Power Plants: Garlic

via Bryce Wylde

Biohacks, Remedies

Power Plants

GARLIC (Allium sativum)
Garlic is one of the world’s most common culinary herbs. It’s an essential part of cuisine throughout Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, Europe, and parts of South and Central America. China produces more than 13.5 million tonnes of it a year—that’s enough to fill 5,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Garlic is a species from the genus Allium, which also includes onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. The bulb—made up of multiple cloves—is the most prized feature, but other parts of the garlic plant are also edible.
Everyone should eat a fresh clove of garlic every day. That way we’d all be used to the smell and we’d all be the healthier! Garlic may reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol, as well as diseases with an underlying inflammation (that’s most diseases).
What makes garlic so special is a sulphur compound called alliin, which interacts with an enzyme called allinase to produce another compound called allicin. If that’s too many “a’s”, “l’s”, and “i’s” to even think about, not to worry! The important thing is when the garlic bulb is crushed or ground, it releases a high concentration of the stuff that can keep your ticker healthy. Allicin also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Garlic is loaded with compounds that can boost the immune system, plus a host of antioxidants. It’s definitely worth enduring a bit of bad breath to put all that in your body!
Difficulty: Easy
Hardiness: Varies: check your package
Time to Plant: Late summer to early fall
Time to Harvest: Late summer to early fall the following year
Location: Full sun
Soil Type: Well-drained loam—clay or sandy soil won’t work at all
Garlic is a must-grow plant—and has been for millennia. There are two main types: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck varieties are hardier, so they’re the best choice for colder climates, which means most locations in Canada and the northern United States. Softneck garlic is best grown in warmer climates and is the choice of commercial producers in California: that’s what you’ll see most often in the grocery store.
Hardneck garlic varieties produce 4 to 12 cloves in the traditional shape, while softneck varieties produce 10 to 40 cloves layered on top of each other like the petals of an artichoke. If you’ve already got garlic planted, how do you tell the difference? Simple: hardneck garlic produces a flower stock, while softneck doesn’t. As a bonus, softneck garlic is easier to braid.
Garlic is helpful to other plants in the garden: the same compounds that make your breath stink also repel aphids if you plant it close to your beautiful roses.
Common Varieties: Hardneck varieties include Asiatic, Creole, Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Rocambole and Turban. Popular softneck varieties include Artichoke and Silver Skin.
Garlic is easy to plant, but it takes a little planning. For optimum results plant it in the fall so it has time to set roots before freeze-up. After the first frost, separate the cloves from the bulb and plant them pointy-side-up. (The most common garlic goof is planting the entire bulb instead of individual cloves!) The cloves will rest during the winter, grow again through spring and summer, and be ready harvest in late summer as mature bulbs.
Garlic can be planted on its own in rows, or placed in your garden between flowering plants. If you’re planting in rows, space cloves 15 cm apart and leave 20 cm between rows. It’s important to loosen the soil where you’ll be planting, so dig down about 20 cm and then level the soil out again. Use your fingers to push each clove down to a depth of 5 cm, making sure the pointed side faces up (basal side down).
When you separate the individual cloves [show picture] before planting, keep the protective papery husk around them. Each clove will yield a whole bulb of garlic. The larger the clove, the larger the eventual bud will be.
Just after the first hard frost, mulch your garlic with 10 to 15 cm of clean straw to insulate against the winter frost-thaw cycle. Then put your feet up for the winter while your garlic rests!
In early spring, your garlic will start to grow immediately: watch for the green spikes. When all risk of killing frost has passed, carefully remove the straw mulch.
Garlic doesn’t normally need fertilizer, but if your soil lacks nutrients, early spring is the time to apply it. Garlic enjoys nitrogen-rich soils, so an organic manure tea or granular fertilizer with a high first number would be ideal. During the growing season, water deeply and infrequently.
Always remove any yellowing or sickly looking garlic. For the most part garlic is disease- and insect-resistant and will not require the use of insecticides or fungicides.
Hardneck garlic produces “scapes” midway through the growing season. These are curled flower heads that should be removed early on to encourage bulb growth and help increase bulb size. Simply snap them off—but don’t throw them away. Scapes are a culinary delight! Many feel they provide the same health benefits as the bulbs.
