Garlic: Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, has been used
throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
is obtained from the bulb of the plant allium sativum. It is used as a
flavouring agent for cooking, but also has medicinal properties. It
has enjoyed a reputation as a miracle healer. Garlic when consumed,
one-half to one clove per day, reduces total serum cholesterol by 9%. In a
German study published on Atherosclerosis subjects who consumed garlic
everyday had upto 18% less plaque in their arteries.
Garlic had been in use before the antibiotic era in the treatment of
bronchitis, brochiedasis and lung abscess. Garlic juice diluted with water
has sometimes been used as lotion for cleaning septic wounds.
Garlic inhibits platelet aggregation. Clotting time and fibrinolytic
activity are considerably delayed after eating raw garlic. Garlic is said to reduce the size of tumours.
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates.
While sexual propagation of garlic is
indeed possible, nearly all of the
garlic in cultivation is propagated asexually, by planting individual
cloves in the ground. In cold climates, cloves are planted in the fall,
about six weeks before the soil freezes, and harvested in late spring.
Garlic plants are usually very hardy, and are not attacked by many pests
or diseases. Garlic plants are said to repel rabbits and moles. Two of the
major pathogens that attack garlic are nematodes and white rot disease,
which remain in the soil indefinitely once the ground has become infected.
Garlic also can suffer from pink root, a typically nonfatal disease that
stunts the roots and turns them pink or red.
Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a
seasoning or condiment.
The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant.
With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally
divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are
used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have
a characteristic pungent, spicy flavour that mellows and sweetens
considerably with cooking.
Other parts of the garlic plant are also edible. The leaves and flowers
(bulbils) on the head (Spathe) are sometimes eaten. They are milder in
flavor than the bulbs, and are most often consumed while immature and
still tender. Immature garlic is sometimes pulled, rather like a scallion,
and sold as "green garlic". When green garlic is allowed to grow past the
"scallion" stage, but not permitted to fully mature, it may produce a
garlic "round", a bulb like a boiling onion, but not separated into cloves
like a mature bulb. Additionally, the immature flower stalks (scapes) of
the hard neck and elephant types are sometimes marketed for uses similar
to asparagus in stir-fries.
Inedible or rarely eaten parts of the garlic plant include the "skin"
and root cluster. The papery, protective layers of "skin" over various
parts of the plant are generally discarded during preparation for most
culinary uses. The root cluster attached to the basal plate of the bulb is
the only part not typically considered palatable in any form.
Garlic is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various
regions, including Eastern and Southern Asia, Middle East, Northern
Africa, Southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America. The
flavour varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods.
It is often paired with onion, tomato and ginger.
Garlic may be applied to breads to create a variety of classic dishes,
such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini and canape.
Oils can be flavored with garlic cloves. These infused oils are used to
season all categories of vegetables, meats, breads and pasta.
In some cuisines, the young bulbs are pickled for three to six weeks in
a mixture of sugar, salt, and spices. In Eastern Europe, the shoots are
pickled and eaten as an appetizer.
Garlic powder has a different taste from fresh garlic. If used as a
substitute for fresh garlic, 1/8 tsp. of garlic powder is equivalent to
one clove of garlic.
Medicinal use and health benefits:
Garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal
activity. Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including
atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.
Garlic is used to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and
colon cancers. In fact, countries where garlic is consumed in higher
amounts, because of traditional cuisine, have been found to have a lower
prevalence of cancer. The known vasodilative effect of garlic is possibly
caused by catabolism of garlic-derived polysulfides to hydrogen sulfide in
red blood cells (RBCs), a reaction that is dependent on reduced thiols in
or on the RBC membrane. Hydrogen sulfide is an endogenous cardio
protective vascular cell-signaling molecule. Garlic has been found to
reduce platelet aggregation and hyperlipidemia.
Allium sativum may have other beneficial properties, such as preventing
and fighting the common cold. This assertion has the backing of long
tradition in herbal medicine, which has used garlic for hoarseness and
coughs. Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts
lower blood homocysteine levels and has been shown to prevent some
complications of diabetes mellitus. People taking insulin should not
consume medicinal amounts of garlic without consulting a physician.
Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest
problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections. Garlic can be used
as a disinfectant because of its bacteriostatic and bactericidal
properties. Garlic has been used reasonably successfully in AIDS patients
to treat some fungal and protozoan disease.
Garlic has been found to enhance thiamin absorption, and therefore
reduces the likelihood for developing the thiamin deficiency beriberi. It
is found to be an effective way to prevent scurvy, because of its high
vitamin C content.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz):
• Energy - 623 kJ (149 kcal)
• Carbohydrates - 33.06 g
• Sugars - 1.00g
• Dietary fiber - 2.1 g
• Fat - 0.5 g
• Protein - 6.39 g –
• Beta-carotene - 5 μg (0%)
• Thiamine (Vit. B1) - 0.2 mg (17%)
• Riboflavin (Vit. B2) - 0.11 mg (9%)
• Niacin (Vit. B3) - 0.7 mg (5%)
• Pantothenic acid (B5) - 0.596 mg (12%)
• Vitamin B6 - 1.235 mg (95%)
• Folate (Vit. B9) - 3 μg (1%)
• Vitamin C - 31.2 mg (38%)
• Calcium - 181 mg (18%)
• Iron - 1.7 mg (13%)
• Magnesium - 25 mg (7%)
• Phosphorus - 153 mg (22%)
• Potassium - 401 mg (9%)
• Sodium - 17 mg (1%)
• Zinc - 1.16 mg (12%)
• Manganese - 1.672 mg
• Selenium - 14.2 μg