"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF GARLIC
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
HISTORY OF GARLIC
Nutritionally speaking, we are living in the most exciting era, in the history of the world because we live in a era nutritional awareness. For centuries, orthodox medicine, has kept us in the dark by the outdated Pasteurian concept, that germs are vicious invaders. In the illuminating light of modern research we now know that our lifestyle and habits, especially our nutrition play key roles in our health.
Throughout medical history, the philosophies and concepts of disease and the approved methods of healing have changed with almost every generation. At one time, doctors believed that disease was caused by demons. Later generations of doctors used blood letting as a cure-all, since “bad blood” was considered to be the cause of all disease. Now teachers of natural healing techniques know that “bad blood” is just part of outdated Pasteiroan concept of disease. Although accepted philosophies of disease have varied with nearly every generation somehow orthodox medicine has never seriously considered Hippocrates’ philosophy of health and disease: that most ills are of man’s own making and are the result of his violation of elementary rules of health. Hippocrates the “Father of Medicine” perhaps the greatest healer that ever lived, wrote 2500 years ago “Let your food be you medicine, let your medicine be your food.” Garlic, more than any other food fits into Hippocrates’ description of an ideal food, that which is both a super-nutritious food and a miracle medicine.
Garlic has been known has one of the oldest known horticultural crops in the Old World. Egyptian and Indian cultures referred to garlic 5000 years ago and there is clear historical evidence for its use by the Babylonians 4500 years ago and by the Chinese 2000 years ago. Some writings suggest that garlic was grown in China as far back as 4000 years ago.
Not only during the time of the Babylonians and the Chinese but during the time of the Pharaohs, when Egypt was at the peak of its power, garlic was given to the laborers and slaves who were building the great pyramids in order to increase their stamina and strength as well as to protect them from disease. Herodotus a Greek historian back in the fifth century A.D., wrote about Egyptian pyramids having inscriptions of Egyptian characters describing the amount of garlic consumed by the workers and slaves who were building the great pyramid of King Khufu (Cheops). Not only did workers and slaves consume garlic, but also it has been written that even the Egyptian soldiers would consume garlic to increase their courage during battle.
Likewise, Egyptian unfaithful husbands relied on garlic's unique "scented" properties. According to Charmidas, they would chew a clove or two on their way home from visiting their mistresses so that their whole body was impregnated with the odor, ensuring that a jealous wife would be unable to detect any stranger's perfume.
At the same time the Egyptians were using garlic, it was estimated the Persians used 25 kg of garlic each day.
Later, Bible clearly stated that for 400 years the Israelites were slaves in Egypt sometime around 1730 to 1330 B.C. While and no doubt being forced to help build pyramids, garlic was a part of their diet. Shortly after they had been delivered from slavery by Moses, and were traveling through the desert country of the Sinai Peninsula, they began to miss some of the food they had been eating while in slavery, one of the food missed was that of garlic.
"We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt for Nought, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick." (Numbers 11:5) “According to Helen Noyes Webster, who interpreted the above quotation in her book, Herbs, How to Grow Them and How to Use Them, the Israelites traveling with Moses obviously missed the garlic when they went toward the Promised Land. If Moses had carried garlic, the Israelites may have been able to avoid intestinal putrefaction from eating the desert's available lizards and snakes.”
Besides the Israelites, the Greeks at the time of Homer used garlic a lot. Homer mentions garlic in his famous Odyssey. The deity Mercury, or Hermes, gave garlic to Odysseus as a protection against the goddess Circe's evil sorcery in which she turned men to swine. The athletes of the original Olympic games in ancient Greece traditionally chewed a clove of garlic before participating in the games. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads as a supper for Hecate. According to Pliny The Elder, a Roman senator, historin, and the Commander of the Emperial Fleet at the naval base of Misenum, garlic and onion were invocated as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths. The Egyptians may have seen garlic as food for their gods, but the Greeks, prohibited garlic.
