Garlic, also known as the ‘stinking rose,’ is a member of the lily family, along with onions, shallots, leeks and chives. It has a long and interesting history and has been used for both cooking and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
It is mentioned in the Chinese-Sanskrit writings, 3000 BC. Homer praised garlic. The Vikings packed it for their long sea voyages, and in the Middle Ages, it was used to fight off the plague. According to folklore, garlic possesses magical powers and is widely used in charms and spells to protect against evil.
And in modern times, a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that regular consumption of garlic may affect our bodies in a number of ways:
- destroy Candida albicans, a fungus responsible for yeast infections,
- inhibit bacteria,
- lower serum cholesterol,
- reduce systolic blood pressure,
- lower blood sugar levels, and
- fight the common cold.
A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat. – Old New York Yiddish Saying
The magic ingredient is Allicin, a sulphur bearing chemical in garlic that gives it its smell. When the cloves are crushed, cut, chewed, mashed or smashed, they release this compound, which destroys bacteria, fungus, and yeast. (Note: Allicin breaks down with cooking, so cooked garlic and “de-odorized” garlic may lack this chemical.)
Garlic also contains small amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E, and the minerals potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, and iron.
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good!” – Alice May Brock
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