Garlic is native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean area. It has been in cultivation for centuries.
Garlic is usually closely associated with the onion, probably because they both have a pungent taste and similar appearance. Surprisingly enough, however, garlic is a member of the lily family and has a very distinguished background.
Garlic is referred to in the Bible, and it was used by the early Egyptians for both cooking and embalming purposes. Homer and Herodotus also mentioned it in their writings. The ancient Romans believed garlic possessed magical powers, and they fed it to their soldiers to make them courageous. Europeans, especially the Italians and Spanish, have used it regularly for 2,000 years and more. The Spanish are believed to have brought garlic to the New World where it became an immediate favorite with the Indians. They liked it better than any of the other root or bulb crops from Europe.
Garlic is a bulbous-rooted perennial plant. The root is a compound bulb consisting of several smaller sections or cloves which are enveloped by a common skin or membrane. A garlic bulb has a Strong odor and an acrid flavor. It differs from the onion only by being more potent in its effects.
The medicinal qualities of garlic have been celebrated since earliest times. Pliny said it was a remedy for sixty-one ailments, while Aristotle, Dioscorides, and Sotion also sang its praises in their writings.
Garlic has been used as an attempted cure for dropsy, phrenitis, jaundice, scrofulous swellings of the neck, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and many other ailments.
Three important varieties of garlic are the Creole or American, the Italian or Mexican, and the Tahiti. The Creole, a white skin variety, is the strongest of the three. The Italian is noted for its many cloves and usually has a pink skin. The largest of these varieties is the Tahiti, which measures from two to three inches in diameter.
Good quality garlic is thoroughly dry with firm and wellshaped cloves. There is little difference in flavor between the white and red varieties.
Benefits of Garlic
Garlic has long been considered a medicinal plant. It is high in iodine and sulfur. The body converts garlic to alkaline ash in the process of digestion. It can be mixed with parsley and used in the treatment of high blood pressure, is a remedy for worms, and can be used as a pack on the throat for the treatment of goiter, because of its high iodine content. Garlic oil enemas are used to cleanse the bowel of pinworms. This enema is prepared by emptying the contents of two garlic oil capsules (after slitting them with a razor blade) into one pint of water.
Garlic has been used in cases of tuberculosis in a large sanitarium in Europe with great success. The patients at this sanitarium lived on garlic for a period of one to two months. It is believed that it has a favorable effect on the mucous membranes of the throat and the air passages of the lungs, and is extremely helpful in cases of asthma and hay fever.
Chopped garlic, steeped in a little peanut or soy oil ,makes an excellent pack for chest colds and bronchial or pulmonary infections. Garlic is an internal antiseptic, and contains a bacteriocide called crotonaldehyde. It has a stimulating effect on the sexual glands.
Nutrients in one pound
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