Garlic: you either hate it, or you simply love it.
We are sure that you ate it more than once in your life, but did you know this fantastic vegetable can do more than add taste to your dishes? The main reason it spread worldwide is for its medicinal properties.
Let’s take a journey through time and around the world together to discover more!
From where does garlic come?
Garlic is originally from Central Asia, where it is still growing wild.
It is easy to cultivate in most of the climates, and easy to carry around once dried. It is no surprise that every ancient population started to grow garlic as soon as they were introduced to it.
According to Jethro Kloss’s book Back to Eden, “for nearly as long as there has been a written record of history, garlic has been mentioned as a food.” However, men were likely using the “magic bulb” way before he could write about it.
Ancient Egyptians were already aware of its properties. They used it to prevent any disease and to gain strength.
In ancient India, the text of Charaka-Samhita recommends garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis. Some later books suggest its use for infections, infestations and worms, weakness and fatigue, and a variety of digestive disturbances.
Chinese were using it as a food preservative, as well as for treating sadness and depression or aiding respiration and digestion.
Ancient Greeks used it to increase energy and work capacity; therefore, athletes and warriors were avid consumers. However, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, advised using it to cure asthma, treat dog bites and wounds, and repel scorpions.
In ancient Rome, just like in Greece, athletes, warriors, and sailors ate it to improve their toughness. Moreover, Pliny the Elder wrote five volumes of Historica Naturalis, where he listed 23 different garlic uses.
Thanks to the Romans, the use of the “magic vegetable” spread throughout Europe. Monks used to grow it in Monasteries and teach about its therapeutic properties, adding it to the other plants already in use.
Its medicinal use became more extensive from the Middle Ages: digestive disorders, kidney stones, constipation relief, toothache, cold, and flu. It was considered of great aid during the Plague and to repel evil spirits too.
It reached the New Word with the European sailors, who extensively used it to ward off disease and increase their toughness.
So here are some fun facts about this wonderful vegetable!
- Archeologists found perfectly preserved garlic in Tutankhamun’s tomb, who ruled from 1334 BC to 1325 BC.
- Garlic is a blood purifier. As often used to get rid of parasites, “necklaces” of garlic were commonly found from ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages. This custom might be the origin of the legend about how to ward off vampires, as they were considered vile as parasites.
- In 2016, worldwide garlic production reached over 21 million tons with China as an absolute leader, followed by India and Bangladesh.
- One clove of garlic contains Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Selenium. No wonder it can help with hair loss and keeping your skin young.
- How to get rid of garlic breath? Drink milk before a meal or chew fresh parsley or mint. Eating a raw apple or drinking lemon juice may also help.
- In the Middle Ages during the Plague, doctors used to wear a face mask that was soaked in garlic juice to protect themselves from catching any disease.
- The fear of garlic is called alliumphobia.
Contemporary researchers confirm the majority of what common beliefs used to be, in the past generations all over the world, and add new benefits to the list.
Did you know that a little clove of garlic could be so powerful for you, on top of being extremely tasty?
Although it can be tremendously beneficial to add to your diet, we strongly recommend you checking with your doctor before doing so. Never underestimate the power of plants!
Can you guess which dishes on our menu have garlic?