Monday, March 1, 2010

So how do you feel about GARLIC

     Dating back 6,000 years from central Asia, came a wonderful taste additive for food called garlic. Strange how the name comes from Old English and it was originally known as “garleac” which means “spear leek”. It has also had quite a history in the Mediterranean region and was a popular seasoning in Africa and Europe.

In ancient Greece, the father of modern medicine who was known as Hippocrates used garlic to treat infections, wounds and intestinal viruses. The Roman Legionnaires ate Lamb Stew smothered in the aroma and taste of garlic. Then boasted of its effects saying it caused them to be courageous, stronger and abundant stamina.

They packed plenty of garlic to go with them on their journey to conquer the world, thus spreading its use to every land they traveled. Then it was cultivated by the conquered lands people.

In the century of King Tut garlic was so highly praised, worshiped and priced that it was commonly used as currency. Clay shapes in the form of garlic bulbs were abundantly placed in the tomb of the king when he was laid to rest.

The Pyramids at Giza were built by Ancient Egyptians and inscriptions on the pyramids indicate that the slaves who built them survived mostly on onions, radishes and Garlic. They thought of them as magical and healing agents giving them a huge amount of stamina and spiritual integrity to help them finish the pyramids.

If the food portions decreased to nothing the slaves would then go on strike refusing to work, waiting to dye or be tortured until more was available to them. Seems a strike would have been unheard of this many centuries ago, however it seems not the case.

The “Codex Ebers” was discovered by a German archeologist in 1878 dating 1550 B.C. Which includes 800 therapeutic uses of those times including 22 uses for garlic.

Garlic is a species of the onion family “alliaceae.” It is close relative to the shallot, onion. Leek and chive and has been used not only for culinary use but medicinal as well. A bulb of garlic is the most commonly used part of the plant but as an immature plant the leaves, stems (Which are called scape) and the flower on the head of the “bulbis” which is called the “spathe” are also eatable.

In the Yunnan Providence of China the single bulb of garlic called the Pearl or Solo garlic is completely edible if it is immature and very tender as well. Whether raw or cooked the garlic clove has made its way into the culinary hearts of most everyone.

References to garlic have been found in Chinese texts as far back as 2000 years before Christ. It is written that it was used as a food as well as a healing agent.

Its antibiotic effects were first studied by Louis Pasteur in the mid-19th century. In the 20th century, Albert Schweitzer used it to treat amebic dysentery in Africa. By the 20th century, the science behind the medicinal value of garlic was understood.

The Aztecs used an indigenous variety of garlic as a seasoning and a remedy. One of their very favorite uses for garlic was to mix it with avocados because garlic creates heat which creates passion and the avocado (in their opinion) resembled testicles which together created a sensual experience that would never be forgotten.

The “Shakers” are an communal religious sector whom resided in upstate New York packages and sold garlic to relieve all manner of illnesses in the late 1800s.

Constantine Rafinesque' reported in his 1830 Medical Flora of the United States that the Cherokee used several species of wild garlic in their cooking and made tinctures for treating "the gravel".

United States turned away the use of garlic until the first part of the 20th century when it became commonly used by middle class working families, in suit with the number of immigrants who had used it prior to the 20's weather it was accepted or not.

They brought strains of garlic with them that had been grown by their families for generations of which some still exists in there original formula and can also be found in area around the world.

It was referred to as Bronx Vanilla, Halitosis and Italian perfume. The popular smell of garlic spread through working-class communities at meal time, peaking interest in the sense of smell and leading the kid’s home to the dinner table.

The "Root Doctors" of the Louisiana Bayou recommended garlic for "live things jumping around in your stomach". In other words, for all manner of worms and amoebas and still used today by them.

Garlic, ground with animal fat, was the leading antiseptic ointment used by many cultures, including Native American Cherokee who also used it in a variety of dishes especially trout.

In the rural Tennessee Mountains, wild garlic was collected as a spring tonic. In rural North Carolina, garlic was eaten for boils and pneumonia.

The Pennsylvania Dutch used wild garlic, which they called "Wilder Knowwelloch", to bring boils and ulcers to a head by putting it directly on the eruption. Inflamed bowels were treated by applying a mash of wild garlic and bran to the stomach. A tea made of the same was used as a liver tonic.

The Science behind the medicinal use of garlic was finally studied and understood in the United States. The discovery of the healing powers came from the volatile compounds in the garlic cloves.

Which was one milliliter of fresh garlic was as effective as one milligram of penicillin and during World War II when penicillin and sulfa could not be obtained, doctors used garlic juice to disinfect wounds and prevent gangrene.

Commonly referred to in folklore it was used to ward off Vampires, Nymphs who terrorized pregnant women and maidens at the threshold of marriage. It was said to ward off naysayer and those who would commonly give the evil eye.

Garlic has been used as aphrodisiac for centuries and is said to raise the sexual awareness and desires. Whether that is really true doesn't seem to ever be studied because if it's delusional implant to the brain works why mess with a good thing.

How ever, if your on a bad blind date if you eat a meal enhanced with garlic you may ward off the good night kiss that you do not want to happen. If you’re on a good date, make sure the both of you either indulge in eating the wonderful spice or stay away from it.

Not surprising at all is the fact that Americans consume over 250 million pounds of garlic per year and the dishes which are enhanced by its flavor are abundant as well as delicious.

Over centuries the medicinal uses for garlic have grown to a large number and include: colds, flu, menstrual pain, high blood pressure, coughs, gastrointestinal problems, bacteria, viruses, bronchitis, intestinal parasites, atherosclerosis, fungal infections, an antioxidant, prevention of some cancers and helps improve the immune system.

To many it is known as “The Miracle of Garlic” whether they all aide in prevention or cure is a common question. Some live by it as some believe it is all in the heads of the herbal naturalist. But whether it is the cure/prevention or not the mind is a wonderful healing tool it's self and with the power of suggestion of truth of healing is a possibility to could come into play.

What ever your use for garlic you have to be sure of one thing, it has a long history of many uses and you can always ward off a vampire if you have some on hand. So ends the history lesson of garlic.

Laura Elizabeth