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Why Do Vampires Hate Garlic?

We have all heard the myth before, that vampire can’t stand garlic whatsoever. To use garlic on a vampire would make them run away in disgust. It’s a classic method of protection and an item that any sane vampire hunter has on them. But where in the world did that legend come from? Out of all the herbs why is it the pungent garlic that does the trick? Well let me full you in on where this old legend comes from.

Garlic originally got its good reputation from ancient Egypt. Back then it was believed that garlic held incredible healing powers. From Egypt it spread and developed more uses and powers. It was known not only for healing but also protection against the plague and supernatural evils. In southern Slavic regions in was used to protect oneself from demonic forces, witches and sorcerers.  The Christian St. Andrew was said to be the donor of garlic to humanity.

Garlic used against vampire was big in southern Slavic countries and Romania as well. It was used to find vampires and to prevent vampires. A vampire in hiding could be spotted by not being willing to eat garlic. In the 1970s , a Romanian church distributed garlic during service, observing those who refused to eat it and figuring out if the person was a vampire. Crazy that this happened only 30 or so years ago right?

To prevent someone from being turned into a vampire it was common to stuff cloves of garlic in the corpse’s nose, mouth and ears to keep out all evil. It was also smeared over the eyes. Also, once they killed a vampire and cut off its head they would then fill its mouth with garlic to keep it from returning.

It wasn’t just the Slavic areas that used garlic. In China and Malaysia it was rubbed on children’s foreheads to prevent vampire attack. In the Philippines it was rubbed under the armpits. Damn, can you imagine how badly they smelled?  And of course many countries simply hung garlic from their doors to ward off vamps.

When it comes to vampires and garlic now, most authors choose to have their vampire characters unaffected by garlic. But in some books/movies vampires don’t like garlic, but it is simply because they have a heightened sense of smell and the stuff reeks. One author that did use garlic as protection was the famous Bram Stoker in Dracula. That there is how vampires and garlic became so popular and well known.

I’ll end this post with a quote from Dracula, the scene in which Van Helsing protects Lucy from the Count by placing garlic around her…

We went into the room, taking the [garlic] with us. The Professor’s actions were certainly odd and not to be found in any pharmacopeia that I ever heard of. First he fastened up the windows and latched them securely. Next, taking a handful of the flowers, he rubbed them all over the sashes, as though to ensure that every whiff of air that might get in would be laden with the garlic smell. Then with the wisp he rubbed all over the jamb of the door, above, below, and at each side, and round the fireplace in the same way.
It all seemed grotesque to me, and presently I said, “Well, Professor, I know you always have a reason for what you do, but this certainly puzzles me. It is well we have no sceptic here, or he would say that you were working some spell to keep out an evil spirit.”
“Perhaps I am!” He answered quietly as he began to make the wreath which Lucy was to wear round her neck.

– Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).
garlicgarlic as vampire repellantvampire historyvampire lorevampire protection

Moonlight • October 24, 2009

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  • vamped up 918

    omggggggggggggggg these ppl need to get a life!!!!! seriously! who gives a fuck if vampires hate garlic!??????? just asking.

    • Neraven

      Plenty of people obviously xD

    • Lucy

      It’s a discussion in my science class…

  • Chris

    And you my friend obviously need to stop responding to websites that you find oh so uninteresting.
    I’m afraid to say that no one gives a fuck if you didn’t enjoy the article.

    • Vladimir Dracula

      Well said

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  • David

    Wow!!!! Reading the comments on here….I didn’t except so much negativity and hostility. It’s just garlic, guys. Garlic in the face of one of the worst evils imaginable, And may I add one that doesn’t exist at that….unless you are insane!!!!!! I going to add some information I had on garlic and vampires, but I’m pretty sure Moonlight covered it all. No, I am of the minority that thinks that garlic as poison to vampires makes sense…..and I actually like the idea. Just take a look at what they do with it in all the Blade films. So…the next time the undead come knocking (without an invitation that is) throw your spice rack at them!

  • David

    My apologies for spelling errors.

  • David

    Apperently my comment wasn’t accepted. I just said to cool it about the whole garlic thing and that I liked the ideal.

  • Beth

    Well, I’m not a vampire, and despite my geektastic love of all things mythology, vampires are a difficult species to learn about. Very elusive and whatnot. Ahem. So, I do have heightened senses and I personally would say that if vampires really DO hate garlic, it would be because of that. Taste is mostly smell, you know, and vampires do have a strong sense of smell.

    • anonymous

      Vampires are difficult to learn about because they aren’t REAL. the closest to vampires are vampire bats,vampire fish, and others, but there is no reanimated corpse vampire humans. I wish people would wake up and stop liking fake monsters.

      • Ash

        Excuse me I’m a vampire I have fangs and I love blood and I don’t mind garlic so stop being jealous

      • Ana Massien

        I should not even bother with this response. The definition of the vampire is from the middle ages, people “died, then woke back up” due to the medical community not understanding that people fainted and then of course would wake back up.
        They would have a funeral and then bury them and here it is two days later and they’d get back up and come back into town.

