Garlic is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the world. It can be used fresh or dried and is recognized for its distinct, pungent flavor. But did you know, for centuries, long before garlic fried rice or garlic knots, it was revered for its medicinal purposes?
Garlic throughout history
Hippocrates famously said, "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The Ancient Greek physician, who lived in 370 BC, is known as “the father of Western medicine.” He, along with doctors of the time in China, Rome, Egypt and India, often prescribed garlic to patients for ailments ranging from fatigue to respiratory problems, parasites and poor digestion.
In Ancient Egypt, laborers were fed garlic to give them strength while they built the great pyramids and in Ancient Greece, athletes consumed it before they competed in the Olympic Games to increase their physical stamina. In Europe during the Middle Ages, people even wore masks of garlic to protect them from the bubonic plague.
Modern health benefits of garlic
Many of the advantages and ailments garlic was prescribed for throughout history are still used today — present-day doctors and scientists have confirmed several garlic health benefits. Such as, when garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed, it releases sulfur compounds with potent medicinal properties like allicin, diallyl disulfide and s-allyl cysteine.
Garlic is also low in calories and offers a high percentage of nutritional value. In fact, an average clove of raw garlic contains plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and manganese and is only around 5 calories.
Along with the health and wellness benefits garlic provides, it’s also an impressively versatile ingredient that can enhance the flavor of any savory recipe. California garlic even offers additional advantages, such as full-traceability, food safety and it has proven to have more flavor than garlic from other origins.