Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is used for centuries by ayurvedic doctors for its varying uses. It’s an herb that has an ushan virya properties i.e. the herb with hot potency. Garlic contains five rasas (except amal) that are important properties that make to play a major pharmacological role for health benefits.
What is garlic?
Garlic or Allium sativum is a bulging plant member of the lily family. It is very closely related to chives, onions, eschalots, French shallot, and scallions (various Allium species) garlic is part of the genus’s Allium, which is abundant in areas with mild conditions.
Word garlic came from the old English word “garleac” which means “spear leek,” the word garlic is gained. It is referred to as the long spear-shaped leaves of the herbs it may grow up to 60 cm in height.
As a root crop garlic plants leave shoots in the air while the bulb grows underground. This bulb can contain a maximum of twenty cloves. As the garlic plant matures, the leaves turn brown pointing the right time for harvest.
After harvest, the mud is removed, the bulbs then dried in the sun. After the garlic is dried properly, it is stored in a cool, dry place in a hung position. The bulb in the ground is covered with skin or parchment-like paper and is usually off-white.
Garlic is familiar with its magnificent aroma and pungent flavor. It is also known as the “stinking rose” due to the intense smell and the bulb-shaped like a rose. Certainly, a single clove of garlic can increase the flavor of dishes. However, garlic has numerous uses, that is why it is one of the most preferred ingredients in the kitchen.
The History Of Garlic & Its Uses
Garlic is credited to be first used as foodstuff’s essence and herbs over 6,000 years ago in Central Asia. It is believed that in prehistoric Egypt, the Egyptians worship garlic in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Researchers have found six clay models of garlic.
It is also believed that garlic played a crucial role in the establishment of the great pyramids of Egypt. The workers and slaves were given garlic to boost their strength and safeguard them from diseases throughout work. The ancient Romans and Greeks, also used garlic, which made them more courageous.
It is believed that the voyagers from Portugal, Spain, and France introduced garlic to the New World. In the Middle Ages, during the plague in Europe, many ate garlic daily to battle against the plague. Throughout World War I and World War II, garlic was used to prevent infection and gangrene for the injured soldiers due to the lack of penicillin.
i) Garlic In Roman Greek & Egyptian Era
Various ancient civilizations believed that garlic can increase strength and energy. It is also seen that Greek and Roman soldiers used garlic before and during battle. Slaves from ancient Egypt were also given garlic to increase their strength during the creation of the famous pyramids.
Researchers have found garlic clay models in the tomb of Tutankhamen. garlic was worshiped by the Egyptians long back. Folklore holds that the uses of garlic were different such as it was used to repel vampires and ward off evil spirits. The ancient Indians strongly believe that garlic is a booster who warms the body, cures different illnesses, and carries on life.
ii) Garlic in Europe
In entire history, different uses of garlic have been well known. Such as to safeguard and healing themselves from deadly diseases. The Europeans ate garlic every day during the years of plague in Europe. Throughout the great world wars, soldiers used garlic for productively treating the injuries.
As sufficient antibiotics were not available garlic was the best substitute. In 1958, the antiseptic properties of garlic were verified by Louis Pasteur. Raw garlic was verified to be a potent natural, antibiotic,anti-parasitic, antifungal, and antiviral in a lot of studies.
iii) Garlic Today
Nowadays, in Asia, garlic is one of the most leading bulb crops grown beside onion. Garlic is popularly used all over South Asia for food essence, food flavoring, pickles, and sauces. Garlic is cultivated in a huge amount in India and China. It has been reported that about 500,000 metric tonnes are harvested and produced in India alone.
Sulfur compounds such as allicin are found in garlic. It also has B6, vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, potassium, manganese, and calcium and manganese, which help to fight many kinds of bacteria and viruses in test tubes. It was also found that the garlic ingredient ajoene in a cream productively resolves the problem on an athlete’s foot, a fungus infection.
What are the benefits of garlic?
Besides cooking Garlic (Allium sativum), has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history; it has benefits due to the presence of the sulfur-containing compound, Allicin, found in fresh garlic. Below listed are some of the health benefits of eating raw garlic in empty stomach.
1. Avoid a heart attack
Since ancient times, garlic has been considered an ally of heart health. That’s because allicin, the compound that gives this vegetable its unique flavor, can reduce the chance of having a heart attack. To enjoy this benefit, you should eat raw and minced garlic instead of garlic supplements, powders, or capsules.
2. Protect your arteries
Several medical studies reveal that consuming raw garlic can help decrease the effects of atherosclerosis, that is, the hardening of the arteries. This is because garlic can cause arteries to narrow and remain flexible, a process that is lost with aging.
3. Fight hypertension
Garlic’s healing power is not limited to the heart and arteries, this miracle food is also effective in treating hypertension. Studies reveal that garlic can help lower blood pressure by up to 8%, thereby preventing a heart attack or stroke.
4. Reduce the cholesterol
While it doesn’t help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, studies reveal that raw garlic is very powerful when it comes to lowering total cholesterol. It also reduces triglyceride levels in the blood, according to studies by the Institute of Toxicology at Shandong University in China.
5. Avoid blood clots
Do you want to avoid blood clots? Be sure to include plenty of raw garlic in your diet. According to studies, garlic helps prevent platelets from sticking, strengthens blood vessels, and promotes good circulation. This is because garlic is rich in allicin (a compound released when garlic is cut) and vitamin B.
6. Prevents cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, increasing garlic consumption could prevent cancer of the colon, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, prostate, and breast. Some studies reveal that the risk of prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, in particular, can be reduced by up to 50% by increasing garlic consumption.
7. Your weapon against infections
Being antibacterial in nature, raw garlic can fight various skin infections, especially those caused by fungi, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. It can also prevent and treat intestinal infections. But be careful! Before using garlic as a home remedy consult your doctor.
8. Strengthens your immune system
If you hate getting sick, the solution is easy: eat more garlic. Whether in raw sauces like pesto and romaine or in vinaigrettes, eating raw garlic will strengthen your immune system. Your body will absorb the antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of garlic, as well as the minerals and vitamins necessary for a healthy body.
9. Could prevent arthritis
When chopped or minced, as I mentioned earlier, garlic releases allicin. This is the compound responsible for garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties that could reduce the likelihood of osteoarthritis, according to studies conducted by King’s College and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
10. Regulates glucose levels
If you have type 2 diabetes, do your best to add more raw garlic to your diet. Garlic contains properties that increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone secreted by the pancreas to facilitate the absorption of glucose in the blood, according to a study published in the journal BioMed Central.
Side Effects Of Garlic
§ Garlic has few disadvantages such as apart of garlic breath, there are other possible side effects, especially if used to excess. Raw garlic is very strong, so eating a lot could produce problems such as irritation or may even damage the digestive tract.
§ It is found those very few people that are allergic to garlic. Warnings of garlic allergy include skin rash, temperature, and pains in the head. Garlic could potentially disturb anti-coagulants, so it is advisable to be avoided before any surgery.
§ Record uses, and the latest research discoveries prove that garlic has powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties. Garlic is labeled these days as one of “nature’s wonder drug.”