Extra Pungent and Powerful…
“It is truth, garlic gives man youth.”
–cry of 5th century Greek garlic street hawkers
Allium sativum has been called many things from bountiful bulb to poor man’s treacle
Liliaceae: Lily Family. The other members of this family-the onion and leek, also contain many of the same compounds that are in garlic to a lesser degree and are therefore used quite similarly in most cases.
History and Mythology:
Garlic is the name given to the leek (herb) with gar (spear) shaped leaves and phallic flowers. Perhaps referring to the belief that garlic imparts warlike properties and raises passion. Its Latin name Allium sativum is derived from al = burning, sativum= harvested. It is uncertain exactly where it originated but it is believed to be from either Central Asia and/or Siberia.
William Harvey who published a revolutionary book The Motion of Blood in 1628, was intrigued by a folk remedy for colds which placed a clove of garlic in the stockings overnight. This generally led to the smell of garlic on the patient’s breath the next morning, and reinforced his ideas of how blood circulated around the body. The other well-known connection between garlic and blood is the herb’s traditional property of repelling vampires.
Garlic was also reported to destroy a magnet’s power of attraction. Galen described it as the rustic’s theriac, (meaning heal-all or antidote to poison). Garlic has been used for thousands of years for both culinary and medicinal purposes all over the world.