is one of the most popular spices in the world. The subterranean reserve
structure derived from a leaf is the used plant part. It has a strong
and characteristic odour, which is markedly different in fresh and
fried state. The pungency of fresh garlic vanishes after cooking or
frying. The name garlic comes from the Anglo Saxon garleac in which
gar, a spear, refers to the pointed leaves and leac is a plant. Other
related words include Greek cha?, a shepherd's crook and maybe Sanskrit
hesah, a weapon.
origin of garlic is in Central Asia, but cultivated all over the world,
in Spain, France, Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary, USA, Mexico and Brazil.
It features in the mythology, religion and culture of many nations.
Arab legend has it that garlic grew from one of the devil's footprints
as he left the Garden of Eden. It is reported that in ancient Egypt,
the workers who had to build the great pyramids were fed their daily
share of garlic, and the Bible mentions garlic as a food the Hebrews
enjoyed during their sojourn in Egypt. In Europe, garlic has been
a common spice since the days of the Roman Empire, and it was extensively
used from India to East Asia even before the Europeans arrived there.
In Chinese mythology, garlic has been considered capable of warding
off the Evil Eye, the symbol of misfortune and ill fate. After the
Age of Exploration, its use spread rapidly to Africa and both Americas.
is a perennial of the lily family. It grows to a height of about 60
cm. It has short, flat upright leaves of 15 - 30 cm. The tall single
flower stem bears spherical head of pale pink or greenish-white blooms,
often mixed with tiny bulbils. The subterranean white-skinned bulb
or corn is subdivided into numerous 'cloves'.
is planted in autumn in rich soil 5-10 cm deep and harvested in summer
when foliage dies down. It is dried in sunlight or warmth and the
bulbs are closely packed and stored in a cool dry place, away from
contains a wealth of sulphur compounds; most important for the taste
is allicin (diallyl disulphide oxide), which is produced enzymatically
from alliin (S-2-propenyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide) if cells are damaged;
its biological function is to repel herbivorous animals. Allicin is
desactivated to diallyl disulphide; therefore, minced garlic changes
its aroma if not used immediately. In the essential oil from steam
destillation, diallyl disulphide (60%) is found besides diallyl trisulphide
(20%), diallyl sulfide, ajoene and minor amounts of other di- and
is used as a flavouring, vegetable and medicinal herb that has accumulated
superstitions over the centuries. Some cuisines like salads and sauces
are fond of raw garlic. In parts of Austria, salads are prepared with
vinegar, oil and squeezed garlic, and raw garlic appears in quite
a multitude of Mediterranean sauces.
grated garlic is served in liberal amounts to spring rolls and soups
in Northern Vietnam. Raw garlic may also be pickled in vinegar or
olive oil. Since some of garlic's aroma is extracted by the liquid,
pickled garlic is usually very mild. Herbal vinegar is commonly made
with one or two garlic cloves per liter vinegar. Usage of fried or
cooked garlic is, however, much more common. On heating, the pungency
and strong odour get lost and the aroma becomes more subtle and less
dominant, harmonizing perfectly with ginger, pepper, chillies and
many other spices. Therefore, it is an essential ingredient for nearly
every cuisine of the world. Garlic products include garlic butter,
pur? dried flakes and garlic salt.
known to the Ancients and probably cultivated and used as food and
medicine by them, it is likely that the uses of garlic are far more
ancient yet. Today, there is rapidly increasing world-wide interest
in garlic, and the number of scientific studies performed every year
is increasing exponentially. These studies have supported the idea
that the regular consumption of garlic can reduce blood pressure,
blood cholesterol levels, act as an inhibitor to the overgrowth of
pathogenic organisms in the body, such as Candida albicans, be useful
as a worm medicine, and have a number of other beneficial effects.
It aids digestion and prevent flatulence. It is considered to be beneficial
in the treatment of diabetes. Pharmaceutical preparations of garlic
are manufactured throughout Europe, some of them standardized to allicin,
one of its proven active constituents. In the U.S., garlic products
are extremely popular and are widely sold in natural food stores,
supermarkets, and pharmacies.
and other use
is also one of the few herbs that was and still is used in all three
great healing systems of the world--Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese
Medicine, and Traditional European Medicine. If one reviews the many
uses ascribed to garlic in all of these healing systems, as well as
the popular uses by the people of their respective cultures, one sees
remarkable similarities. For instance, it was considered a protective
plant against evil influences among the Hindus, Scandinavians, Greeks
and Germans, among others. In Traditional European Medicine, garlic
was an important food and medicine of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans,
Assyrians, and Egyptians. In Coptic medicine garlic macerated in oil
was prescribed for skin diseases and to be taken after birth, as it
was thought to stimulate milk production.
was known as mahoushudha in Sanskrit. The plant is well-known as a
food and medicine of the Hindus and is called rasona in the Raja Nirghanta.
Garlic, or Suan, was known to the ancient Chinese people from before