When it comes to harvesting garlic, timing is crucial. In late summer, you’ll notice the green leaves start to turn yellow and brown from the bottom up. When the bottom 3 or 4 leaves have yellowed and the top 5 or 6 leaves are still green, it’s time to harvest.
Gently lift one bulb out to ensure it has swelled to mature size (check the package). If so, lift out the remaining bulbs with a garden folk. Trim the dangling bottom roots to 1 cm and brush off any soil, then braid the leaves in groups of three to six bulbs and hang them in a shaded location with good air circulation and no danger of frost. The bulbs need to dry for at least two weeks before eating or storage.
Depending which variety you grow, garlic can be stored for 6 months to a year from the date of harvest. Store it in a cool, dry, dark location with a temperature between 0°C (32°F) and 20°C (65°F). Never store in a refrigerator.
Heart help? Juice this!
Most people cook with their garlic. But, if you want the most powerful effects, you gotta juice it! To make your own heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, immune-boosting, blood-pressure-controlling, detoxifying juice, add the following to a vegetable juicer:
4                                           large carrots, washed
1                                           small beet
½                                           Granny Smith apple
2                                           large leaves of kale
1                                           handful of parsley
1-2                                       cloves of garlic
piece of ginger approximately ½ inch thick
You can adjust the amount of ginger and garlic to taste. It’s best to start with small amounts and then increase them if you can handle it, but use no more than 4 cloves of garlic or it will be far too strong to drink and may cause stomach irritation and nausea.
Got an earache? Oil it!
Few things are more unpleasant than a painful ear infection. There are two main types: otitis externa (in the external ear canal) and otitis media (in the inner ear, beyond the eardrum). Garlic oil is a highly effective remedy for relieving the inflammation, pain, discomfort, and itching associated with both types.
Garlic has proven very useful for swimmer’s ear (external ear), mild otitis media (the antimicrobial oils from the garlic can bypass the tympanic membrane into the inner ear), and non-specific dermatitis of the external ear canal. It is also excellent for removing excess earwax. (Normal amounts of earwax are actually protective, so speak to your doctor before removing it.)
Place 4 tbsp of olive oil into a double boiler (or a bowl placed on a layer of water in a saucepan). Add 2 cloves of pressed garlic. Warm the oil gently over low heat for one hour. Strain the oil through a piece of cheesecloth and store it in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator.
Any remedy placed inside the ear should be warmed to a comfortable temperature first: place the jar in your pocket or against your belly 10 minutes before applying. Then, using a dropper, place 4 drops into the affected ear. Cover your ear with a very warm, wet cloth and lie horizontally on your opposite side for 10 minutes.
Yeast infection? Try this!
Bakers don’t add garlic to bread while the dough is still rising because it would kill the yeast and flatten the bread. This antifungal property can also be used to treat a vaginal yeast infection.
Women who experience frequent yeast infections are familiar with the slight itchiness that comes and goes at the onset. That is when you want to start treatment.
Strip a clove of garlic by peeling off the cover. Cut it lengthwise into 4 pieces. Line up the 4 pieces end-to-end at one of the long edges of a sterile 2 x 4 inch piece of gauze and roll it up. Sew each end shut and tie a string through one end for easy retrieval.
Place into the vagina like a tampon before bed. Don’t be surprised if you taste garlic in your mouth: that’s quite normal. (Don’t worry, this cannot enter the uterus through the cervix, nor can it get lost, especially if the string remains intact.)
Repeat this for 2 to 3 nights or until itchiness is gone (no more than 5 nights consecutively). If the infection persists or complicates, see your physician or gynecologist for conventional treatment.
Fast forward to the health food store to purchase CLM’s Allimax capsules or equivalent. Follow the instructions on the label.
Because garlic can thin the blood, it might enhance or even contradict the effects of certain prescription medications, including other anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, including warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel and enoxaparin. Because of these properties, you should discontinue your daily regimen of garlic at least one week prior to having surgery, including dental surgery.
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