As someone with Italian heritage, I enjoy cooking with garlic. If a recipe says two or three garlic cloves, I tend to use five or six. Not only do I love the taste of garlic, but I appreciate its health benefits for my family.
Garlic, which gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon words “gar” (meaning “spear”) and “lac” (meaning “plant”), is known for its strong odor. Of course, according to legend, the smell of garlic is powerful enough to repel vampires.
However, there are many more practical reasons to have a good supply of garlic in your home. Ancient writers such as Virgil and Pliny the Elder described the benefits of garlic.
Garlic is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, selenium, carotene beta and Vitamin C.
Research studies have shown that consuming garlic may be helpful for your heart and liver, fighting against bacteria and viruses. A diet rich in garlic also may help you maintain a healthy weight.
But there are other uses for garlic you may not have realized. Here are 11:
1. Treat colds. Garlic can help alleviate symptoms of the common cold. You can boost your immune system by sipping a tea made with garlic. Simply steep a clove of garlic in hot water for about five minutes.
After straining out the garlic, sip the tea as a natural cough syrup. Add honey or ginger to make the taste more pleasant.
2. Relieve acne. The antibacterial properties in garlic can help treat skin blemishes. Cut a garlic clove in half and then rub it over facial pimples. The antioxidants in the garlic help kill bacteria, which then leads to healing.
3. Help heal cold sores. Apply a cut of garlic clove directly to a cold sore. Although it may sting a little, the garlic’s natural anti-inflammatory properties help reduce pain and swelling and may speed up the healing process.
4. Treat athlete’s foot. To kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot, crush a couple of garlic cloves and add them to a warm tub of water. Soak your feet in the tub for about 30 minutes.
5. Stop psoriasis outbreaks. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties also can relieve outbreaks of psoriasis. Just rub crushed garlic onto the affected area.
6. Help hair loss. Garlic contains high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that may help fight hair loss. Rub sliced cloves of garlic onto your scalp and massage any garlic oil into your scalp.
7. Remove splinters. Try placing a sliced garlic clove over a splinter and then cover it with a bandage for a few hours. The garlic oil will loosen the splinter so that it can be easily removed.
8. Use as a natural pesticide. You can concoct your own natural pesticide with garlic, mineral oil, water and liquid soap. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and then spray it on your plants to keep insects away. You also can rub garlic directly on your skin to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects away.
9. Catch fish. Many species of fish are attracted to the scent of garlic. Try rubbing a cut garlic clove over your normal bait.
10. Make homemade glue. You also can use garlic as an adhesive for paper craft projects. Crush some garlic cloves and then rub the juice onto the paper, wiping away any excess.
11. Create an all-purpose cleaner. You can make a homemade disinfectant spray with garlic and a few other ingredients. First, chop up three to five cloves of garlic. Add them to a spray bottle full of white vinegar. Then add several drops of lemon oil to the solution. Use it to effectively clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Now that you know some of the many benefits of garlic, here is one warning: It may be toxic to your pets.
Although some pet owners recommend garlic as a flea and tick preventative for pets, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that you avoid feeding it to your animals.
What other ways have you used garlic? Share your tips in the section below: