Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. I find garlic  gets rid of warts, just rub it on fresh [South London Botanical Institute, February 2014].

2. An excellent remedy for infections is garlic and olive oil!! or alioli. Formulation: Just peel a clove of garlic and smash it with extra virgin olive oil (Spanish if possible) with the blender until you get a yellowish creamy sauce. Apply externally, if local infection, or take it orally together with bread if you have a flu or a cold. It is an old Spanish remedy … [e-mail, Spain, November 2011].

3. Garlic used to ward off vampires, and in the treatment of arthritis [Barking, Essex, August 2004].

4. Baldness cure (trad Welsh) – rub garlic on bald patch then smear on honey and leave 24 hours [Stevenage, Hertfordshire, January 1996].

5. Previous to the First World War garlic was used as a general cure. Slices of garlic were placed in the shoes, against the soles of the feet, as a cure for whooping cough [Larne, Co. Antrim, January 1992].

6. A cure for whooping cough practised in Cambridge not that long ago was to put garlic in the suffer’s socks [Girton, Cambridge, October 1985].

Images: main, Mitcham, London Borough of Merton, May 2014; upper inset, garlic-seller, Newport Place, City of Westminster, October 2017; lower inset, Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, August 2023.