Garlic is a bit like Marmite for the Brits and Vegemite for the Aussies – you either love it or hate it.

It has been known throughout history, for it’s antiseptic and gastronomic properties, but is also recognised for its health and medicinal benefits and is also thought to be a aphrodisiac, although, I guess that both consenting partners need to be garlic consenting too.

There are garlic societies, which meet up and eat multi-course meals consisting even of desserts made from garlic!

The word “Garlic” comes from the old English ‘Garleac” meaning ‘spear leek’ – the word in French is ‘ail’ (almost pronounced like ‘I’ in English).

The French origin comes from the latin, “Allium” – “Agilis” in Ancient Greek (the modern Greek name is ‘Skordo’) and “Aluh” in Sanskrit. The Latin name has its origin in the Provençal language, where it was called “Alh” or “Aill” from the catalan “All” or the Spanish “Ajo” and the French name “Ail” emanates from the 18th century.

One of the most notable ‘garlics’ in France is the Pink Garlic of Lautrec – “L’ail rose de Lautrec” in South west France, not far from Toulouse – which is an AOC (Appélation d’Origine Controllée) but there are white and purple strains available, from elsewhere.

In the south of France and Spain, whole cloves of garlic are pickled in brine and eaten at the aperitif – delicious!

So there are some of the origins of the ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ garlic, here a few facts :

1. According to Christian mythology, when Satan left the Garden of Eden, garlic grew from his left footprint.

2. Garlic has been used as a repellant for evil – including vampires (So that must be why it is so good with stake…)

3. Garlic is believed to repel insects such as mosquitos, mites and fleas

4. In the middle ages, people ate whole cloves of garlic in attempt to ward of the Black Death

5. Louis Pasteur promoted the antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-viral qualities of garlic in 1858

6. Garlic was used to replace the depleted stocks of sulfur for the treating of wounded soldiers during WWI

7. Hippocrates (him of the Hippocratic Oath) used garlic in an attempt to treat cancerous tumours.

8. April 19th is national Garlic day

9. Alliumphobia is the name given to the fear of garlic

10. The odour of garlic can be removed from the fingers by rubbing a stainless steel object under cold water.

11. Crushed garlic mixed in water is a good green alternative to a chemical aphid killer when sprayed on rose bushes.

12. In ancient Greece, brides carried bouquets of garlic and herbs and not flowers.

13. Garlic is a good remedy for colds and flu

14. Garlic is known to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels

15. The greater health benefits from garlic are attained by chewing raw garlic

16. Garlic contains the probiotic “Inuline” which helps stimulate beneficial digestive bacteria, which helps digestion.

17. Garlic has been used by Man as long ago as 4,000 BC

18. There are over 300 varieties of garlic grown throughout the world

19. Garlic contains only 4 calories per clove

20. Egyptian slaves built the Pyramids on a diet of Garlic, Bread and Water.

21. Garlic is a member of the lily family

22. Garlic was used, in Medieval times, as a cure for drunkeness and over-eating

23. Garlic contains 17 amino acids

24. China produces around 66% of the World’s garlic

25. Chicago was named after the American Indian word for the wild garlic that grew around Lake Michigan - “chicagaoua”.

If you have any other facts about garlic, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below – we will be posting a delicious recipe for Chicken with Garlic in the food section of this blog.

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