The Medicinal Uses Of Garlic Throughout History

1634 words - 7 pages

Garlic is more than just a plant growing in the garden and sold at the local grocery store. Garlic is growing in population among American’s and individuals throughout the world not only for its versatile uses in the kitchen, but also the medicinal benefits it holds. Garlic has been used ever since the ancient times and its benefits continue to be studied today. Some of the medicinal properties associated with garlic include cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, aids with cancer treatment, helps power the immune system and fights off infections.
Garlic’s botanical name is Allium sativum; it belongs to the Allium group of plants, which is a part of the lily family. There is over 600 species in the Allium group, including onions, chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic. The part of garlic that is consumed is called the clove; It is located underground underneath a tall green stalk, which catches the sunlight and undergoes photosynthesis. The head of the garlic can consist of eight to ten cloves. Garlic can grow in almost every region of the world, in subtropical, temperate, tropical, and even in the gardens of everyday people. In 2009, the United States produced 3.9 million cwt and imported around 121,500 metric tons of garlic. About 3.7 million cwt of garlic grown in the United States came from California, and 92 percent of our imports came from china (Boriss, 2010). As American’s learn about the versatile uses of garlic and its medical properties the demand for its production keeps rising.
The medical uses of garlic is not a new concept, it actually has been used medicinally since ancient times. It is one of the earliest documented plants used for treatment of disease and maintenance of health. The Egyptian Codex Ebers, writing from about 1550 B.C., is one of the oldest preserved medical documents (Thomson and Ali, 2003). The Codex Ebers prescribed twenty-two uses of garlic for treatment of heart problems, circulatory ailments, headache, bites, worms, tumors, abnormal growths, depression, and infestation of insects and parasites (Afzal, Ali, Thomson and Armstrong, 2000). Another ancient document, the Egyptian papyrus, dating back to 1600 B.C. also mentioned some uses of garlic. They described how men building the pyramids were given daily rations of garlic and onion. Garlic was presumable given to the working class to maintain, and increase their strength while also keeping them healthy (Bergner, 1996). Whole garlic cloves were discovered during the excavation of the tombs of El Mahasns and King Tutankhamen, which date back to about 3750 B.C. and 1500 B.C. respectively, proving that garlic indeed existed and was grown during that time period. The bible also makes reference to the Jewish slaves missing garlic after they left Egypt, which again was given to them for increased strength and to improve their productivity. Numbers 11:5 states, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the...

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