Garlic l Cultivated Garlic l Allium sativum 4
Garlic, Allium sativum, is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in)and hardy to USDA zones 7 to 10. Garlic succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a moist light well-drained soil. It dislikes very acid soils but can tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The bulb is liable to rot if grown in a wet soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Garlic has a very long history of use as a food and a medicine. It was given to the Egyptian labourers when building the pyramids because it was believed to confer strength and protect from disease, it was also widely used by the Romans. It is widely cultivated in most parts of the world for its edible bulb, which is used mainly as a flavouring in foods. Garlic grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. The bulb is eaten raw or cooked. Widely used, especially in southern Europe, as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, both raw and cooked. Garlic is a wonderfully nutritious and health giving addition to the diet, but it has a very strong flavour and so is mainly used in very small quantities as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. The leaves are eaten raw or cooked. Chopped and used in salads, they are rather milder than the bulbs. The Chinese often cultivate garlic especially for the leaves, these can be produced in the middle of winter in mild winters. The flowering stems are used as a flavouring and are sometimes sold in Chinese shops. The sprouted seed is added to salads. Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit. The plant produces inhibitory effects on gram-negative germs of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group, indeed it possesses outstanding germicidal properties and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay. It is also said to have anticancer activity. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy. Recent research has also indicated that garlic reduces glucose metabolism in diabetics, slows the development of arteriosclerosis and lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds. The fresh bulb is much more effective medicinally than stored bulbs, extended storage greatly reduces the anti-bacterial action. The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stings, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator.
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