The Bulb of the Common Onion.
Allium Porrum (Bulbus). The Bulb of the Leek. Allium Sativum (Bulbus). The Bulb of the Common Garlic. Nat. Ord. Liliaceae. Linn. Syst. Hexandria Monogynia.
Med. Prop. and Action. The bulbs of these three plants agree in medicinal properties, being gently stimulant, expectorant, and diuretic. Their activity depends upon an acrid oil, oil of onions; this is dissipated by boiling, and the bulb is rendered unirritating and demulcent. Garlic is the most powerful of the three. When a portion of a bulb is swallowed in its natural state, the oil is absorbed into the system. So penetrating is the odour that when garlic is applied in the form of poultice to the soles of the feet, it may be detected in the breath, the urine, and the perspiration.
In Atonic Deafness, and in Otalgia, the expressed juice of the Garlic is occasionally a useful local application. In a severe case of Otalgia, I have seen the pain entirely and rapidly subside, on Garlic juice being introduced into the external meatus. The pain had previously resisted leeches, opiate injections, and counter-irritation. It is a popular Hindoo remedy.
74 In Hooping Cough Dr. Dewees says that he has never employed any remedy of equal service with Garlic in substance, to relieve "the cough of habit," after Hooping Cough; and that though he has repeatedly used it, he has never seen it fail. A child of 6 or 7 years may begin with a third of a common-sized clove thrice daily, gradually increasing the dose, as the system becomes accustomed to its use. The juice may, at the same time, be advantageously rubbed along the spinal column. Prof. G. B. Wood speaks highly of the value of Garlic given in the form of syrup in the advanced stage of Pneumonia and Bronchitis of children.
* Med. Times, vol. xvii. p. 425,184S. On the Management, &c. of Children, 7th Ld. p. 440.
Therap. vol. i. p. 623.
In Europe, it was formerly employed. Bergius * speaks highly of its virtues. He advises commencing with one clove, night and morning, and increasing the dose, until 4 or 5 are taken at a dose.
B. Cooper relates a severe case, treated hy Mr. Cline, in which, after a variety of remedies had been employed in vain, leek tea afforded the most astonishing relief. Mr. Cooper adds, "I have seen it tried several times since, sometimes with, and sometimes without effect; but I would advise you to bear it in mind, as worthy of trial."
He administered it infused in milk.
79. The other diseases in which these bulbs were formerly employed were, Atonic Dropsies, Infantile Convulsions, Flatulent Colic, Scurvy, Pulmonary Diseases, Low Fevers, and as a poultice to Indolent Tumours. Dr. Myrtle speaks favourably of Leek Ointment (made by simmering leeks in hogs' lard) in the treatment of the severer forms of Burns and Scalds.