Can garlic cure bleeding canker?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

English Heritage is testing a potential cure for ‘bleeding canker’, a fatal disease that strikes horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) and for which, so far, there is no known cure.

The treatment, which has already been tested in Holland, involves allicin, an extract of garlic that is know for its antibacterial properties. The chemical spreads throughout the tree, and gives off a strong garlic smell which has the added bonus of repelling the horse chestnut leaf-mining moth.

This could mean that, in using allicin, in other words garlic “acid”, two birds might be killed with one stone, so to speak.

A treatment is urgently needed; the Forestry Commission estimates that up to 3,000 horse chestnuts with bleeding canker have had to be felled for public safety reasons.

In pubic parks, many who have been known for their magnificent horse chestnuts, this is very much an issue and alone in one park known to me many of them have had to be felled in the last year simply for the reason that they were beginning to pose a hazard as to falling branches and such.

© 2009