Practical Magic: Garlic—The Ancient Performance Enhancer

Holistic helpers, straight from Mother Nature.

Name: Garlic

Most Commonly Found: Garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Egypt, Africa and Europe. You can also find it in parts of the United States, including northern California.

Stone Cold Facts: Garlic is a plant in the Allium (onion) family and is closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. Its strong smell and flavor make it a popular ingredient in a variety of recipes, and many folks use it due to its iconic healing properties.

What to Heal: The healing benefits of garlic fall into four main categories:

  1. Reduces inflammation in that it lessens the risk of osteoarthritis and other disease associated with inflammation.
  2. Boosts immune function through its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties.
  3. Improves cardiovascular health and circulation by protecting against clotting, retards plaque, improves lipids, and high blood pressure.
  4. Toxic to at least 14 kinds of cancer cells, including brain, lung, breast, gastric, and pancreatic.

Since it boosts immunity, it’s a great spice to consume when you have the common cold or virtually any illness. Garlic is also one of the oldest „performance enhancing“ substances, since it has been shown to help with exercise performance. The Ancient Greeks were the first to use it for this benefit.


How to Heal: Garlic is most commonly chopped up and included in food dishes or taken as a supplement.

Related Chakras: Garlic is healing for the root chakra. 

Spirituality and Psychic Properties: The Romanians used garlic to repel vampires, placing it around the house and rubbed it on their doors, windows and gates. Even in death, they would anoint the body with garlic and place some in the deceased’s mouth in order to prevent evil sprits from entering the body.

Besides Romania, other countries used this herb to fend off evil spirits. In China and Malaysia, parents would often smear their children’s heads with garlic to protect them from vampires. People in the West Indies it as a charm against various evil spirits.

Today it is used as a way to dispel negativity, repel thieves, and prevent envy and jealousy. Hanging it is a great way to bless a new home..

In some Buddhist traditions, garlic—along with the other five „pungent spices“ —is said to stimulate sexual and aggressive drives to the detriment of meditation practice.

History and Lore: In Ancient Egypt, Garlic was prominent and well-preserved cloves were found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Jewish slaves in Egypt also used garlic to prevent illness and took it with them after escaping Egypt.

During the first Olympic games, it was used by athletes before they competed to enhance performance, as well as to protect the skin against poisons or toxins.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, used it for therapeutic armamentarium.

What are your favorite ways to use garlic?

Sara is a writer, digital marketing strategist, a content and social media professional based out of Boulder, Colo. After working in the yoga industry for several years, she has an expertise in writing and marketing for the industry. When she’s not working, she’s practicing yoga, going to a barre class, hiking the Flatirons, or playing with her pup, Zion. Feel free to contact her at