Garlic, or Allium sativum, is a member of the onion genus, Allium, and is close relatives to the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Garlic has actually been used for over 7000 years! It is native to central Asia but has been notably successful in the Mediterranean for almost as long, where it has been used both as a food and as traditional medicine. Did you know that garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene in World Wars I and II? Yep, this herb has totally potent antimicrobial properties!
Like most spices, garlic really has no appreciable nutrition in normal doses. But, in high doses, it has rich amounts of vitamins B6 and C as well as the minerals manganese and phosphorus. It also contains good amounts of vitamins B1 and B5 and the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc. However, you’d have to eat a lot of garlic to get that amount!
Interestingly, research has demonstrated that taking garlic supplements may help with cardiovascular health (specifically, lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol). Some epidemiological work has also shown garlic consumption to be associated with reduced risk of stomach cancer and prostate cancer. And, there’s an old folk remedy that garlic is good for preventing and fighting the common cold!
You can pick up fresh garlic from your local grocery store.