BY NISSAR H. GILANI
Remember Grandmother popping in a clove of garlic every other day? I do. And how I would keep a distance from her during slicing. She would make a fine chop, with her knife skills. With it’s pungent smell I would always feel nauseated. But who knew that it was the garlic that kept many of the elders even youngsters healthy enough alike.
But of course, the ancient Egyptians, the ones who built the pyramids of Giza believed so strongly in the health benefits of the wonder vegetable, besides in the power of garlic to ward off evil spirits that they would chew it before making a journey at night. With foul smelling breath, creating a radius of odor so strong, they believed, that evil spirits would not penetrate it. Or Chinese for that matter. Garlic, it seems was first mentioned in ancient China in 510 AD. It is also native to central Asia and north eastern Iran, and has long been in use worldwide.
The spice also finds its mention in the holy Bible. Famous physician like, HIPPOCRATES, and many others, all mentioned health benefits of garlic and would be used for elimination of parasitic infections, Respiratory problems, poor digestion, etc.
Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at cross roads, Road junctions, boundaries, as a super for Hecate. A similar practice of hanging garlic, along with red chilli at the door or in a shop to ward off potential evil, a ritual that’s is very common in India and Nepal.
According to Pliny the elder, a Roman author, the Egyptians at the taking of Oaths invoked Garlic and onions as deities. The long and short of it, is garlic is not just a part of food or medicine but also of some deep seated religious and mythological benefits and practices.
Here in Kashmir it is popular and widely consumed. During marriages and other functions in ‘Wazwan ‘preparations it’s lavishly used, at the times giving the recipes, a garlic haze.
PROVEN HEALTH BENEFITS OF GARLIC
According to studies, garlic has been used safely in Research for up to 7 years. It is proved beyond doubt, for its Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral properties. Garlic is said to prevent Herat diseases and cancer. Garlic is used as a home remedy for acne. And it is a natural effective mosquito repellent.
Scientists have found that Allicin, an unstable compound is briefly present in in fresh garlic that has Antiviral, antifungal and antiparastic properties, besides other active compounds in garlic can reduce Blood pressure.
Garlic supplements help prevent and reduce the severity of common cold, can lower cholesterol. Garlic also contains Antioxidants that support the body’s immune system against oxidative damage, so maybe helpful in prevention of Alzheimers disease and dementia. Garlic has also been found to be helpful to those dealing with importance. Beware you brush teeth afterwards to see if the spice actually works.
Since garlic now we know has so many health benefits, include it on priority in your diet, for peak nutrition and good health.
Nisar Geelani can be reached at [email protected]