GARLIC, Allium sativum

GARLIC

Latin name: Allium sativum

English name: Garlic

Sanskrit name: Lasuna

Indian name: Lahsun

Medicinal parts used: Tuber

Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, the shallot, and the leek. Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. It is both cultivated and also grown in the wild.

A bulb of garlic, the most commonly used part of the plant, is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. The cloves are used as seed, for consumption (raw or cooked), and for medicinal purposes. The leaves, stems (scape) and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are also edible and most often consumed while immature and still tender. The papery, protective layers of ‘skin’ over various parts of the plant and the roots attached to the bulb are the only parts not considered palatable.

Therapeutic use:

  • Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer.
  • Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Garlic may also possess cancer-fighting properties due to the presence of allylic sulfur compounds such as diallyl disulfide (DADs), believed to be an anticarcinogen.
  • In modern naturopathy, garlic is used as a treatment for intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites, both orally and as an anal suppository.
  • Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush.
  • Garlic may have beneficial properties, such as preventing and fighting the common cold.
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