Benefits of Sleeping with a Garlic Clove under Your Pillow

It could be that you live in a time of vampires and werewolves. In this case, sleeping with a clove of garlic under your pillow should also be supported by a silver cross above your bed, holy water at the door and a wooden stake at your right hand.

But even if you don’t live in medieval Transylvania, there are still magical properties claimed for this legendary, yet humble vegetable.

It is claimed garlic can help you to have a restful sleep; that consuming it can give you greater energy; that you can use it to ward off the common cold; and that its anti-bacterial properties can be used to heal small wounds on the surface of the skin.

What is Garlic?

Garlic (scientific name Allium sativum) is a root vegetable species in the onion genus. It is native to Central Asia and North-eastern Iran. It has long been used as a source of food flavoring and has been used in traditional medicine since the time of the Ancient Egyptians.

Garlic Clove

Ancient Romans and Greeks are said to have used it not just to flavour food but also to cure illnesses. It is claimed to have natural anti-bacterial effects which were utilised to ward off smallpox, common colds and “dropsy”.

Garlic has a strong aroma which lingers on the breath when ingested. It is common in dishes from the Mediterranean and Asia. It is often combined and served with onions. When cooked, the flavour is retained but the key vitamins and minerals are lost through the heating process.

The Science

Garlic contains several nutrients including vitamins B6, thiamin and pantothenic acid; vitamin C; and the dietary minerals: manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Several medical research studies have investigated the claimed effects of garlic when treating disease. There appears to be evidence which suggests high levels of garlic consumption can reduce the risk pf prostate cancer in some circumstances. There is also evidence that the vitamins and trace minerals in garlic can help alleviate the effects of the common cold.

There is evidence that too much topical application of garlic direct to the skin or as garlic oil on the skin can result in minor burns.

In areas where mosquitoes are problematic, consuming garlic can help deter them.  The sulfur-containing compounds which are released when garlic cloves are crushed are natural deterrents for insects.  Growing garlic amongst vegetables and flowers can also deter slugs from approaching the area.

Under your Pillow?

Recipe for a healthy life: from one garlic bulb, take one clove of fresh garlic. Take care not to crush the clove. Retain the paper cover around the clove. Place the clove under your pillow at night. In the morning, remove the clove and discard. Repeat each night.

Does the recipe work? Maybe. Some trace elements are released as the heat of your body warms the clove. It generates an aroma which permeates the air around your pillow. Zinc, in particular, is an element which has anti-bacterial effects.

Does it do any harm? No. And it’s not too expensive either. But don’t leave each clove in place for too long. Change it daily. If you are expecting overnight guests, it is best to remove any traces of garlic and wash the bed linen to remove any lingering garlic aroma.

Alternative Natural Products to Keep under Your Pillow

Lavender – the aroma of dried lavender is said to promote restfulness and sleep. It is a tried and trusted folk remedy.

Rosemary – there is no evidence of any health benefits to be garnered from keeping dried rosemary under your pillow. It does however smell pleasant and you can image this to be an antiseptic aroma.

Oregano – mmm, pizza.

Cinnamon – there is no evidence of any health benefits to be garnered from keeping dried rosemary under your pillow.

Feverfew – no reported effects for keeping under the pillow. However, when ingested, it is reported to help alleviate migraines. Try a feverfew sandwich.

Fennel – no reported benefits. When full bulb is used, can disrupt sleep due to raised lump in soft pillow.

Pepper – no benefits from peppercorns. Ground pepper just makes you sneeze.

Paprika – no. It makes a mess on the bed linen. Negative effects – triggers desire for goulash and dreams of food.

Sea salt crystals – no benefits. Major dis-benefit – reported dreams about mermaids.

Chili peppers – No. Just, no.

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