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    1 Plant Every Gardener Should Grow

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    1 Plant Every Gardener Should Grow

    You may know it as something you mince for stews and pasta sauces or something you spread on bread with butter or olive oil. Maybe you associate it with lingering bad breath or even folklore – spurred by Bram Stoker's Dracula – about repelling vampires.

    For centuries, however, nutritionists and healers have touted garlic as one of nature's most potent wonder drugs. Evidence of garlic has been found inside Egyptian pyramids and Ancient Greek temples. Garlic is also referenced in the Bible and medical books from Ancient Rome, China, and India.

    Historians have discovered that ancient Egyptians fed their slaves diets rich in garlic to help them stay strong and work harder. Ancient healers also prescribed garlic for a variety of ailments, from the common cold to cardiovascular problems.

    There is evidence that garlic may have been one of the first “performance-enhancing” drugs since it was fed to athletes during the Ancient Olympics in Greece. Hippocrates, known as the Father of Modern Medicine, prescribed garlic for many uterine and pulmonary complaints and as a cleansing agent for the body.

    Modern research has confirmed garlic's healing powers. In fact, garlic contains about 400 different chemical components that help the body fight off disease and maintain good health.

    Most of garlic's benefits come from eating it in its most natural form, raw, because cooking can destroy some of its natural properties. Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 and is a good source of manganese, selenium, and vitamin C. It also provides potassium, iron, phosphorous, and calcium.

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    This article begins with some of the top uses and benefits of garlic. Later, we will delve into tips for growing it in your home garden.

    Benefits and Uses for Garlic

    Here are 12 healing benefits and uses for garlic:

    1. Lowers Blood Pressure

    According to studies like this one, garlic and garlic supplements help dilate blood vessels and relax smooth muscles, helping to lower blood pressure levels by 7 to 8 percent.

    Research suggests that when study participants consumed 200 to 400 milligrams of garlic extract three times a day for a month, they experienced lower blood pressure. Consuming raw garlic may also reduce the hardening of the arteries, which is a common part of the aging process.

    2. Fights Bacteria

    Washington State University study demonstrated that garlic may be just as or more effective than prescription antibiotics in fighting the common bacteria known as campylobacter bacterium. The bacteria infects about 2.4 million Americans with stomach-related illnesses each year.

    3. Reduces The Risk of Certain Forms of Cancer

    Eating garlic enhances the body's production of hydrogen sulfide, which may be effective in preventing the development of prostate, pancreas, rectal, and colon cancer. 

    A study by the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that allowing chopped or crushed garlic to sit for 10 minutes before heating helps it retain more of the sulfur compounds that help fight cancer than if it were cooked or eaten right away.

    According to the National Cancer Institute, data from seven population studies showed that the higher the amount of raw and cooked garlic study participants consumed, the lower their risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. Garlic also has antibacterial properties and the ability to block the formation of cancer-causing substances, enhance DNA repair, and reduce cell proliferation.

    4. Fights Fatigue

    Research suggests that consuming garlic promotes the body's production of hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide, which relax the arteries and increase blood flow to muscles. This process boosts muscle growth and post-exercise recovery.

    5. Eliminates Toxins from the Body

    Garlic's multiple sulfur-containing compounds stimulate the liver enzymes that are responsible for removing toxins from the body. 

    6. Fights UTIs

    A diet rich in garlic can help fight urinary tract infections, too. If you suffer from athlete's foot, try soaking your feet in a footbath of garlic cloves and water to combat the problem. In this case, garlic works as an antifungal.

    7. Relieves Earaches

    A pediatric study showed that 14 strains of bacteria taken from the noses and throats of children diagnosed with ear infections were killed when the children consumed raw garlic. The fungus that causes swimmer's ear has been treated successfully with a mixture of garlic and water.

    8. Lowers Pain and Inflammation from arthritis

    Try preparing a paste made from garlic cloves and rubbing it on the painful area. Garlic's anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain in swollen and sore joints.

    9. Helps Prevent Blood from Clotting

    Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that keeps blood from clotting. Therefore, consuming fresh garlic can help prevent arteriosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

    10. Fights Hair Loss

    Now, you may not want your hair to smell like garlic, but the results might be worth it if you are experiencing hair loss.

