Botanical Name :: Allium salivum
Indian Name :: Lahasoon
The garlic, a garden vegetable of the onion family, has been cultivated from time immemorial. It has been variously described as a food, a herb, a medicinal plant, an antiseptic a beauty accessory and a magical antidote to evil by various people at different times throughout the ages.
Garlic is an important condiment crop. It is an erect biennial herb normally grown as an annual i.e. a plant that only lasts for an year. It has adventitious roots and condensed, flattened stem and narrow, flat leaves. The bulb consists of 6 to 35 bulb lets called cloves which are enclosed in a thin whitish, glistering and transparent covering.
Origin and Distribution
The garlic is believed to have originated in Central of Asia and was known to the Chinese as early as 3,000 BC. It continues to be one of the regular items of China’s diet even today. Garlic was being grown in ancient China, Egypt, Greece and Rome and was used both as a staple food and a medicine for several ailments. It spread to all parts of the world and is now widely grown in India, Philippines, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico.
Food Value of Garlic
Garlic has been held in high esteem for its health building qualities for centuries all over the world. Khnoum Khoufouf, the builder of one of the oldest pyramids, (4500 BC ) was among the first to recognize the true virtues of garlic for he decreed that all his workers should take garlic every day so that they could maintain their health and strength.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine (460-357 BC), who taught and practiced in ancient Athens, recommended the use of this vegetable in infectious diseases and particularly prescribed it in intestinal disorders.
An analysis of garlic shows it to contain high percentage of minerals and vitamins. It also contains traces of iodine, sulphur and chlorine.
Minerals and Vitamins
|Moisture – 62.0%||Calcium – 30 mg|
|Protein – 6.3%||Phosphorus – 310 mg|
|Fat – 0.1%||Iron – 1.3 mg|
|Vitamin C – 13 mg|
|Fibre – 0.8%||Small amount of Vitamin B Complex|
|Minerals – 1.0%||* Values per 100 gm’s edible portion|
|Carbohydrates – 29.8%||Calorific Value – 145|
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Garlic
In herbal medicine, garlic has been traditionally used for such ailments as asthma, deafness, leprosy, bronchial congestion, arteriosclerosis, fevers, worms and liver and gall bladder troubles. Babhet, an eminent Ayurvedic authority, is of the opinion that garlic is good for the heart, a food for the hair, a stimulant to appetite, a strengthening food, useful in leucoderma, leprosy, piles, worms, Catarrhal disorders, asthma and cough.
Clinical experiments in recently. times have confirmed several ancient ideas about healing’ value of this vegetable. These experiments have in fact shown much greater power of garlic than known previously The unpleasant odour in garlic, which constitutes its unpleasant feature and a serious social handicap, has been traced to its sulphur content. This mineral is contained to a greater degree in it’s volatile oil, which has marvelous therapeutic value. According to Dr. M.W. McDuffie of the Metropolitan Hospital, New York, “Garlic contains a volatile oil, called allyl sulphade, and its medical properties depend on this oil, strongly antiseptic, it seems to have a remarkable power of inhibiting the growth of the Koch’s bacillus, eliminated by the lungs, skin, kidneys and Liver, and oxidizes into sulphuric acid in the system. Applied locally, it is freely absorbed by the skin and penetrates the deeper tissues. Garlic gave us our best results, and would seem equally efficacious, no matter what part of the body affected, whether skin, bones, glands, lungs or special parts”.
Thus, garlic is regarded as a rejuvenetor.1t has been found to help remove toxins, revitalize the blood, stimulate blood circulation and normalize intestinal flora. Garlic juice has a most beneficial effect on the entire system. The ethers in garlic juice are so potent and penetrating that they help to dissolve accumulation of mucus in the sinus cavities, in the. bronchial tubes and in the lungs. They help the exudation of toxins from the body through the pores of the skin.
- Chest Diseases:- Garlic has proved to be highly effective in certain diseases of the chest. It has been found to reduce fetidity of the breath in pulmonary gangrene. Dr. McDuffie advocated the use of garlic in tuberculosis of the lungs, Dr. F. W. Crosman once said that if garlic were given in sufficient quantities, it was a marvelous remedy in the treatment of pneumonia. This physician used garlic for many years in pneumonia, and said that in no instance did it fail to bring down the temperature, as well as the pulse and respiration, within 48 hours. Garlic can also be applied externally to the chest with beneficial results as it is an irritant and rubefacient.
In Ayurveda, a decoction of garlic boiled in milk is considered a wonderful drug for tuberculosis. One gram of garlic, 240 ml of milk and 1 litre of water are boiled together till only one .fourth of the decoction remains. It should be taken thrice in the day.
- Asthma:- Three cloves of garlic boiled in milk, can be used every night with excellent results in asthma. A pod of garlic is peeled and macerated and boiled in 120m!. of pure malt-vinegar. After cooling it is strained and equal quantity of honey is mixed and preserved in a clean bottle. One or two teaspoons of this syrup taken with fenugreek decoction once in the evening and before retiring, has been found effective in reducing the severity of asthmatic attacks.
