Garlic


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My favorite vegetable… allium sativum (Garlic). I use it in literally ever dish, good thing I’m not a Vampyre.

Garlic is an individual form of onion, characterized by its distinctive smell and flavor. It is thought to originated in Central Asia, but it can no longer be found in the wild. Even in cultivation it has ceased to set seed, and existing cultivars are thought to be old.

The main differences in the vast variety of garlic are taste and pungency. The skins are usually white, but can be tinged with purple. The only other differences are the size and number of cloves, hardiness and storage qualities. Garden grown garlic is often bigger and more pungent than purchased bulbs.

Most seed merchants sell one or two varieties, sometimes listed as “garlic bulbs.” It is possible to plant bulbs, but sometimes they have been “treated” and fail to grow.

Nutritional highlights:

Calorie for calorie, garlic is incredibly nutritious.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic contains (3):

Manganese: 23% of the RDA.
Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA.
Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA.
Selenium: 6% of the RDA.
Fiber: 1 gram.
Decent amounts of Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron and Vitamin B1.
Garlic also contains trace amounts of various other nutrients. In fact, it contains a little bit of almost everything we need (1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs).

Medicinal uses for garlic

Garlic has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that fight a variety of ailments. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. It is also an antioxidant and an immune stimulant.

Garlic has been used to help combat cardiovascular disease. It may decrease and prevent atherosclerosis by inhibiting the stickiness of platelets and blood clot formation, and by lowering cholesterol. Garlic decreases cholesterol and thins the blood flowing through already narrowed vessels. It’s this action that may lower the incidence of strokes or heart attacks in people who eat garlic daily. A word of caution to those taking daily aspirin or anti-coagulants: Because garlic can increase clotting times, do not add too much garlic to your diet.

Garlic may also decrease triglyceride levels while raising good cholesterol levels known as HDL. Again, there are both positive and negative studies regarding garlic’s influence on the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL.

There are conflicting studies regarding the issue of garlic’s effects on blood sugar levels.

Garlic is known to be antibacterial, and was even studied by Louis Pasteur in 1858. In an experiment he placed cloves of garlic in a petri dish of bacteria and later noted that the bacteria were killed in the areas surrounding the garlic. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antibiotic alternative for many bacterial infections and will not lead to “super bugs” like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Before antibiotics were readily available, wound care for victims during both World Wars included the use of garlic application. Garlic is still effective for the treatment of lacerations and cuts, and infected wounds.

The effect of garlic on fungal infections is possibly even stronger than against bacteria. Extracts of garlic have a strong suppressive effect on fungi in the soil. Yeast infections in humans, such as Monilia, are also eliminated or greatly reduced. This makes garlic especially useful to the healer since there are fewer antifungal alternatives than antibacterial. There is also a lack of significant side effects.

Unlike most herbs, studies have shown garlic to have a direct effectiveness against viruses. There are no known antibiotics that will destroy a viral infection. Colds and influenzas can cause miserable symptoms, and some flu cases can be fatal. Garlic probably works in a two-pronged attack on viruses, both directly and by stimulating your own immune defenses to fight harder. Ingesting fresh garlic may decrease the duration of a viral illness. It is thought that taking garlic before exposure to a virus will lessen your chance of getting the infection in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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