Written by: on April 19, 2021 @ 8:00 am

Join High Touch High Tech in celebrating
National Garlic Day
April 19th

Image source: Pixabay.com

While not actually an Avenger, Wonder Woman or Batman, garlic does have so many health benefits, that it deserves to be considered a superhero. It might as well be wearing a cape!

When we first encounter garlic, it really does not have much of a smell, that is until you cut into it, slice it, or crush it! Once crushed or sliced the odor is extraordinarily strong. When we cut into a garlic bulb, thio-sulfinite compounds in the garlic turn into allicin. Allicin is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, it is believed to lower bad cholesterol by inhibiting enzyme growth in liver cells, and it helps nitric oxide release in the blood vessels relaxing them and lowering pressure.

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This improvement in blood pressure can help ease the strain on the heart, making garlic a very heart-healthy choice. Garlic’s antibacterial properties also makes it a great treatment for acne and cold sores, as well as general health. On top of all that, garlic also contains a ton of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, calcium, beta-carotene, and Vitamin C. Garlic is a true superhero!

Image source: Pixabay.com

Garlic is a species in the onion family, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, scallions, shallots, leeks, chives, Welsh onions, and Chinese onions. It is native to Central Asia and Northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use.

Sumerians (2600–2100 BC) (the indigenous peoples of Southern Mesopotamia) were actively utilizing garlic for its healing qualities and are believed to have brought garlic to China. From China, it later spread to Japan and Korea.

In ancient China, garlic was one of the most used remedies for many ailments since 2700 BC. Then, owing to its healing and stimulating effects, garlic was recommended to those who suffer from depression.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Fishkuai must be eaten together with garlic and onion. When mushrooms and vegetables are added, it is called gold and jadekuai (jingao yukuai). This has the medicinal properties of stimulating the appetite and the functions of the large intestine.

In ancient Indian medicine, garlic was a valuable remedy used as a tonic to cure a lack of appetite, common weakness, cough, skin disease, rheumatism, and hemorrhoids. In the Vedas (the most ancient Hindu scriptures) garlic was mentioned among other medicinal plants. Indian priests were the first physicians and pharmacists to utilize garlic.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Mini stone grinders used for mixing Traditional Medicines.
This can be used to smash Garlic, Ginger etc.,

Archaeologists have even discovered garlic bulbs in the pyramids of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians were known for their healing skills, preparations, and remedies.

The Ancient Israelis made use of garlic as an appetite stimulator, to avoid starvation. They also used garlic as a blood pressure enhancer, body heater, parasite-killer, and more! The Talmud, the book of Judaism, prescribes a meal with garlic every Friday.

The Ancient Greeks also valued garlic although those who had eaten garlic were forbidden entry into the temples. Perhaps due to their stinky breath! During the archeological excavations in the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete, garlic bulbs were discovered dating from 1850–1400 BC. Early Greek army leaders fed their army garlic before major battles. It is an interesting fact that while nowadays some athletes take a wide spectrum of dangerous performance enhancing drugs, Greek Olympic athletes ate garlic to ensure a good score!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Theophrastus (370–285 BC), the Greeks offered gifts to their Gods consisting of garlic bulbs. In his works, Hippocrates (459–370 BC) mentioned garlic as a remedy against intestinal parasites. He recommended garlic for regulating the menstrual cycle and to fight against seasickness. He also recommended garlic as a remedy against snakebite (for that purpose they drank a mixture of garlic and wine) and against a mad dog’s bite (for that purpose they applied garlic on the wound directly).  

For thousands of years humanity has used garlic to enhance the flavor of food as well as for medicinal purposes. Although pungent and somewhat unpleasant to smell, Garlic’s positive health benefits are undeniable. Have you had your daily dose?

So, as we celebrate National Garlic Day this April 19th, let us know the superhero role Garlic plays in your life!

And since Garlic has such a recognizable smell, we invite you to participate in this week’s At-home Experiment, Smelling Bee! See if you can determine which scent belongs to its corresponding food item! Check out the lesson plan below, grab your supplies, and start smelling!

Lesson Plan:

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