Garlic: it's not just for pasta (and vampires) anymore. Today, scientists as well as chefs recognize garlic as a rather startling source of curative powers. Whether you love it (most people do) or hate it (there are a few), garlic is cheap to acquire and useful in a number of ways. Learn what the garlic in your cupboard can do for you

1. Repel bugs

Aphids in the tomato patch? Ants on the windowsill again? Mosquitos biting away on your itchy bare skin? As it turns out, pests prefer garlic-free living and dining quarters. There are several ways to use garlic to repel pests.

  • Household pests: Cut into a raw garlic clove. Rub the juicy side down across the path of household pests and watch them divert themselves naturally.
  • Garden pests: Crush up a few raw garlic cloves and let the essence seep into a couple tablespoons of mineral oil. Strain out the pulp, then spray the oil over affected garden plants.
  • Mosquitos: Follow the instructions in option two, but add a teaspoon or two of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a cup or two of water. Mix, then spray on your skin and watch mosquitos flee.

Note: While some brands of pet food and products may contain dehydrated garlic, which can work as a natural pest repellant, and some animal owners rub essence of garlic on fur to repel fleas, ticks and other pests, do not feed your pet fresh garlic. This is dangerous and can be toxic or even fatal!

2. Heal skin

Whether your particular malady is acne, cold sores, or fungal/bacterial ailments (such as athlete's foot), garlic can come to your aid at a much lower price tag than a doctor might charge.

  • Acne & cold sores: For acne and cold sores, cut open a garlic clove and rub it, juice-side down, over the lesion or pimple. Repeat as needed.
  • Bacterial issues: For fungal and bacterial issues, infuse warm water with raw garlic juice, then soak the affected area. Repeat as needed.

3. Help with home projects

Garlic juice can be surprisingly sticky, and can act as a light bonding agent for mild cracks, a naturally effective disinfectant, and even a natural de-icer for wintery conditions.

  • Seal cracks: Cut open a garlic clove, then rub it—juice-side down—across a hairline crack in glass. Let the liquid seep in and seal up the crack.
  • Melt ice: Mix garlic juice with salt to make garlic salt. Sprinkle the salt on windshields, driveways, walkways, and anywhere else ice can make walking or driving unsafe.
  • Disinfect: Mix garlic juice with vinegar, lemon juice, and water to make an all-natural disinfectant spray for household use.

4. Improve health and boost your immune system

Whether you chew it, drink it, inhale it, or rub it on skin, garlic has natural immune-boosting powers. Doctors often recommend garlic to patients for its antioxidant, antibiotic, cholesterol and blood-pressure-reducing properties as well. (Some even believe garlic is an aphrodisiac!)

  • Eat it raw: Add it to your meals—eating just 1-3 cloves per day can help keep colds and allergies at bay.
  • Make a tea: Mince or press a garlic clove, then steep in hot water. Drink it as a tea to ease sore throats, coughs and congestion.
  • Create steam: Add a garlic clove or juice to hot water and inhale as steam to ease sore throats, coughs and congestion.
  • Make a syrup: Add ginger and/or honey to the mixture from #2 and make a natural cough syrup that’s more palatable—and packs more of a pain-easing punch.

5. Catch fish

Oh, yes. Fish find garlic nearly irresistible—especially trout and bass.

  • What to do: Find a small item (many fishing enthusiasts like mini marshmallows) and roll them in crushed garlic or garlic powder. Then put them on the end of your lure or hook and watch the fish gather.

6. Lose weight

Researchers have uncovered evidence that garlic contains appetite suppressant properties. Adding garlic to meals or taking garlic pills can be an aid in portion control as well as increased feelings of satiety.

  • What to do: Try to add some fresh, raw garlic to every meal, or if you’re unable or unwilling to eat raw garlic, try a supplement that contains garlic powder or extract. You can even try sniffing garlic-infused essential oil to see if that helps.