Garlic - traditional medicine
The bulbs are the most frequently used parts of the plant. In India they are prepared in several ways including extracting the juice or pulping the bulb to a paste. This has been taken to relieve problems such as coughs and fevers, or applied externally to prevent the greying of hairs and to improve skin conditions such as eczema and scabies. It has even been applied to the noses of hysterical girls to calm them down!
|Image: A medicine seller with his wares.|
Warmed garlic juice, or a mixture made with oil and the boiled bulb has been dropped into the ear to relieve earache and deafness. In Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine garlic juice has been used to alleviate sinus problems. In Unani medicine, an extract is prepared from the dried bulb which is inhaled to promote abortion or taken to regulate menstruation. Unani physicians also use garlic to treat paralysis, forgetfulness, tremor, colic pains, internal ulcers and fevers.
Folk medicineExtracts of the bulbs have been widely used in folk medicine. Whooping cough in children has been treated by administering a drink made with a hot water extract of the dried bulb mixed with honey, or by wearing a necklace of bulbs. Hot water extracts are also taken to kill intestinal worms. In Pakistan an extract is traditionally taken orally to settle the stomach, treat coughs reduce fever.
Garlic bulbs have sometimes been combined with other plants to make medicines. Mixed with the leaves of the ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis) it is used as a treatment for rabies. An infusion of the entire plant has been combined with sugar and taken to treat fevers. Garlic has also been used in traditional Indian veterinary medicine to treat tetanus and inflammatory disorders of the lungs.
Garlic around the worldGarlic also features in traditional medicine in other parts of the world. In Nepal, East Asia and the Middle East it has been used to treat all manner of illnesses including fevers, diabetes, rheumatism, intestinal worms, colic, flatulence, dysentery, liver disorders, tuberculosis, facial paralysis, high blood pressure and bronchitis.
This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.