- Digestive System Disorders:- Garlic is one of the most beneficial foods for the digestive system. It exercises a beneficial effect on the lymph, aids in elimination of noxious waste matter in the body. It stimulates peristaltic action and the secretion of the digestive juices. Crushed cloves of garlic may be infused in water or milk and taken for all types of disorders of the digestion. It has an antiseptic effect and is an excellent remedy for infectious diseases and inflammations of the stomach and intestine. The oil of garlic is absorbed into the alimentary tract and is eliminated partly through the urine.
Garlic produces a very marked effects on the intestine. It is an excellent agent as a worm expeller. It has also a soothing effect on the various forms of diarrhea. Problems such as colitis, dysentery and many other intestinal upsets can be successfully treated with fresh garlic or garlic capsules One garlic capsule taken three times a day is usually sufficient to correct mild cases of diarrhea or dysentery. For more persistent cases, up to six capsules a day can be taken. Garlic has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria in the intestines without affecting the beneficial organisms which aid digestion.
- High Blood Pressure:- Garlic is regarded as one of the most effective remedies to lower blood pressure. The pressure and tension are reduced because it has the power to ease the spasm of the small arteries. It also slows the pulse and modifies the heart rhythm, besides relieving the symptoms of dizziness, shortness of breath and the formation of gas within the digestive track As these days garlic capsules are available with the chemist shops, the average dosage of two to three capsules a day to be given to make a dent in the blood pressure. Dr. F.G Piotrowski, working at the University of Geneva, used garlic on 100 patients suffering from abnormally high blood pressure. In about 40 per cent of the cases treated, there was a significant reduction in blood pressure within one week of the treatment. Dr. Piotrowski claimed that garlic had a dilatory effect on the blood vessels, that is, it had the effect of making the blood vessels wider, thereby reducing the pressure.
- Rheumatic Affliction:- In Russia garlic is used extensively in the treatment of rheumatism and associated diseases. In Britain also garlic is recommended to rheumatic sufferers. Recent experiments in Japan tested a garlic extract on patients with lumbago and arthritis and a large number of them were benefited without any undesirable side-effects Garlic has been shown to exhibit an anti-inflammatory property which could account for its effectiveness in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.
The most popular method is to take the garlic cloves orally, although some reports indicate that pain can also be relieved by locally rubbing the affected parts with cloves of cut garlic. Garlic oil is rapidly absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream and quickly reaches the affected areas.
- Heart Attacks:- In a recent study, a West German doctor claims that garlic may prevent heart attacks. Professor Hams Reuter of Cologne University says that there is proof that garlic helps break up cholesterol in the blood vessels, thus helping in the prevention of hardening of arthritis which leads to high blood pressure and heart attacks. If a patient takes garlic after a heart attack, the cholesterol level will come down. The earlier damage may not be repaired but its consumption will minimize the chances of new attacks.
- Cancer:- Garlic preparations, including extracts and juices, have been used successfully against cancer in both animal and human. studies, says Dr. Paavo Airola, a ‘naturopathic physician and nutritionist A study report tells of mice being infected with cancer cells, some of which were then treated with garlic extract and some were not The mice not given garlic died within ]6 days the other mice lived for six months. And recent studies done in Russia have found garlic preparations to retard tumor growth not only in animals, but also in human beings.
- Skin Disorders:- Garlic has also been used successfully for a variety of skin disorders Pimples disappear without scar when rubbed with raw garlic several times a day. Even very persistent form of acne, suffered by some adults, has also been healed with garlic. The external use of garlic helps to clear the skin of spots and pimple! and boils. The process is further helped by taking the garlic orally also, to purify the blood-steam so as to secure a long term clearance of the skin. A regular course of three garlic capsules per day should help to clear minor skin infections quickly.
- Wounds and Ulcers:- Garlic has been used as an antiseptic in wounds and ulcerations with beneficial results. Garlic juice with three parts of distilled water has been employed as a lotion for cleansing infected wounds. Definite improvement is noticed within 24 hours and substantial improvement within 48 hours.6 Application of dressing containing ]5 per cent garlic juice once a day over an ulcer removes pus in a few days. It also relieves pain within a short time. Russian physicians are making extensive use of garlic in the healing of wounds.
- Diphtheria:- Garlic is considered an excellent remedy for diphtheria. Its constant application by chewing a clove of garlic removes the membranes, reduces temperature and relieves the patient. About 30 or 60 gm’s. of garlic can be used in this way in three or four hours for a week After the membrane disappears. the same quantity of garlic should be chewed daily. The diphtheria patient has no taste or smell and merely finds the garlic hot.
- Whooping Cough:- Garlic is an excellent remedy for whooping cough. Syrup of garlic should be given in doses of five drops to a teaspoonful two or three times a day in this condition. It should be given more often if the coughing spells are frequent and violent.
- Sexual Debility :- Garlic is a natural and harmless aphrodisiac. Even Dr. Robinson, an eminent sexologist of America considers it so. It is a tonic ,for loss of sexual power from any cause, sexual debility. impotency from over indulgence in sex and nervous exhaustion from dissipating habit. It is said to be especially useful to old men of high nervous tension and diminishing sexual power.
Uses of Garlic
Garlic like onions, leeks, and various garden flower belongs to the plant of genus called Allium. Garlic is the most widely used of the cultivated alliums after onions. It is used both as a food and seasoning. it is, however, extensively used as flavoring and ,seasoning in the preparation of soups, sauces and pickles. In Spain and Italy it is used in combination with almost every food.