Garlic (alium sativum)

'I've always said you can't have too much garlic' said Nanny.
- Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum.

A Kitchen Witch should definitely keep an eye on this aromatic plant. Not only does it offer vast health benefits, but it is also indispensable in Mediterranean cuisine. Can You imagine spaghetti napoli without garlic? Not to mention the whole range of dishes, sauces and condiments which are based on it. The best examples of these are, of course, aioli - a sauce that consists of mashed garlic and olive oil only, and spaghetti aglio e olio, which is basically that, but put on pasta.

Botanically, the white, round objects that can be bought under the name are the plant bulbs - the part that stores nutrients needed for growth in spring. If not harvested before growth, garlic will sprout long, thin leaves, very similar to chives (which is in fact garlic's cousin from the aliaceae family). Garlic leaves can be used in the same manner as chives, since they are milder than the bulb. They still possess the characteristic garlic taste though.
  • Medicinal uses
Garlic is probably as close to the universal remedy as possible while still being a real, accessible, existing object - in fact, pharmacology is still puzzled over the fact that garlic seems to contain the only known disinfectant that bacteria don't evolve a resistance to in due time. It is a wonderful cure for fever and can be used to reduce it in practically any illness, the only contraindication being a case of allergy, which is very rare. Faced with a case of the common cold, a kitchen witch needs only a bulb of garlic, and possibly some flowers of the common lime tree (tilia europaea), to nurse the patient back to health. The best way to achieve this is to feed the patient raw garlic accompanied by a source of vitamins, as I have tested myself : it only took some aioli and tomato sandwiches to heal a cabinful of shivering, sneezing people.
Garlic is also a great ally to all those who are suffering of hypertension, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis. Together with oregano and mint, garlic should be used to season red meat, both for enriching its taste and facilitating its digestion.
  • Magic uses
Due to its cleansing, healing properties, garlic is a powerful component for protective magic. Mashed garlic can be added to handmade candles and wicks to give them a strong protective aura - and no, they won't really smell of it, they will smell of burning. Placing garlic cloves around the house will also ward off evil, although it might provoke questions. Of course, You will also benefit from its protective powers when eating it, which brings us back to Kitchen Witchcraft at its best : tasty, aromatic, magical dishes. Prepare an aioli based dip for a coven meeting when You feel that extra protection is necessary. If You suspect that someone is trying to jinx Your relationship, simply invite Your partner for a romantic dinner with spaghetti aglio e olio and white wine.

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