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Great Garlic!

Garlic…measure with your heart. “There’s no such thing as ‘too much garlic!'” Learn all the uses of garlic! Click here for more information on gardening from Ashcombe!

Many of the legends surrounding garlic have to do with strength, speed, and endurance. Egyptian slaves ate garlic as they build the pyramids. The Israelites nibbled it before their escape from Egypt and later longed for the herb during their wilderness wanderings. The Romans took it to strengthen them in battle, since it was the herb of Mars, the Roman god of War.

Medicinally, garlic has been prescribed since pre-biblical times. In the Far East, ancient herbalists used it to treat high blood pressure and respiratory problems. It is mentioned in the Calendar of the Hsai, which dates back to 2000 BC. An Egyptian medical listing of 1500 BC recommends garlic as a remedy for 22 problems, including headaches, bites, sores, tumors, and heart ailments. The Roman scholar Pliny said it would cure over 60 ailments. The 17th-century British herbalist Culpeper was reserved in describing its powers. It killed worms in children, he said, protected against various plagues, eased earaches, counteracted some poisons such as hemlock and henbane, and took away skin blemishes.

The culinary home of garlic is southern Europe, of course, and it also figures in folk medicines. It is the main ingredient in Four Thieves Vinegar, a legendary remedy that has been sold in France since the early 18th century. According to the story, four condemned criminals were recruited to bury those who had died during a plague in Marseilles, and they themselves never fell ill because they drank a mixture of crushed garlic and wine vinegar. In this country, wild garlic was well known to the Native Americans, and domestic varieties were brought over by the settlers. The pioneers were said to have put garlic in their horses’ nostrils to counteract the effects of high altitude.

Infection: Herbalists have long claimed that garlic was a good germ killer. The very component that gives garlic its strong odor is the one that destroys or inhibits various bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Called allicin, its antibacterial action is equivalent to that of 1% penicillin. Allicin forms in the garlic when the cloves are crushed and a parent substance, alliin, meets up with an enzyme, alliinase. The result is that potent smell and some equally potent antibacterial powers. Unfortunately, allicin is quite unstable, and cooking the garlic may reduce its effectiveness.

Experiments have shown that garlic is effective against some influenza viruses, fungi, and yeasts, such as the one that causes athlete’s foot. It is more effective than penicillin against typhus. It works against staph and strep bacteria, against the organism responsible

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