Greeks were not the only ones who prohibited garlic. Garlic has been known universally as "the stinking rose", the term reportedly going back to Greek and Roman times. At that time garlic was sold in large Greek towns and in Roman cities by peddlers. Garlic was a symbol of the common people since no noble would debase himself by smelling of garlic! Furthermore, every Greek who wished to enter the temple of Cybele, mother of the gods, had to pass a strict breath test aimed at detecting garlic. Horace explained that garlic could be absorbed by the iron stomachs of the working class but made those used to more refine cooking feel unwell. In the year 1300, "You reek of garlic! Get out!" was the irrevocable judgment that befell any knight who dared appear at the court of King Alfonso de Castille with garlic on his breath. He was banned from court and not permitted to speak to other courtiers for an entire week.
In addition to the Egyptains, the Vikings also valued garlic. The Vikings and Phoenicians took healthy supplies of garlic with them on every voyage. Crusaders returning to Europe after far away battles are generally credited with bringing garlic back with them to Europe. By 1000 A.D. garlic was grown in virtually the entire known world, and was universally recognized as a valuable plant. Many cultures elevated garlic beyond a dietary staple, and suggested that it had medicinal and even spiritual purposes.
Just like the Vikings who praised garlic for it’s medicinal and spiritual purposes, garlic was equally important to the Romans. Praised by Virgil and the poets of antiquity, garlic was progressively introduced into various parts of Europe during the Romans' campaigns. Henri IV of France was so fond of garlic that, according to a Jurancon legend, the good king must have been baptized with a clove of garlic. Despite his royal station, the king was not above lending a hand in the kitchen: he became famous for his stewed chicken… studded with garlic, of course.
For a variety of reasons, garlic's popularity began to wane in the beginning of the 20th century, and World War II primarily found garlic only in restaurants and gourmet shops. Recently, garlic has rebounded in stature and reputation, and though not as valuable as it was throughout early human history, it is a valuable cash crop with a multitude of uses.
Likewise garlic was not only valued in agent times, but the modern countries of Germany and Czechoslovakia, have an old Proverb and in their folklore that says “ A bite from a watch dog is much more cutting and painful if the dog has eaten garlic at the New year.” “Garlic is as good as ten mothers.”
Modern representations of the vampire legend always seem to show braids of garlic hanging from the beams of kitchens in which poor peasants tremble with fear. The belief that garlic could combat evil dates back to the medieval era when children would play or work in the fields with cloves of garlic hung around their necks to protect them from the evil spells of the local witch… because everybody knows that witches love children!
By the 19th century this custom gradually changed, and cloves of garlic adorned only the necks of cows and heifers.
Can a clove of garlic a day keep the doctor away? Garlic has been an important part of life for centuries, across cultures and millennia. In fact, no other single food has had as many applications as this pungent plant. Garlic has been used to spice food, protect against vampires and witches, prepare soldiers for war, cure colds, heal infections, and treat ailments ranging from heart disease to cancer and even the plague.
Consumption of garlic in the USA has more than tripled during the 1990s because of its growing popularity in foods and as a dietary supplement or herbal remedy. Americans consumed 3.1 pounds of garlic per person in 1999, compared with 1 pound in 1989, the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service reports. To meet that demand, acreage devoted to domestic production of garlic rose during the decade from 16,000 acres to 41,000 acres.
In the United States, in addition to its use in dietary supplements and herbal remedy, garlic is used in cooking and food preparation. Garlic is now second in sales only to Echinacea as a best selling herbal supplement. As it grows in popularity, mixed reports and controversy continue to surround claims of its medicinal properties. It has been, in fact, probably the most studied herbal product, with about 1,200 medical and pharmacological reports, and an additional 700 or so chemical studies, now published. With that much scientific attention, one would think that we would be able to clearly sort out fact from myth!
Today, after close to 6000 years of folklore, scientific research shows that garlic is an amazing resource of phytochemicals (botanicals) whose wide range of actions can benefit health. Studies show that garlic protects against infection and inflammation, lowers the risk of heart disease, and has anticancer and antiaging effects.
To sum up garlic was prized for its antimicrobial effects long before microbes were even discovered. French priests of the Middle Ages used garlic to protect themselves against bubonic plague. During World War I, European soldiers prevented infection by putting garlic directly on their wounds. Nearly every culture has used garlic for general health and longevity, from ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Babylonians, Romans, and Chinese down to the colonial Americans. Today, garlic is one of the best selling preventive medicines in Europe, where it is accepted as safe and effective by both medical authorities and government officials.
by Tammy D. Motteshard