Have you ever wondered why we love using scallions, onions, leeks, chives and garlic in our cooking? This family has a pungent flavor and is rich in sulfur. This affects our lung health by encouraging warmth to move energy through our bodies. It helps resolve blood stagnation, reduce clotting and expel coldness. It also purifies our body by helping remove heavy metals and parasites. Using these plants regularly helps clean our arteries and retard the growth of viruses, yeasts, ferments that we get from eating unbalanced diets.
Garlic: Besides the advantage of being the most pungent family member and promoting circulation, sweating, preventing the cold virus, eliminating worms and other unfavorable bacterial, some other uses to explore are: Poultices: made with chopped garlic to draw out swelling from boils; Garlic tea: applied cool with a cotton cloth to relieve poison ivy, poison oak and nettle stings; Ward off mosquitoes: eat garlic at least once daily and see these little guys avoid you; Athletes foot: sprinkle powdered garlic daily on wet feet and let dry. Maybe wear socks when doing this. Animal health: combine garlic with their food to help repel fleas.
To remove strong garlic flavor and aroma: steam your garlic and consume a few sprigs of fresh parsley after eating to neutralize the odor. To make it more acceptable you can also put a thin slice between two slices of apple, or use garlic capsules.
Caution: if you have heat conditions like red eyes, red face, and canker sores or feel too hot, don’t like heat and crave cold water, do not use garlic. Be alert to how much garlic you use and the quantity as too much garlic can damage the stomach and liver.
Chives: When we use chives fresh or lightly cooked they assist with increasing energy circulation which automatically deals with stagnant blood conditions, bruising and swellings. Some forms of arthritis also benefit and weak digestion is assisted. Specifically chives influence the liver, kidneys and stomach. Caution: See heat signs above.
Leeks: Along with the other health benefits as listed for the onion family, I enjoy leeks because of the sour flavour which acts as an astringent and is associated with the liver. This quality helps with dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), and counteracts bleeding and diarrhea.
Onions: Did you know that onion tea calms the brain and acts as a general sedative? It also acts to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and decreases catarrh (phlegm and inflammation of the nose and throat). It is commonly used to cure colds by encouraging sweating in traditional cough remedies. Use it also to treat dysentery and inhibit allergic reactions. Onion packs on the chest are used for bronchial inflammation, chest congestions and to draw swelling from the pain of insect bites.
Scallions: Along with being pungent, this family member has a bitter flavour. This assists the heart and is used in cases of both chest and heart pain. Also scallions promote urination and heat which helps with the first stages of the common cold or flu, especially when there are chills involved. It has antifungal and antimicrobial effects but to a lesser degree than garlic. Use this member of the onion family for treating swelling, edema, diarrhea, and some forms of arthritis when the body is exhibiting chills, pallor and aversion to cold. Caution: see heat signs above.
Pauline Wolf, CHHP, Certified Provincial Instructor, is a practicing Colon Hydrotherapist in Campbell River.