All The Flavor Is In The Garlic - April 2023

National Garlic Month is celebrated in April. Garlic transcends cultures. It can be found in Asian, American, African, and European cuisines. Garlic was almost always used as more than just a herb or spice to add flavor to meals. Some civilizations used it for medicinal purposes, while others elevated it to a higher spiritual status in their society. It’s fascinating to see how many civilizations used garlic for the same or similar purposes that had no direct contact with each other. Garlic was known to early man to be a healthy and versatile crop with far more applications than just seasoning dishes.


Garlic is widely assumed to have originated in Central Asia, somewhere near China. Around 2,000 years ago, the ancient Chinese used garlic for medicinal purposes, believing that it could cure a variety of ailments. It spread from China to neighboring Japan and Korea. Garlic was also used medicinally by the ancient Indians, who ground the plant into a paste and made a tonic out of it. This tonic was used to treat skin diseases, loss of appetite, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, and many other ailments. Because Indian priests were some of their society’s first doctors and pharmacists, these garlic treatments were accompanied by elaborate rituals, spells, and prayer ceremonies.
Garlic was thought to have life-giving properties by the ancient Egyptians, and its strong odor was thought to protect the pharaoh from evil spirits in the afterlife. Around 3200 B.C., it was introduced to Egypt via trade routes and traveling merchants. According to biblical accounts, Jewish slaves in Egypt were fed a garlic-rich diet to strengthen their bodies and make them more productive workers. The Talmud, a Jewish religious text, even recommended garlic consumption for the treatment of parasitic infections around the 2nd century A.D.
The Talmud went further to advise married couples to use garlic to aid in procreation. The Greeks shared the Egyptian belief in garlic’s performance-enhancing properties. Garlic was used to feed ancient Greek athletes, according to research findings. This was done to improve their athletic performance during Olympic competitions. Garlic is mostly used for cooking nowadays, but that doesn’t mean its numerous health benefits aren’t recognized. We now know that garlic is antimicrobial and antifungal, that it lowers the risk of heart attack, and that it contains allicin, a compound with numerous therapeutic properties.


  1. According to a study from 2012, China grows two-thirds of the world’s garlic, adding up to around 46 billion pounds every year.
  2. Although garlic originated from Asia, the name comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘gar’ (‘spear’) and ‘lac’ (‘plant’), possibly a reference to the shape of a garlic plant’s leaves.
  3. Garlic was given to soldiers during World War ll as a form of medicine.
  4. Though it's commonly used and referred to as a herb or spice, botanically, garlic is a root vegetable in the same family as onions, which also includes leeks and shallots.
  5. Garlic has been used medicinally since the Greek and Roman times. Today garlic is a widely recognized health enhancing supplement. It promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s greatest health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity..
  6. Its pungent flavor is caused by a chemical reaction that occurs when the garlic cells are broken. The flavor is most intense just after mincing. The smell can be removed from your hands by running them under cold water while rubbing a stainless steel object.
  7. The psychological term for fear of garlic is alliumphobia.
  8. Drinking lemon juice or eating a few slices of lemon will stop bad garlic breath.


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