Garlic (Allium sativum)

Main Facts about Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum)
There more than 800 species in the Allium family: leeks, onions, chives, garlic, garlic chives, shallots etc. Every part of these plants is edible. Young developing seed-heads have the strongest flavor, then flowers, then leaves. Garlic is known as the stinking rose. The edible bulb is made up of sections called cloves, that are encased in a parchmentlike membrane. Green young garlic before it begins to form cloves resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb. Garlic's essential oils remain in the body long after consumption, affecting breath and even skin odor. Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. This strength-enhancing quality was also honored by the ancient Greeks and Romans, civilizations whose athletes ate garlic before sporting events and whose soldiers consumed it before going off to war. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons.

Using Garlic

Contains almost 80 sulphur compounds, and is more effective than antibiotics in many cases, but unlike antibiotics, garlic does not kill friendly intestinal flora. The bacteria in the body do not appear to evolve resistance to the garlic as they do to many modern pharmaceutical antibiotics. This means that its positive health benefits can continue over time rather than helping to breed antibiotic resistant "superbugs". People who suffer from auto-immune diseases might be helped by including garlic in their diets. As well, if you have psoriasis — a skin condition related to inflammation — try rubbing garlic oil directly on the affected area for relief. Garlic is a great source of antioxidants. Great for acne. Studies have shown that garlic could help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease and artery hardening. The research on each condition and how garlic can help is varied, but research into what it can do for atherosclerosis and blood pressure is promising. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, garlic has anti-fungal properties as well. Give those itchy feet a soak in garlic water to cut the fungus that causes athlete's foot. Or you can rub raw garlic straight on your feet.

Garlic is a remedy for: Cold and flu

Caution!

Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could produce problems, for example irritation of or even damage to the digestive tract. There are a few people who are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy include skin rash, temperature and headaches. Low level allergies can result in heartburn, flatulence, etc. Any serious allergy can be potentially life-threatening. If someone has sensitive skin or is exposed too much garlic it can lead to skin reddening, irritation and soreness, possibly even burns. Also, garlic could potentially disrupt anti-coagulants, so it's best avoided before surgery.

Cooking with Garlic

Garlic is a staple in many cuisines and is used to add flavour to food. To activate the healing power, garlic cells need to be broken open (crushed, diced, sliced, ground etc) Plant has edible garlic bulbs on top of stem and cloves underground. Garlic's anti-bacterial properties might help to prevent food poisoning. Garlic is better be eaten raw or almost raw. If you wish to add it to a meal, try to add it at the very end of the cooking process after you’ve removed the dish from the source of heat. Otherwise you destroy its healing properties.

How to grow Garlic

Garlic is easy to grow and produces numerous bulbs after a long growing season. It is frost tolerant. It can be planted in the spring, but if you plant it in the fall, you'll find that your bulbs are bigger and more flavorful when you harvest the next summer. In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before the frost. In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant. Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove. Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Select a sunny spot. Northern gardeners should mulch heavily with straw for overwintering. Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly, especially if you see yellowing leaves. Water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June). Garlic plants can be grown closely together, leaving enough space for the bulbs to mature, and are easily grown in containers of sufficient depth.

Garlic Toxic Look-alikes

Important- Make sure the plant SMELLS like garlic! There is a poisonous plant that looks like a garlic bulb but doesn’t have any smell.
French maritime pine tree
Gentian

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