GARLIC is on the menu today, so sit down and take in its aroma. An added bonus for adding its flavorful distinction to your cooking is that it is really healthy for you.
Garlic is a member of the lily or Allium family which also includes onions, leeks, shallots, as well as rakkyō – the Japanese cousin to the onion. Llium sativum, is commonly known as garlic. It’s not surprising but garlic is affectionately referred to as the “the stinking rose”.
Garlic history shows that it has been used and cultivated for 5000-7000 years beginning with its native roots in central Asia. Ancient Egyptians were probably the first to cultivate this plant, along with historical evidence that the Babylonians used garlic 4500 years ago. Garlic was introduced into new cultures by migrating tribes and explorers and popularity in many regions throughout Mediterranean areas and eventually Europe and North America. Today South Korea, India, China, Spain, and the United States are the top commercial producers of garlic.
Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine’, wrote 2500 years ago a most likely description of garlic by stating that your food should be your medicine and your medicine your food.
Over the years garlic’s been used not only for medicinal purposes in healing heart disease, arthritis, fatigue, parasites, leprosy but also in culinary food dishes, and even to cover up the smell of certain perfumes. Garlic provides fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. In the early 1800’s, garlic was used as a stimulant, expectorant and tonic. It was Dr. John Gunn in the late 1800’s who specified garlic’s use as a diuretic and for treatment of worms. It is also used to aid in preventing and fighting colds.
Don’t shy away from using garlic. Even taking a garlic supplement can help reduce the accumulation of cholesterol on vascular walls in both humans and animals. Be aware of these cautions.
There are several things to be aware of regarding garlic. Garlic may interact with various medications such as warfarin, antiplatelets, antihypertensives, calcium channel blockers, and some antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin and hypoglycemic drugs. If you take any of these, please don’t eat garlic. Your doctor should give you a list of foods to avoid, so please follow your doctors guidelines.
Also, if you have any known allergies to garlic or other plants in the allium genus including onions, chives, leeks, shallots, garden lilies, ginger, and bananas, please stay clear of garlic as well. An allergic reaction is not to be taken lightly and certainly not fun to endure.