"Why, these flowers are only common garlic"
Wild Garlic Flowers
Creative Commons AttributionWild Garlic Flowers - Credit: Carol Rose/Geograph.org

Garlic has been used by many different societies throughout history as a powerful ward against evil. The garlic flowers, bulbs and juice can all be used for apotropaic effect, and are commonly prescribed in folklore as protection against evil spirits, witches, revenants (animated corpses) and vampires. In Romania, garlic was sometimes smeared on doors and windows, hung in wreaths inside the house or at gates and doorways, or even rubbed onto the horns of cattle. If a corpse was suspected of being in danger of becoming a vampire, garlic would be stuffed into the mouth and other orifices. The deceased body might also be anointed with a mixture of oil, fat, gunpowder and garlic. In Serbia, garlic under the pillow was thought to offer protection from witches in the night.

Garlic Cloves
GNU Free Documentation LicenseGarlic Cloves - Credit: Donovan Govan/Wikimedia Commons


Other folkloric wards against vampires include branches of the wild rose and hawthorn plants, mustard seeds sprinkled onto the roof of a house, holy items, running water (vampires cannot cross it), piercing the skin of a bloated corpse (to prevent it transforming or rising), and in some regions of Germany a lemon placed into the mouth of the corpse.