Garlic, or Allium sativa, is an edible bulb related to the other alliums, such as onions, shallots, leeks, and chives. This humble vegetable has been making our breath stinky and our food delicious for so long now that we often take it for granted.
Keep reading for some particularly pungent facts about garlic!
Garlic has historically been used to treat a wide range of health problems
People in the ancient era weren’t just growing garlic to eat. In fact, in some cultures, it was more likely grown more as a medicine than as anything else! Folk medicine in Greece, Rome, China, Japan, and Egypt attributed many healing properties to this smelly plant. It was used to treat arthritis, persistent coughs, insect and snake bites, parasites, and even as an antibiotic.
You can make glue from garlic
While these days, you might only turn to garlic glue when all other options have come up short, it was historically used as a glue of choice for certain artisans dating as far back as the 13th century.
Garlic glue is perfect for fine, delicate work such as gilding, as in attaching gold or silver leaf to objects. It’s not quite as strong as super glue, but it’s a good option if you apply anything to paper, leather, or glass.
People have been using garlic for at least 4,000 years
The earliest archaeological records of garlic date back to about 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Records of garlic also go back at least a few thousand years in Egypt and China, with preserved garlic found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. It’s also been historically consumed by ancient Greeks and Romans of all classes.
The easiest way to avoid the smell of garlic is to eat more of it
As avid garlic fans, we find it difficult to sympathize with those who complain about its odor. We will, however, divulge a little secret. If you eat garlic regularly, you’re far less likely to notice the smell of it. You might have to make a pact with your family and close friends to all do the same, or you’ll just pass the problem onto someone else.
China produces 80% of the world’s garlic
This almost makes sense when you consider how significant garlic has been for China for thousands of years. Still, 80% – 25.4 million tons – is a wildly large number! What’s even more insane is that this number would be far higher if the US and the EU didn’t heavily tax Chinese garlic to give local garlic farmers a chance at the market.
Garlic can be used as a natural pesticide and fungicide
You don’t have to use garlic cloves, as the entire plant can be used. There are a few different ways to prepare a garlic-based pesticide, but they all involve smashing up some garlic, mixing it with a few drops of soap, and letting it sit in water for a while. The results are highly potent, with just a little bit of garlic going a long way!
Garlic has miraculous cold prevention properties
Garlic supplements have been proven time and time again to boost your immune system significantly, so don’t be afraid to be a little more heavy-handed with garlic in winter. One study, in particular, showed that participants who took garlic supplements were 70% less likely to catch a cold, reducing the length of the cold by up to 70%.