Garlic and Family
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the onion family (Amaryllidaceae), classified in the same genus to which onion, chive, leek, and shallot belongs. Scholars agree that garlic has been used as a medicinal plant and food source for over 7000 years.
The Origin of Garlic
Biblical history references that garlic formed part of the daily diet of many Egyptians. It was fed particularly to the working class involved in heavy labor, as in the building of the pyramids (Moyers 1996).
Garlic was given to the laboring classes, presumably to maintain and increase their strength, as well as protect them from disease.
The latter makes garlic one of the most ancient of vegetables. According to Jethro Kloss’ book Back to Eden, “for nearly as long as there has been a written record of history, garlic has been mentioned as a food.”
Garlic nutritional value along with its extensive array of medicinal benefits made garlic one of the most valued plants in ancient times and probably the first to be cultivated.
Ancient Greece and Garlic
In ancient Greece, the Greeks also valued garlic, even though, those who had eaten garlic were forbidden entry into the temples. During the archeological excavations in the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete, garlic bulbs were discovered dating from 1850–1400 BC (Vanjkevic et al 2002).
Early Greek army leaders fed their army with garlic before major battles. It is an interesting fact that while nowadays some athletes take a wide spectrum of dangerous tranquilizers, Greek Olympic athletes eat garlic to ensure a good score (Gorunovic; 2001).
According to Theophrastus (370–285 BC), the Greeks offered gifts to their Gods consisting of garlic bulbs, which they used to lay on the main crossroads.
Please consult your family physician before initiating a garlic treatment regimen.
Orpheus referred to garlic as a remedy. In his works, Hippocrates (459–370 BC), the Father of Medicine (Tucakov 1948), mentioned garlic as a remedy against intestine remedy for colic relief (Vanjkevic et al; 2002), an anthelmintic, for regulating the menstruation cycle and against seasickness.
Pelagic V, 1970 also recommended garlic as a remedy against snakebite, for which purpose they drank a mixture of garlic and wine and against mad dog’s bite (for that purpose they applied garlic on the wound directly). Hence, the Greeks called garlic a snake grass, (Tucakov et al., 1971).
Garlic May Help Cure Diarrhea Intestinal Worms
In ancient China and Japan, garlic was prescribed to help digestion, cure diarrhea and rid the body of intestinal worms. It also was used to alleviate depression. In India, a medical text titled Charaka-Samhita, recommended garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis.
Garlic as Spice and Food
In Roman Empire, garlic and onion remained to be a remedy, spice and food for survival of the poor, while the wealthy people were increasingly using and finding pleasure in valuable medicinal plants with intense physiological effects, mostly delicate aromatic spices and aromas from all of the invaded territories in Africa and Asia.
Vergilius mentioned the usage of a squashed juice from garlic and wild thyme, and according to him, mowers should lubricate their body with this juice if they wanted to rest peacefully for they would not be bitten by a snake.
In the 1st AD century, Columel said that garlic was used as an aphrodisiac, and Celsius in the second century was using garlic to cure tuberculosis and fever (Tucakov 1948).
Galen (121–200 AD), the renowned medical writer and physician among Romans, and later among other nations, referred to as the father of galenic pharmacy, spoke of garlic as the most popular folk remedy that cured many diseases and named it a ‘rustic’s theriac’. Galen used garlic for regulation of the digestion and against colic (Tucakov et al., 1971).
Garlic Chemical Content
Garlic’s medicinal properties are thought to be due to sulfur-containing compounds called thiosulfinates.
One of them, allicin, is produced when a sulfur-containing amino acid called allicin comes in contact with the enzyme alliinase when raw garlic is minced, crushed, or chewed.
Since the enzyme alliinase is broken down by heat, cooked garlic is less effective medicinally than is fresh garlic. Do you need supply of Garlic?