Classic vampire lore has garlic as the great deterrent against the midnight blood sucker! Separating fact from fiction, or rather, complimenting fiction with fact, one can readily see why garlic could repulse even the powerful fanged one. In simple terms, it would be garlic stench and, of course, “garlic blood!”
Sulphourous Compounds and “Garlic Blood”
The pungent scent and flavor of garlic’s sulphurous compounds, specifically, allicin, when released into the air, coats exposed surfaces. When ingested, these compounds are carried by the blood throughout the body, pervading all the tissues and exuding the garlic scent, even from the pores.
Thus, we could say, when we eat garlic, we get “garlic blood.” Not exactly to the vampire’s palate! Garlic breath that goes along with garlic blood is enough to keep the rest of us (non-blood suckers) away, as well!
Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas and Garlic
More true-to-life blood suckers out there, like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, like their fictional cousin vamps, are similarly put off by garlic. Come summertime, a good garlic spray keeps these blood guzzling critters away. It has been observed, in fact, that people who eat garlic frequently are not disturbed by mosquitoes and the like. These insects either flee the sulphurous chemical components of garlic, or are blocked by them from smelling you!
Mosquitoes in particular have highly sensitive odor detectors, 10,000 times stronger than in humans. A yard sprayed with commercially formulated garlic extract will lose its odor within minutes to the human nose, but may continue to repel mosquitoes a full month after it was sprayed! The commercial garlic sprays usually use a more potent concentrated garlic mixture, which deters mosquitoes, as well as fleas and ticks; these garlic sprays are harmless, however, to humans, birds, fish, bees, pets and plants. The insects don’t come back as long as the garlic repellent stays potent.
Blood, Blood Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink!
It is known by researchers that mosquitoes (the females, to be exact) are first attracted to the host by the carbon dioxide that emanates from host’s body and breath; when the mosquitoes get closer they zoom in on their exact, suitable prey by other compounds given off by the body, in particular, lactic acid. Besides the olfactory receptors, temperature receptors also contribute to finding their blood donors. Garlic actually confuses and prevents the mosquito’s (and other insects’) target-finding receptors from working normally, thus keeping them from identifying you as a blood-food source.
This summer, use garlic and let all the vamps out there lament: “Blood, Blood everywhere, and not a drop to drink!”