A little bit of background on this humble bulb, which is a relative of onions and leeks:
China, as the world's largest grower of garlic, produces more than ten million tons annually.
For centuries people have valued garlic. This is seen in the fact that Archaeologists found it in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen, who reigned around 1445-1335 BC. In ancient Greece it was known as scorodon, meaning "stink rose". Koreans of old ate it before tackling mountain passes with a belief that it would scare off tigers, and in more recent times, during the first world war, Russian soldiers used garlic to treat wounds, so that it later became known as Russian penicillin.
Although scientists are cautioning that more research is needed, people who receive a daily supplement of garlic seem less likely to get a cold, most likely because it is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Some of the things that researchers say about the effect of garlic on various medical conditions:
Because garlic can counter hardening of the arteries, thin the blood and lower blood pressure slightly, it could counter heart problems. Despite much research, however, science has come to the conclusion that garlic has little or no impact on Cholesterol levels.
Preliminary studies indicate that eating fresh garlic daily may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly of the stomach, colon, pancreas and oesophagus. More research is necessary, however, to determine if this is the case.
An allergic reaction to garlic can vary from nausea and diarrhoea, formation of a rash, to swelling of the throat - a serious condition. People who are allergic to garlic often react negatively to onions, leeks, bananas and ginger as well.
A sensitive stomach:
Eating large quantities, especially of fresh garlic, may be the cause of stomach ulcers, resulting in heartburn and nausea.
Consuming small quantities will probably be harmless for the baby, but it alters the taste of breast milk, and some babies are put off.
When raw garlic is applied to the skin, it can cause chemical burns, and in rare cases bring on an asthma attack.
But, oh, the smell.....
While garlic is said to ward off vampires, a garlic breath can cause friends, colleagues and loved ones to flee too.
Garlic contains a sulphite which not only smells bad but causes bacteria in the mouth to multiply. Brushing one's teeth is not enough to rid oneself of the smell because the sulphites end up in the blood stream, and are released through the pores of the skin and the lungs.
Here are a few remedies that garlic lovers can resort to:
Drink tomato juice,
Eat an apple or an orange,
Chew a sprig of parsley or basil,
Or eat mushrooms.
The "Aussie" city of Perth holds an annual garlic festival every August. "Garlic heads" converge there to enjoy their favourite bulb, without having to feel guilty about foul smelling breath. That's food for thought.
Although strong perfumes in cosmetics may not do the trick to banish this strong odour, there is no harm in smelling gorgeous with penetrating creams and body butters that have natural fragrances like Lime, Ginger, Rose, Vanilla and Red Berries. Whether or not you love garlic, we know you'll adore the luxurious sensations and smells of MatsiMela Home Spa's indulgent ranges.