Garlic is one of the well known herbal plants that have been used from times immemorial all over the world. It has amazing properties that add flavor and taste to special as well as regular food. Although it is a plant, it is regarded as a non-vegetarian herb and is not consumed by those who follow a strict vegetarian diet.
Fact 1 Description Of Garlic
Garlic belongs to the Alliacea family and Allium genus. The scientific name of garlic is Allium Sativum. It is essentially a root herb plant. The adult plant grows about 50 to 60 cm high. Under the ground bulbous roots are formed and each root contains nearly 8 to 20 bulblets which are called cloves. The entire bulb is covered with many fine layers that are mostly white or tinged with mauve color and these coverings are thinner than paper also. There are nearly 450 varieties of garlic starting from the huge elephant garlic to the smallest size solo garlic. They are all a part of the Lily family. Garlic is normally odorless until it is crushed.
Fact 2 Where It Is Grown
Garlic probably originated in the mountainous regions of Central Asia and then it spread to other areas that have a temperate and sub-tropical climate. Although garlic is a perennial herb, it is cultivated as an annual crop in many regions in the same system as onions. A variety of wild field garlic known as Allium Oleraceum is widely grown in the United Kingdom and it is generally taller than the regular cultivated varieties of garlic.
Fact 3 How Garlic Is Grown
Garlic flowers do not have any seeds for they are sterile. New plants are grown by cutting the bulbs into individual sections and then implanting them in the proper soil. When the plants are fully grown they produce bulbs that are known as head of garlic. There are many individual cloves inside the covered bulbs. These single cloves are planted and after nine months they reproduce an entire bulb.
Fact 4 Properties Of Garlic
Garlic is widely used in culinary around the world not only for the strong flavor but also for the various nutritional properties that it contains. It is an herb that is packed with phyto-nutrients, minerals and vitamins and anti-oxidants. The important contents of garlic are namely:
- Organic thio-sulfinite compounds.
- Allicin obtained by enzymatic reaction.
- Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium.
- Flavonoid anti-oxidants like zea-xanthine, carotene and beta.
- High levels of Vitamin C.
- Fact 5 Health Benefits Of Garlic
Fact 5 Health Benefits Of Garlic
Research has proved that nutrition-packed garlic is one of the natural herbal plants that offers various health benefits and helps to fight serious diseases including cancers and artery diseases. The beneficial effects of garlic are mostly seen in the following areas:
- Garlic inhibits the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme within the cells of the liver and the allicin that is produced by crushing the bulb reduces cholesterol levels.
- Allicin releases nitric oxide that helps in relaxing the blood vessels and thus reduces the total blood pressure levels.
- Allicin also blocks the formation of platelet clotting thereby reducing chances of coronary attacks and also other vascular diseases and cardiac arrests.
- Consuming garlic reduces the risks of stomach cancer.
- The other volatile compounds present in garlic have been proved to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Selenium takes care of heart health and helps to maintain the level of anti-oxidant enzymes in the body.
- Iron in garlic is essential for the formation of red blood cells.
- Manganese is used by the body as an anti-oxidant enzyme.
- Vitamin C helps to fight diseases and pro-inflammatory free radicals.