Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae
Garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as the time that the Giza pyramids were built.
Garlic is still grown in Egypt, but the Syrian variety is the kind most esteemed now
Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and the Talmud. Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder, and Dioscorides all mention the use of garlic for many conditions, including parasites, respiratory problems, poor digestion, and low energy.
It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes and, by the African peasantry
Garlic was rare in traditional English cuisine (though it is said to have been grown in England before 1548) and has been a much more common ingredient in Mediterranean Europe.
Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate (Theophrastus, Characters, The Superstitious Man); and according to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths.
Medicinal use and health benefits
garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity.
Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.
cardiovascular benefits of garlic , :
reduce accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls
reduce aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol
inhibite vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.
Allium sativum has been found to reduce platelet aggregation and hyperlipidemia.
The known vasodilative effect of garlic is possibly caused by
catabolism of garlic-derived polysulfides to hydrogen sulfide in red blood cells, a reaction that is dependent on reduced thiols in or on the RBC membrane. Hydrogen sulfide is an endogenous cardioprotective vascular cell-signaling molecule.
Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Regular and prolonged use of therapeutic amounts of aged garlic extracts lower blood homocysteine levels and has shown to prevent some complications of diabetes mellitus.
People taking insulin should not consume medicinal amounts of garlic without consulting a physician.
Garlic cloves are used as a remedy for infections (especially chest problems), digestive disorders, and fungal infections such as thrush.
Garlic has been used reasonably successfully in AIDS patients to treat cryptosporidium in an uncontrolled study in China.
It has also been used by at least one AIDS patient to treat toxoplasmosis, another protozoal disease.