SOCIAL MEDIA

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Herbarium: Magical and Medicinal Uses of Garlic

garlic, herbalism, herbal remedy, magic, witchcraft, herb magic, green witchcraft, hedgewitch, herb magic, herb magick, magick, magic, occult, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Powers: Courage, Exorcism, Healing, Lust, Protection, Strength
Magical Uses and History: Garlic is one of the earliest domesticated plants, and while its lineage is uncertain, its magical and healing abilities are anything but. In Talmudic literature, garlic is commonly described as protection against all manner of evils, including the Evil Eye, demons, witches, and, most famously, vampires. In one tale, garlic was given to a servant by their master after asking for the weaponry of a knight, suggesting that garlic is as powerful and protective as a sword. Odysseus used garlic to protect himself against Circe, who had turned his men into pigs. In India, garlic was believed to have originated from a drop of amrita or divine ambrosia that was unintentionally left behind by the bird-like creature and Lord Vishnu's vehicle, Garuda. Garuda is known for driving away evil, negative spirits, and poison, further associating garlic with protection. In the Balkans, garlic was rubbed on the chest, soles of the feet, and armpits on Christmas and Easter to protect everyone, especially children, from being eaten by witches, who were said to feed the most on the holy days. While rubbing garlic on children, parents would recite the following charm: "When the witch has counted up all the blades of grass on the ground and all the leaves on the trees, then let her kill my child!" On St. Thomas's Day, October 19th, garlic bulbs were hung in windows to keep witches away from the house all year while during the middle ages, it was worn around the neck to protect against werewolves and hung in doorways for the same purposes. Most famously, however, garlic was used as protection against vampires.

Bram Stoker's Dracula popularized the Romanian belief that garlic wards off vampires, but it wasn't just in Romania that it was believed garlic could ward off vampires. In China and the Malays, children's foreheads were anointed with garlic to protect against vampires as well. While the origins of the vampire are highly debated, some suggest that vampire folklore arises from the disease porphyria, a term used to describe several diseases that are caused by irregularities in the production of heme in the blood. The virus is largely carried by saliva, making transmission highly likely, but those infected often have a strong aversion to strong, pungent smells, like that of garlic. As such, garlic was worn, hung in the home, and rubbed on keyholes to deter vampires. Diseases caused by mosquito bites were also often referred to as "the touch of the vampire" and garlic was often used as an insect repellent by being rubbed on the body or eaten to stave off illness, associating it with both protection and healing.

However, these same tales are rife with prejudices and biases, especially against Jewish and poor people, who were described as smelling bad because they "rubbed Christ's body with garlic." Such accusations were used to stigmatize entire social groups and promote hate and explains where garlic nicknames such as "Italian perfume" and "Bronx vanilla" originate from.

Apart from hanging in the home or rubbing one's body with garlic, it was also used as an offering to Hecate for protection. Bulbs were routinely left at crossroads for Her in return for protection against evil, ill-will, witches, and other ill-intentioned spirits. Hecate was also offered garlic during childbirth and placed in the birthing chamber to protect women and children from demons and ensure a safe, healthy delivery.

Apart from protection, garlic was also believed to promote health and increase strength and endurance. Greek athletes and soldiers would eat large amounts of garlic prior to a match or battle to increase their strength and endurance and ensure victory. In Rome, not only did the soldiers consume garlic for courage, but Roman generals would also plant fields of garlic in the countries they conquered, believing that courage would be transferred to their soldiers on the battlefield. In Egypt, slaves were fed garlic to keep them strong and healthy, and King Tut was documented as spending fifteen pounds of garlic to buy healthy slaves. Even as recently as World War II, Russian soldiers ate garlic before going into battle to promote courage and strength and protect their bodies from bullets. As such, garlic can be used to promote strength, courage, and endurance whether for the witch or the spell being cast.

Garlic was also noted for its healing abilities and is often used to fight infection and stave off illnesses. Hippocrates recorded garlic being used to fight infections, clean wounds, treat cancer and leprosy, and cure digestive disorders. Later, Dioscorides praised garlic for its ability to treat heart problems, while Pliny listed 61 remedies featuring garlic that was used to treat everything from the common cold to epilepsy. In the Middle East, garlic was used to treat the plague and prevent others from getting sick. As such, garlic can be used in spells for healing, health, and general wellness.

Finally, garlic is associated with wealth, luck, and prosperity. Garlic is often consumed on Christmas Eve or New Year's Day to ensure good luck and prosperity, while in China, garlic is given to newlyweds as a symbol of health and prosperity. In Ancient China, garlic was often planted around the home to attract good luck and ward off evil. As such, garlic can be used in spells to bring luck, prosperity, and wealth.

Garlic can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Endurance Magic
    Prosperity Magic
    Healing Spells
    Wards
    Money Spells

Garlic has a long and rich history, and as such, I couldn't include everything in this article. If you would like to learn more, including more about Romanian garlic folklore, I encourage you to read through the following articles:

These amazing resources cover garlic in a way that would take me multiple posts.

Medicinal Uses: Garlic is among the most versatile herbs in the natural world, being universally recognized for its medicinal properties and uses. Garlic is antimicrobial, acting on bacteria, viruses, and parasites alike. The volatile oil is effective against chest congestion, helping to break up and remove mucus in the lungs. It can be used to treat bronchitis, coughs, sour throat, colds, and influenza. Garlic has also been found to help support natural gut flora, killing pathogenic organisms and promoting overall gut health. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Externally it has been used to treat ringworm and threadworm.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally, garlic can be taken as an infused oil, honey, or eaten whole. To create an effective cough/cold/flu remedy, combine 1 minced glove of garlic with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1-2 teaspoons of honey. Take up to three times a day. This infused honey can also be added to 1 cup of boiling water and a slice of ginger root and drank as an infusion up to three times a day for the same purpose. To create an infused oil, combine 4 crushed garlic cloves with 3 tablespoons of oil. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and store for up to 12 months. Add to foods or take straight to improve gut health, fight infection, and speed in recovery.  If you wish to eat garlic whole, eat up to three cloves a day. Externally, garlic can be crushed and used as a poultice to treat fungal infections. Garlic is commonly added to other herbal remedies, such as fire cider, to treat infections and improve overall health. This is not a complete list of potential uses.
 

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garlic, herbalism, herbal remedy, magic, witchcraft, herb magic, green witchcraft, hedgewitch, herb magic, herb magick, magick, magic, occult, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan


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