Ex-Classics Home Page

Gerard's Herbal Vol. 1

Gerard's Herbal V1 - CHAP. 97. Of Garlic.

CHAP. 97. Of Garlic.

Fig. 301. Garlic. (1)

Fig. 302. Wild Garlic with Red Cloves. (2)


The Description.

            1. The bulb or head of Garlic is covered with most thin skins or films of a very light white purple colour, consisting of many cloves severed one from another, under which in the ground below groweth a tassel of thready fibres: it hath long green leaves like those of the Leek, among which riseth up a stalk at the end of the second or third year, whereupon doth grow a tuft of flowers covered with a white skin, in which, being broken when it is ripe, appeareth round black seeds.

            2. There is also another Garlic which grows wild in some places of Germany and France, which in shape much resembles the ordinary, but the cloves of the roots are smaller and redder. The flower is also of a more dusky and dark colour than the ordinary.

The Place and Times.

            Garlic is seldom sown of seed, but planted in gardens of the small cloves in November and December, and sometimes in February and March.

The Names.

            It is called in Latin, Allium: The apothecaries keep the Latin name: the Germans call it Knoblauch; the Low Dutch, Look: the Spaniards, Aios, Alho: the Italians, Aglio: the French, Ail or Aux: the Bohemians, Czesnek: the English, Garlic, and Poor Man's Treacle.

The Temperature.

            Garlic is very sharp, hot, and dry, as Galen saith, in the fourth degree, and exulcerateth the skin by raising blisters.

The Virtues.

            A. Being eaten, it heateth the body extremely, attenuateth and maketh thin thick and gross humors; cutteth such as are tough and clammy, digesteth and consumeth them; also openeth obstructions, is an enemy to all cold poisons, and to the bitings of venomous beasts: and therefore Galen nameth it Theriaca Rusticorum, or the husbandman's Treacle.

            B. It yieldeth to the body no nourishment at all, it engendereth naughty and sharp blood. Therefore such as are of a hot complexion must especially abstain from it. But if it be boiled in water until such time as it hath lost his sharpeness, it is the less forcible, and retaineth no longer his evil juice, as Galen saith.

            C. It taketh away the roughness of the throat, it helpeth an old cough, it provoketh urine, it breaketh and consumeth wind, and is also a remedy for the dropsy which proceedeth of a cold cause.

            D. It killeth worms in the belly, and driveth them forth. The milk also wherein it hath been sodden is given to young children with good success against the worms.

            E. It helpeth a very cold stomach, and is a preservative against the contagious and pestilent air.

            F. The decoction of Garlic used for a bath to sit over, bringeth down the flowers and secondines or after-burden, as Dioscorides saith.

            G. It taketh away the morphew, tetters, or ringworms, scabbed heads in children, dandruff and scurf, tempered with honey, and the parts anointed therewith.

            H. With Fig leaves and Cumin it is laid on against the bitings of the mouse called in English, a shrew.

Prev Next

Back to Introduction