Garlic and vampires

Why is the idea of vampires hating garlic part of the vampire mythology? Did garlic
had a particular mythological significance in medieval Europe?

According to Wikipedia…

Garlic has been regarded as a force for both good and evil. A Christian myth considers that after Satan left the Garden of Eden, garlic arose in his left footprint, and onion in the right.[37] In Europe, many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic, perhaps owing to its reputation as a potent preventative medicine.[38] Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires.[38] To ward off vampires, garlic could be worn, hung in windows or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes.[39]

I heard that vampires are supposed to be hypersensitive to strong smells; and garlic, having a strong aroma, would ward them off.

Ask Illuminataprimus.

In parts of Europe, garlic is regarded as a health food. It was seen much the way a glass of orange juice or a bowl of chicken soup is today only moreso. Garlic prevented illness. It cured illness. It ensured fertility. A big bowl of garlic soup was supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Garlic, in short, was a potent force and symbol for life and health.

The vampire on the other hand, was a symbol of death and disease. Think not of the modern vampire. Think instead of Stoker’s Dracula- a foul, bloated tick, or of Murnau’s Nosferatu-a being whose very presence brings the plague.

So garlic is the power of life and health warding off disease and death.

Apart from the sensitive vampire being put off by smelly breath isn’t garlic supposed to thin the blood or something?

So to Dracula it would be like drinking watered down beer

Again, the classic vampire was a rotting corpse with breath like putrescent blood. They would be hard pressed to notice the smell of garlic above their own charnel stench and certainly weren’t put off by bad smells.

In the Spanish version of the 1931 Dracula movie, it isn’t garlic, but an herb whose name escapes me right now.

That could make life difficult if you’re being chased by one and rush into a late night greengrocers…

Quick! for gods sake give me some …hold on a minute …you know what I mean that herb that AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGG

Exactly! But on the bright side, I could ask him for that herb that keeps away vampires. A competent greengrocer would surely know.

Damn, I don’t want to have to rent the movie again just to find out. And Wikipedia lies and says that it’s garlic.

I just remembered. It’s acónito. Aconite in English. And Aconite can be one of several different plants, so go figure.

IIRC Aconite can be, interestingly enough, wolfsbane.

What was the lowly but boonful herb in LOTR that cured Eowyn from the bane of the Nazgul king? I bet that would work good against vampires too.

Kingsfoil, I believe it was called. Might be a bit hard to find a grocery store that keeps it in stock, though.

Doesn’t garlic thin the blood, similar to aspirin? Maybe they figured that vampires wouldn’t want to drink thin blood. (Who likes watered down drinks?)

It’s very simple. European folklore saw garlic as a medicinal herb. In other words, magic. Garlic could ward off sickness. It could also ward off pests. In European folklore vampires weren’t suave immortal hipsters, they were more similar to our modern conception of zombies…rotting corpses that claw their way out of the grave to drink the blood of the living in order to preserve their un-life. So magical herbs that could protect against vermin and insects could also protect against ghosts and goblins and ghouls evil spirits and vampires.

If you’re thinking of wolf’s-bane, the herbs amica or aconitum (or the Spanish word for them), it’s also used in the Lugosi one and, I think, in the Stoker book.

garlic=potent=life/strength/fertility, etc.
Vampires, not so much. Dichotomy ensues.

Since we seem to be engaging in fanciful speculation as much as factual answering:

Garlic is widely regarded as a natural mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes emerge after sunset to drink the blood of humans. Vampires emerge after sunset to drink the blood of humans. Therefore…

So I guess spraying with OFF or lighting a few citronelle candles will keep the vamps away!

I’ve always found that a female companion acts as a decoy :smiley: