Garlic has many uses on the outside of the body, too. Applying a topical solution of raw garlic and water may stop wounds from getting infected. (Simply crush one clove of garlic and mix it with one-third of a cup of clean water. Use the solution within three hours because it will lose its potency over time.) A garlic solution used as a footbath several times a day is traditionally believed to improve athlete's foot.
A study conducted at Bastyr University, a natural health sciences school and research center near Seattle, showed that a garlic oil extract cured all warts it was applied to within two weeks. A water extract of garlic was much less effective. In the same study, the garlic oil extract also proved useful in dissolving corns.
Using garlic oil extract appears to work better than the old folk remedy of tying or taping a slice of garlic to a wart. If the slice of garlic is bigger than the wart or moves just a bit, it blisters the healthy surrounding skin (of course, you have the same risk when using wart-removing products that contain acid).
Garlic's phytochemical compounds are strong enough to create chemical burns, so always apply externally with caution and do not use on young children. One way you can protect the surrounding healthy skin is to smear petroleum jelly on it before you apply the garlic.
Viruses are a relatively small foe compared with cancer. On the next page you'll learn about research into the use of garlic to prevent this dreaded disease.
Taking three cloves a day when you have a cold may help you feel better. If the raw garlic bothers your stomach, take the capsules with food that contains a little bit of canola oil or, better yet, olive oil.
Other folk remedies battle colds and chest congestion with a garlic poultice or plaster. To make one, put some chopped garlic in a clean cloth, thin washcloth, or paper towel. Fold it over to enclose the garlic. Pour very warm (but not hot) water over the wrapped garlic, let it sit for a few seconds, and then lightly wring it out. Place the wrapped garlic on the chest for several minutes. Reheat with very warm water and place on the back, over the lung area, for several minutes. Some herbalists also recommend placing the poultice on the soles of the feet.
Caution: Be careful not to let garlic come into direct contact with the skin. Cut garlic is so powerful that prolonged exposure to the skin may result in a burn.
- Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature garlic.
- Nutrition: Find out how garlic fits in with your overall nutrition plans.
- Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
- Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.