THE MIRACLE OF GARLIC, by Dr Penny Stanway:
Explains how garlic can aid health, home and beauty.
Has original garlic-containing recipes
Is available as a book and an ebook.
Garlic is valued as a flavouring ingredient, food, and medicine. It belongs in the Alliaceae family, whose 750 species include onions, shallots, chives, leeks and ornamental alliums. The word ‘garlic’ originates from the Old English for ‘spear’ (‘gar’) and ‘leek’ (‘leac’). Its botanical name, Allium sativum, comes from the Greek for ‘avoid’ (presumably because of its smell) and ‘cultivated’. In English its many other names include prince of herbs, food of love, nectar of the gods, devil's posy, camphor of the poor, poor man’s treacle (‘treacle’ from the Latin ‘theriaca’, meaning ‘antidote to poison’ or ‘heal all’), onion stinker and stinking Jenny, lily or rose.
Today‘s garlic originated as a wild form in Central Asia more than 10,000 years ago. Over the centuries, this was cultivated and traded along the spice and silk routes to China, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Eventually it reached Africa, Europe, Australia and the Americas. Today, China produces more than 12 million tonnes (metric tons) a year, which is three-quarters of the global crop. Other top producers, in order of harvest-size, include India, South Korea, Egypt, Russia, the US (especially California), Spain, Argentina, Burma and Ukraine.
Garlic’s flavour is described as pungent, tangy, full, nutty, sweet and/or musky. It’s an ingredient of many dishes. In Korea and China the average traditional diet contains 8-12 cloves a day, while average consumption in the US is half to one clove a day.
From 4,000 BC, to the end of the 19th century, garlic was the world's most widely used medicinal plant. Today it remains a popular traditional remedy for many ailments. Garlic supplements are among the top-selling herbal supplements. And thousands of scientific studies have investigated how garlic can promote good health.
Garlic is also used in industry. Garlic oil (isolated by distilling garlic cloves with water) is in big demand because it contains compounds needed for the production of industrial chemicals called alkenes. Alkenes are used for making high-end lubricants, sealants for the glass industry, and binders used in solid propellants for rockets, as well as in the vulcanization of rubber.
Over the millennia, magical powers have been attributed to garlic and it’s been said to protect against vampires, werewolves, witches, sorcerers, demons and evil spirits! Even today some Greek midwives lay garlic in the delivery room to avert the ‘evil eye’ from the newborn baby, and in some countries people hang garlic outside their home to protect their family.