Garlic is native to central Asia, and is in the onion family. It is widely used around the world in cooking and has a distinctive pungent taste and aroma.
Garlic has also been used for thousands of years for medicinal and health-giving purposes. It is mentioned in the Bible, and we know that it was used medicinally by the ancient Egyptians. In some cultures and civilisations, garlic was even worshipped as a deity, and its use in magic and ritual has been widespread.
Today, garlic is a common home remedy for many ailments. It contains the organic sulphur compound allicin, which is what gives garlic its taste and smell. Allicin is known to have antibacterial and antiviral properties – people commonly eat garlic or take garlic supplements in a bid to strengthen the immune system and to ward off colds.
Studies have shown that allicin can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and it is being investigated for its role in cardiovascular health.
Garlic is a good source of selenium, which helps with mood regulation, and the sulphur in garlic has been shown to help detoxify the body, particularly following heavy metal exposure.