        Of course, you also have to realize embalming the body was not something done at that time, so if someone had a sickness and the relatives thought they had died and buried the body, and up he rose later, it sounds like medieval vampire tales.

        However, Vampires are Real, even if they are not like these story counterparts. Technically “vampire” is probably not the right word or term to call these wary spiritual beings, or entities. Of course, I would never call myself Sanguine either.

  • lucid vamp liz

    Well, I’m a vampire (tantric & psi feeder primarily) and I happen to move garlic. But raw onions? Automatic gag reflex.

  • lucid vamp liz

    I have excellent hearing (which makes having obnoxious neighbors that much more irritating) and a good palate but garlic isn’t off putting for me at all. In fact, it tastes kinda sweet to me. So does beef liver. But I cannot tolerate raw onions at all & burning sage gives me a sinus headache.

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  • Ana

    I have actually found that psychic vampires and dark spirits don’t like garlic! It’s a great protector… I was sort of sceptical but ready to try anything when living in a haunted place for months and dealing with a treacherous spirit. One night I ate a few cloves of garlic and slept with a bulb under my pillow.. I think I communicated with the ‘spirit of the garlic’ or and it kind of encapsulated me within an energy field that was dense and layered, and looked kind of like an onion. It was so dense and protective that nothing bothered me that night. It didn’t last forever, but was a big help…worth a try if you have these problems. Pray with and love the garlic :) It doesn’t work great on more powerful psychic vampires/evil entities that will feed on you. There are different types you know…

  • Lucid vamp Liz

    Ana there have been many posts in the FB vampire groups regarding the garlic myth, and there are many of us who love garlic, some who hate it, some who love onions, some who hate them. I think it comes down to an individual’s palate, and has nothing at all to do with our spiritual condition of vampirism.
    I am friends with many darker spirited folk and they don’t all hate garlic either. I know of an angel who loves onion and hates garlic.
    The only thing I’ve seen disliked more consistently is sage for smudging.

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  • A.V.H.

    In some lore, Garlic acts as a barrier. They’d rub garlic juice into keyholes and doorways and chimneys to keep the vampires from crossing.

    • Anthony

      Garlic is Yummy! especially fresh garlic it tastes great if you cook it with chicken it is just as spicy as peppers!!!

  • vvbbnv

    you gus suck


    I love vampires but i never really liked the who garlic thing!! and what is with the comment below?? WEIRD!

  • Natalie Shannon

    Actually vampires hate anything that has a strong smell. They have a very intense sense of smell Anything from cinnamon, to raspberry air freshener will upset a vampire. Know what really bothers a vampire and will make him ill and go crazy? A skunk. (that would be funny for a vamp hunter to carry, a live skunk! or bottle the smell of a skunk)

  • Natalie Shannon

    Know what spice or seasoning is deadly to a vampire? Salt! Vampires hate it. If you pour salt on your body, (neck) if a vampire bites you, he will spit you out! My great grandma insisted everybody in her family pour salt on themselves or take a bath in salt water if went out at night. Also if you make a vampire drink salt water or make him eat food with a lot of salt, he will become very ill. Think about it, a vampire needs blood and salt messes with blood pressure and other things related to blood. A main complaint of vampires about their donors is the amount of salt in the diet.

  • Natalie Shannon

    Salt is also used as a barrier against supernatural forces. Stand in a circle of salt and a demon can’t attack you. Pour salt outside your door and nothing can get in.

    • Ana Massien

      Unless they are a good entity and not bothered by salt. Demons aren’t real.

  • Natalie Shannon

    Garlic has become overused. Vampires have built up a tolerance to it. Some even ingest small amounts. It is best to have a very strong smelling substance that the vampire won’t expect. Have a skunk spray your door and the vampires will stay miles away.(I lived across the hall from vampires and a skunk got in the apartment front door and sprayed the steps. The two vampires vomited, choked and one of them passed out! Me and my kids were bothered, but we did not get sick. The vampires hurried up and left and stayed at a motel for 5 days until the smell was gone.)

  • Ana Massien

    Negative vampires (aka wet blankets, psivamps, psyvampyres) do not like the smell of garlic from the skin of the person they feed on because it burns their nose (not like literally with flame) but when onion, or other veggies are eaten by people, some people smell like what they’ve ate. This is why some vampires don’t like garlic, as it also purifies the blood, it can also land a person on the toilet for a while after they have consumed garlic-y food. It’s a bit like burning sage in a room as well. I love garlic bread tho as well as garlic pasta.

  • Phoenix

    This is ignorance. FARRRR from the truth. None of you are actually REAL “Vampires” probably anyways. It is so sad to know how our name is blasphemed and misconstrued by pop-fic fans and people wanting to feel special. Stop pretending to be something that others actually are, and have worked hard for, even causing them to lose family members and friends. It’s not cool. It’s a fucking curse. A forever unquenchable thirst.

    • Ana Massien

      You can’t feed on energy? *grin*

  • Janiy the vampire

    me too