Aromatherapy
Garlic

Allium sativum

A perennially growing herb - garlic - is a member of genus Allium belonging to the family Alliaceae. This species has a close relation with onion, leek and shallot. Garlic is never found growing in the wild and it is believed that this herb is a product of cultivation, perhaps descending from the species called Allium longicuspis, which is found growing in the wild in several parts of south-western Asia. Available documents show that people have been using garlic all through the recorded history for culinary as well as therapeutic purposes.

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As most of us are already aware, garlic is among the most well-liked spices across the globe, despite it strong pungent aroma. In fact, this spice is so popular that it is also known as the "stinking rose". It has lots of similarities with onion, with the difference being that while onion comprises a single bulb, while garlic is a compound bulb comprising several groups of purplish or while scales. In addition, the head is made up of several smaller cloves. Basically, garlic is a root crop and its bulb remains beneath the ground. As many as 300 different types of garlic are cultivated throughout the world.

Like in the case of several other plants, the history of garlic's use dates back to several thousand years. Precisely speaking, the use of this spice started about 4,000 years back in Babylonia. Today, garlic is among the most extensively cultivated and used herbs worldwide and is used for therapeutic as well as culinary purposes. Garlic offers numerous health benefits, It has been found that civilizations where garlic consumption is proportionately high have consistently very low incidences of high blood pressure, heart diseases, bronchitis, intestinal disorders and even problems related to blood and lymph circulation.

The importance of garlic as a natural remedy for heart diseases as well as high blood pressure is increasing everyday. Whether you ingest garlic fresh in your diet, or take garlic capsules, the health benefits of the herb remain the same. Garlic is also highly effectual in lowering the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) in the blood stream. However, in order to obtain these health benefits of garlic, we also need to make the necessary changes in our diet.

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The essential oil extracted from garlic is known to be an effectual antiseptic and decongestant and is highly valued for treating sinusitis, catarrh and bronchitis (particularly chronic bronchitis). Perhaps, the lay man is also aware of these therapeutic uses of garlic essential oil. There are many people who usually take one or more garlic capsules every day throughout the winter months in the form of a preventive measure against common colds, coughs and so on. If you are treating acute bronchitis, you need to use garlic along with other suitable essential oils with a view to combat infection, alleviate coughing as well as bring down body temperature. The bactericidal, antiseptic, and detoxifying attributes of garlic essential oil make it extremely useful for treating acne.

Applying garlic essential oil directly onto the skin would prove to be very effective, but it would be impractical to expect a patient, especially one who is young, to practice this. Nevertheless, they ought to be encouraged to use garlic perles every day to facilitate eliminating toxins from the body. Many people refrain from using garlic or garlic essential oil owing to its potent smell. However, these days odourless garlic capsules are available and this should encourage people, especially the younger generation, who are concerned what their peers may think of their stinking breath, to use them more regularly. However, removing the natural odour of garlic may possibly also rob this essential oil of some of its vital therapeutic properties. Therefore, it is always advisable that you use garlic or the natural oil extracted from its cloves.

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Several cultures across the globe have been using garlic for several thousand years now for its potent therapeutic properties. Garlic has been used traditionally to prevent infestation of worms in the intestines - in people as well as animals. In addition, this herb is effective in combating several other parasites. Garlic is taken orally fresh or in the form of capsules with a view to treat scabies. For this purpose, garlic essential oil is also blended with peppermint, lavender and other suitable oils and applied topically to the affected areas.

Garlic essential oil is considered to be among the best natural remedies for gastro-intestinal (GI) infections. You can use this oil as a preventive measure too, particularly when you are traveling abroad to places where there are chances of getting a stomach upset following consumption of local foods. Sometimes the tourists are offered very spicy foods abroad and this may cause stomach disorders. Therefore, using garlic essential oil serves as a safeguard. In fact, several peasant communities extensively use garlic in their foods and this certainly protects them from various types of infections, in places where bacteria propagate rapidly and may often prove to be dangerous. Since garlic is an effective natural antibiotic, its use does not eliminate the beneficial flora in the intestines, but only kill the harmful microbes. This is contrary to the synthetically prepared antibiotics, which gets rid of the harmful as well as the beneficial flora from the intestines causing much damage to the digestive system. Interestingly enough, before these therapeutic properties of garlic were established through scientific studies, garlic was only considered to be an effective remedy for cystitis. In addition, it was known to be an effective preventative for those who are susceptible to recurring attacks.

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Not all essential oils are used internally, but garlic oil is among those few essential oils that can be ingested. Internal use of garlic essential oil is effective in lowering high blood pressure (hypertension) and the blood cholesterol levels, thereby protecting the heart. In addition, oral use of garlic essential oil is also useful in treating recurring infections in the respiratory tract, skin blemishes as well as infections in the urinary tract.

Garlic essential oil is obtained from the garlic cloves employing the steam distillation process. As garlic oil is an effective antibiotic, it naturally combats as well as prevents infections and, at the same time, eliminates toxins from the body. Garlic essential oil is very versatile and helps to lower high blood pressure, combat flu, reduces fever, induces perspiration. It is also effective for treating bronchitis, insomnia, impotence and promotes the health of the liver, reduces blood cholesterol levels and is recommended for people who are enduring various conditions related to the heart.

The essential oil extracted from garlic cloves is also useful for treating various other conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, earache, ulcers, and diabetes, gastritis as well as yeast infections. Garlic oil is useful for treating skin related problems and it also accelerates healing of bruises, wounds and sores. As garlic essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful in promoting our overall health and wellness - both of the body and the brain. Garlic oil is also a potent anti-coagulant and, hence, is useful in preventing blood clot formation.

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You can ingest supplements containing garlic essential oil to cure infections that are attributed to bacteria and fungi. This is because this essential oil possesses effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Garlic essential oil is especially useful for treating staph infections (MRSA) as well as candidiasis caused by yeast infections. Garlic essential oil is also highly effective for treating common cold, ear infections and sinus infections. This oil is also a potent antioxidant and, hence, is useful in eliminating the detrimental free radicals, which may interfere with the metabolic activities in our body and promote cancer, from our system. In addition, various compounds found in garlic essential oil have been found to reinforce the immune system as well as hold back the cancer cells from spreading.

Apart from its various therapeutic uses, garlic oil is also used for other purposes. Since garlic oil has a very strong and distinctive aroma, it is often used in the form of a natural insect repellent.

The potent aroma of garlic oil also makes it an effective remedy for issues related to congestions, in the form of a general stimulant and also to appease irritated skin.

General properties

  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-coagulant
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-septic
  • anti-spasmodic
  • anti-viral

Blends well with

General uses

  • acne
  • arthritis
  • bronchitis
  • bruises
  • catarrh
  • cancer
  • circulatory problems
  • cystitis
  • diabetes
  • earache
  • fever
  • flu
  • gastritis
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • impotence
  • insomnia
  • intestinal disorders
  • liver problems
  • natural cholesterol reducer
  • parasites
  • rheumatism
  • scabies
  • sinusitis
  • skin blemishes
  • skin problems
  • sores
  • stomach problems
  • ulcers
  • yeast infections
  • wounds

Precaution

People who are already taking some kind of anticoagulant medicines should avoid garlic. In addition, people who have undergone any major surgery recently, or are suffering from peptic ulcer, hemophilia (a disease wherein the patient suffers frequent and uncontrollable hemorrhages) or any other bleeding problems should also stay away from this herb. Garlic or its oil should never be applied to hypersensitive, unhealthy or damaged skin. Similarly, garlic oil should not be administered to children below the age of two years.

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