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Garlic, the medicine in your kitchen

I was hurtin' earlier this week. Thanks to good old fashioned rest, prayers, garlic and heavy doses of vitamin C I'm on the mend. No doubt most of you have heard or read the wonders of garlic. I'm not going to go into all the great evidence that points to the efficacy of garlic. My intention is to share what works for me and some other information I've come across.

Garlic, Straight Up

My SIL was my inspiration for eating garlic at the first sign of infection (this ain't no sissy garlic pills, this is the real thing). Watching her got me thinking, "hey why not?" Sure, you'll smell but eating raw minced garlic is great for your immune system, if not your social life. And I have no social life so this isn't a problem.

Fresh garlic can be a bit harsh (or spicy as my kiddos say) going down so you can mix it with raw honey. We're not big into refined sugars around here but I make an exception for a spoon of raw honey.

Garlic Oil Preparation

There's a lot of recipes out there for preparing garlic oil. I'm not sure what my problem is but I tend to be exact measurement-phobic so I prepare my oil kind of like this:

  1. Using your smallest saucepan pour a small layer of olive oil in the bottom.
  2. Mince, with garlic press or by hand, 4 or 5 medium sized cloves into the oil.
  3. On the lowest heat, simmer garlic in oil for about 1/2 hour (or less, if the garlic is browning). The goal is not to cook the garlic but to use the heat to extract the properties of the garlic into the oil. Lots of recipes suggest steeping the garlic for several hours or overnight in the oil but I always need the oil, like now, and we use it so rarely that I don't keep batches on hand.
  4. Strain oil and garlic through a cheesecloth (clean finely woven fabric does fine also) to extract just the oil. For immediate use oil can be kept in a little dish. For more sanitary long term use store in a sterilized amber bottle. You can find these new at health food stores, I re-use the bottles from the essential oils I buy for soapmaking.

Mullein variation: On the second day of this recent ear infection I tried to make a more potent "potion" by steeping dried mullein leaves in the garlic oil I prepared the day before. I poured the oil back in the pan, added 1/4 cup of mullein, a couple more garlic cloves and more oil to cover it all. I simmered and strained it as with regular garlic oil.

Mullein and garlic
Mullein and garlic

Garlic Oil Application

  • I re-use sterilized eye droppers (Why on earth are they called that? - I've never dropped anything into my eye from one of those things) that come with health food store oils and extracts. You can buy them new for cheap.
  • To apply warm oil into my ears I suck up a little bit into the dropper and run it under hot water. You can skip the hot water step but I like the warmth.
  • I tilt my head to a 90 degree angle and squeeze out 4 drops or so into my ear. I let it sit for awhile till I get that "full ear" sensation then add a little ball of cotton to absorb the oil. Oh yeah, you can turn your head upright now! When I do this to the kiddos I have them lay down.
  • While I was sick I did this every few hours and right before bed. I'm mostly better now but I'll probably keep doing it till I feel totally well. I think I'll take my SIL's advice and take garlic oil internally for a week or so, or maybe I'll just keep eating raw cloves!

Other Garlic Goodies

When my friend found out I was battling an infection she sent this recipe from Herbal Antibiotics:

Ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 20 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 15 drops grapefruit seed extract

Directions:

  1. chop garlic fine, place in a small baking dish with olive oil and bake in oven at lowest setting overnight
  2. strain oil in a cloth, press well.
  3. add essential oil of eucalyptus and grapefruit seed extract to garlic oil and mix well
  4. place in amber bottle for storage

To Use:

Hold glass eye dropper under hot water for 1 minute, dry well (quickly) and suction up oil from bottle. place two drops in ear every half hour or as often as needed.

Post Script: This post is part of the Home Remedies Carnival at Keeper of the Home.

11 February 09

Comments

Glad to hear you're feeling

Glad to hear you're feeling better! Here's another natural cure that has always worked for us for ear infections - tea tree oil mixed with olive oil 1:1. One drop in the ear a few times a day for a day or so and it's gone! I've always treated our stuff successfully with vitamin c, echinacea, cod liver oil (vitamin A) etc, and it's saved us from antibiotics lots of times...Jayden has been on antibiotics once when he had bronchitis, eye and ear infection all at the same time, that I just couldn't get on top of, but that's it for our kids...I love having an alternative!

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