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SPICE OF THE MONTH: Garlic

 GARLIC:


Garlic is a member of the lily (Liliaceae) family and thus it is related to onions, leeks, chives, and shallots. Garlic is a root crop. The edible bulb grows underground. Crops are harvested between July and August. The garlic plants are hung in sheds to dry before reaching their prime. Garlic is a very hearty plant, capable of growing in poor soil in harsh climates with little or no care.

History

Garlic has been cultivated by humans since the beginning of recorded time. Archaeologists have found evidence for garlic in Egyptian tombs dating back to 3750 BCE. It is believed that slaves in Egypt were given Garlic as part of their daily food ration.
 
Moving forward in time, Aristotele mentions the value of garlic and Aristophanes recommends garlic as a treatment for impotence. The great Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder in his “Historia Naturalis” prescribes garlic for a great number of ailments. There is mention of garlic in the Bible: “….We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” The Vikings and Phoenicians put Garlic in their sea-chests before starting long voyages.
 
The use of garlic as as food and antidote for various illnesses covers all corners of the globe. There are records for garlic medical uses in Korea, India, and China. “In Gojoseon, where the founding myth of Korea is recorded, there is a story of a tiger and a bear who wanted to reincarnate in human form and who ate wormwood and garlic. In Jewang Ungi, which was written around the time of Samguk Yusa, wormwood and garlic are described as ‘eatable medicine’, showing that, even in times when incantatory medicine was the mainstream, medicinal herbs were given as curatives in Korea.”
ORIGIN
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is believed to have originated in Central Asia. A different view places its origin in the desert of western Siberia. Today it is cultivated just about anywhere in the world.

HEALTHY WAY TO EAT.
It is an integral part of most Asian dishes. Mix one or two cloves of garlic, basil with tomato to make a healthy marinara. Long touted for its heart healthy benefits, garlic may also fight brain cancer. A study in 2007 journal noted that garlic compounds eliminated brain cancer cells. Please check with your Doctor.

Benefits
1. Fights infections
2. Contains cancer-preventing chemicals
3. Thins the blood
4. Reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides
5. Stimulates the immune system
6. Prevents and relieves chronic bronchitis
7. Acts as an expectorants

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