    Try rubbing your scalp with this garlic-based solution


    • 1 tsp garlic juice
    • 8 oz. rosemary tea
    • 1 tbs honey
    • 1 tbs lemon Juice


    1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl or cup.
    2. Rub the mixture into your scalp nightly.
    3. Let it stay on your scalp for 20 minutes before rinsing with clean water.

    11. Keeps Garden Pests Away

    Pests do not like the smell of garlic. You can use it as a helpful companion plant, or you can concoct your own natural pesticide with garlic, mineral oil, water, and liquid dish soap.

    Pour the mixture into an empty spray bottle and use it to spray your plants as a pest deterrent. You can also rub garlic directly on your skin to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects away.

    12. Contains Cleaning Agents

    You can make a homemade disinfectant spray with garlic and a few other ingredients. First, chop up three to five cloves of raw garlic. Then, add them to a spray bottle full of white vinegar. Add several drops of lemon oil to the solution. Use the liquid to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces effectively.

    How to Grow Garlic in Your Home Garden

    If you've ever tasted homegrown garlic, you know its favor cannot compare with the store-bought kind. Easy to grow and easy to add to recipes, garlic can and should be a staple of your family's healthy diet.

    Fall is the best time to plant garlic for early-summer harvest. Garlic needs a long growing season to establish deep roots and form large, healthy bulbs.

    There are two varieties of garlic: hardneck (also called stiffneck or bolting) and softneck (often called topset or non-bolting).

    Hardneck varieties have a rigid, central stall that curls at the top and grows a seedpod head called a bulbil or scape. Hardneck varieties produce five to seven large cloves. Hardneck cloves, which are hardy and grow well in northern regions of the country, tend to have a stronger flavor than softneck varieties.  

    Hardnecks are easy to peel, but they have a shorter shelf life—about three to six months after harvesting—than softnecks.

    Softnecks, which do not have a rigid stalk and do not grow a flower scape, typically have multiple tightly wrapped cloves per bulb (ranging from 10 to 20). In optimal storage conditions, they can stay fresh for up to 10 months or more.

    Softnecks are the type you find in the produce section of most grocery stores, but their flavor profile can vary from mild to intense. They tend to grow better in warmer climates.

    How to Grow Your Own Garlic

    It is surprisingly easy to grow garlic in your home garden. Planting an individual clove will yield an entire new bulb.

    Plant each clove with its pointed side up about two inches deep, spacing cloves about six inches apart. You should begin to see growth in four to six weeks. The cloves will begin to grow roots, rest for the winter, and then start growing again in the spring.

    With hardneck garlic, you can plant the “bulbils” (small round cloves) from the scape. This method is longer, but eventually, you will have more bulbils than cloves. 

    In early summer (late June or early July, the leaves that appear above ground will start to turn brown. This change means it's time to harvest your garlic.

    Carefully dig out the bulb and hang it up in a shady location, such as a basement, where there is good air circulation. The leaves should match the wrapping on the bulb. That means you should have five layers wrapping around the bulb if you have five leaves.  

    Allow the bulb to cure in this way for four to six weeks. Then, you can cut off the dry leaves at the top of the bulb. If a garlic bulb is in the ground too long, the cloves will start to separate, and it won't cure well or last as long.

    Store fresh garlic in mesh bags in an area with about 50 percent humidity. You can use it in recipes right after curing or wait a little longer for optimal flavor.

    How can you add more garlic to your diet? Here is a simple recipe.

    In a juicer, blend four cloves of garlic with the juice of two tomatoes and one lemon to make a delicious, nutritious drink. Keep refrigerated.

    You also can make a tomato garlic soup in your blender with the same ingredients. Add some sea salt and pepper to taste.

    Here aresome  more tips for growing and harvesting garlic in your home garden.

    Historians believe humans began growing and using garlic as food, medicine, a form of food preservation, and for trade and commerce about 6,000 years ago. In fact, garlic was discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun along with gold and other valuable artifacts. Garlic is easy to grow, requires little maintenance, stores well for months, provides health benefits, and adds great flavor to your meals. 

    Here are some additional resources to check out.

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