The Zimbabwe herbal medicine project run by herbalist Alice Nugent MNIMH has taken an interesting path into the world of garlic (Allium sativum). Alice has been spending time in the North East of the country in two specific regions where she has spent part of her life. She has visited small rural villages and begun to gather information on the way garlic is used in such communities.

This is of special interest in a country where medicines can be hard to find and even harder to afford, as something as easy to grow as garlic could be invaluable in treating bacterial infections. Whether its use is prevalant remains to be seen in Alice’s findings.

This is something that affects us all really. Everyone in the UK could grow garlic…. it doesn’t take much. Failing that garlic is easily available and can be made into medicines that last all year if seasonal growth means that one can’t pop to Waitrose or the local farmers market… there is the opportunity to keep garlic in our medicine cabinets all year.

Garlic is used as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. When it is crushed a little or lightly cooked its chemical composition changes and when absorbed by the body helps fight infection. Garlic is a clear example of something that was once valued for its medicinal properties but whose value was lost when modern medicine began to dominate. The humble garlic clove lives on and this herbalist is one among many who would urge you to keep it in mind when infection affects/infects you or your family.

Garlic tincture, honey and oils can be made to keep. It can be pickled (yum) and stuffed into olives for a treat. There are many creative things one can do with garlic and it is there, still potent against orthodox antibiotic resistant bugs….

So we await Alice’s findings and meanwhile go tend our veggie patches and plan the year ahead… ~*~