History of Garlic

BOTANICAL BACKGROUND

BOTANICAL BACKGROUND 728 485 Garlic Wise

As time moved on, the uses of garlic in medicine flourished and many great physicians and philosophers made reference to its benefits. Hippocrates, Homer, Aristotle, Pliny, Galen, Virgil and Mohammed all believed garlic to have many useful properties. The Greek and Roman armies, like the Egyptian workers, fed garlic to build strength competitions to build stamina and keep keep themselves free from illness. It was thought to be food fit for a god or goddess, and was placed ceremoniously on piles of stones at crossroads for the Greek goddess Hecate.

Ever since, garlic has been used by the dominant cultures around the world. Nowhere more so than in China, where garlic has always been used in both cooking and medicine. The Chineses call garlic “suan”. The fact that this is written as a single sign in such an ancient language indicates a very early cultural recognition. Traditionally, the Chinese used garlic as an aid to long life as it was known both as a “healing” and a “heating” herb, which helped the circulation and was believed to be beneficial in cases of tumors tuberculosis, coughs, colds infections and wound healing.

A HISTORY OF GARLIC CONTINUED

A HISTORY OF GARLIC CONTINUED 620 412 Garlic Wise

The Egyptians often left clay models of garlic in ordinary graves. However its powers seem to have been acknowledged at all levels of society for, during Howard Carter’s 1922 excavations, six carefully positioned bulbs were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb- probably to ward off evil spirits. Clearly the Egyptians were familiar with the power of garlic. According to records, they were renowned for growing large tonnages of grain from which enormous amounts of bread were baked- the staple part of an average diet in those days.

Unfortunately, this could often lead to problems with tooth decay. Milled flour often contained grains of silica from the sandstone mill wheels and this frequently led to premature wear of the enamel and garlic ground to past, and apply it straight to the aching tooth! This rather hot climate was also infested with mosquitoes and other biting insects many of which carried malaria and other infectious diseases. Once again it was garlic that came to the rescue- as an effective insect repellent.