What are the magical qualities of garlic?

          Man has been using garlic since ancient times to add flavour to food. Garlic has a powerful smell and a pungent taste. The Roman soldiers believed that it helped them in being more courageous and stronger so they made it a point to include it in their regular diet. In the Middle Ages garlic was eaten as a defence against the plague. It was also worn on the body to ward off evil spirits.

          It is only a few years ago that man discovered its medicinal importance. Its bulb contains an antibiotic called allium.

          It has antiseptic properties and is used for curing intestinal disorders. It is highly effective in controlling high blood pressure. It is also being used as an effective remedy for heart ailments and cough.

          Some people crush it and rub it on the skin as a cure against insect bites and stings. Some people make syrup out of it and drink it to cure cold. Gardeners put garlic in the soil around peach trees, to discourage borer from entering and damaging the trees.

          Garlic plant is native to Europe and Asia but it also grows wild in Italy and Southern France. Garlic produces two types of bulbs or bulbets. The aerial bulbets produced on the flower stalk are used as seeds to new plants. It is grown as an annual crop. The underground bulbs, called cloves, are the one sold in shops. They are formed at the base of the plant much like an onion. One bulb encloses up to 20 bulbets. Garlic contains about 0.1% essential oil, the principal components of which are diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisul-fide and allyl propyl disulfide.