Garlic has been a food and medicine for thousands of years. Many prescriptions of the ancient Egyptians included garlic for treatment of ailments from infections to physical weakness.
The ancient Greeks used it freely, and athletes at the Olympic Games ate garlic to enhance their performance. The Romans gave it to both soldiers and workmen. Garlic was by no means limited to Europe, however. Ayurvedic physicians in India prescribed it for rheumatism and to prevent heart disease, and in Japan and China from ancient times it was a remedy for high blood pressure.
Honey has been used medicinally in most cultures through recorded history, although in the West in the mid-twentieth century it was discarded in favour of antibiotics. In more recent years, however, the notion of unpasteurised and unheated medicinal honeys has gained a following. One of the drivers in this rediscovery is the success of honey in combating drug-resistant wound infections.
Honey is highly antiseptic and antitoxic, making it a ‘times immemorial’ wound and skin healer. It is hygroscopic, i.e. absorbs moisture, and is an antibacterial, inhibiting pathogens at the source of an infection. Honey is said to be ‘drawing’, in cases of poisons or infected wounds. It was put to this life-saving use in the trenches of the First World War.
How to make garlic honey tonic
Peel a whole head of garlic. Mince finely by chopping or squeezing through a garlic press. Put in a mortar and pound until the garlic begins to go transparent. Spoon into a jar with 225g of honey. Stir well, seal and label.
What to use garlic honey for:
- Cuts and grazes
Dose: half a teaspoonful daily as a tonic or preventative. For acute infections, take half a spoonsful up to six times daily. This can be taken directly, or with ginger and lemon tea or cider vinegar. For infants and young children, run onto the soles of the feet.
This excerpt was taken from Kitchen Medicine: Household Remedies for Common Ailments and Domestic Emergencies
Julie Bruton-Seal is a medical herbalist and photographer. She is a council member of the Association of Master Herbalists, a co-organiser of the annual HerbFest gathering, and editor of the quarterly journal, The Herbalist. Matthew Seal is a writer and freelance editor, and a former director of the Society for Editorsand Proofreaders. Together Julie and Matthew have writtenHedgerow Medicine (2008) and Kitchen Medicine (September 2010). Contact them at: www.hedgerowmedicine.com