Garlic is a protection against witches, Demons, vampires, the Evil Eye and other dark supernatural forces, and an ingredient in folk healing remedies. Garlands of garlic worn around the neck or hung in a house are said to ward off evil spirits, creatures and spells.
In Mexico, the ajo macho is a huge garlic, sometimes as big as a baseball, used exclusively as an amulet against evil in general, but not against specific Curses, which require their own special remedies. According to custom, the ajo macho will work only if it is given as a gift, not if it is bought.
In Europe, the phrase “here's garlic in your eyes” is said to ward off the Evil Eye. In times past, garlic was used to prove guilt. Suspects tossed garlic cloves into a fire; the one whose clove popped was guilty. In healing folklore, garlic is widely reputed for its ability to cure and prevent colds and other ailments.
It is baked in bread, ground into powder and made into liniment. Ancient Roman soldiers wore garlic into battle for extra courage. In ancient Greece and Rome, garlic was placed at Crossroads as an offering to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and the night. Odysseus used garlic as protection against the witchcraft of Circe, who turned his men into swine.
- Leach, Maria, ed., and Jerome Fried, assoc. ed. Funk & Wagnail's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.