing as well.


It is the herald of the liliaceae or lily family along with other sulfur rich edible plants such as onions, shallots and chives. Sulfur rich plants have high immune-boosting properties due to their sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides.

Allium sativa is also highly antibiotic and a strong fighter of infection. So much so that during the plague that conquered Marseilles during the 18th century, the four famous thieves that pillaged the dead bodies escaped with total immunity from wearing strings of garlic around their necks and drinking garlic vinegar also called fire cider.

The best acute uses for garlic are to fight infection especially in the upper respiratory tract, use as an anti-fungal for yeast infections, a healing aid for internal hemorrhoids, a tea for a sore throat and an amazing ear oil along with mullein for ear aches and ear infections.

For long term use it is an immune booster;  it stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. 

The next time you have a sore throat, an ear ache, something off down south, go for garlic before you take the trip to the pharmacy.

Garlic-Lemonade (for cold or flu)

Put 4-6 cloves of garlic in a quart of pure boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Add juice from 1-2 lemons (about 1-2 tablespoons) and honey to taste. Drink 1 cup every two hours.

Rosemary Gladstar's Fire Cider (for longevity)

1/2 cup fresh or dried ginseng root, chopped

1/4 cup freshly grated ginger root

1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish

1/8 cup fresh garlic, chopped

Pinch of cayenne

Bragg's apple cider vinegar

Raw honey

Place herbs in a quart mason jar and fill jar with apple cider vinegar. Seal tightly and let sit for 4 weeks. Strain the herbs from the vinegar and sweeten vinegar with honey. Drink 1-2 tablespoons a day. Can also be used to top steamed veggies or added to salad dressing.