Scientific Name:Allium sativum
About this Herb:Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Garlic is a bulb and can grow up to 2 feet tall. It produces hermaphrodite flowers and pollination occurs by insects and bees. The Wild Garlic, Crow Garlic, and Field Garlic of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. In North America, Allium vineale (known as Wild Garlic or Crow Garlic) and Allium canadense, known as Meadow Garlic or Wild Garlic and Wild Onion, are common weeds in many fields. One of the best-known "garlics", the so-called Elephant Garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum), and not a true garlic. Single clove garlic (also called Pearl or Solo Garlic) originated in the Yunnan province of China.
The leaves are long, narrow and flat like grass. The bulb (the only part eaten) is of a compound nature, consisting of numerous bulblets, known technically as 'cloves,' grouped together between the membraneous scales and enclosed within a whitish skin, which holds them as in a sac.
The flowers are placed at the end of a stalk rising direct from the bulb and are whitish, grouped together in a globular head, or umbel, with an enclosing kind of leaf or spathae, and among them are small bulbils.
Common Names:Wild Garlic, Crow Garlic, Field Garlic, Meadow Garlic, Wild Onion, Pearl Garlic, Solo Garlic, Allium, Stinking Rose, Rustic Treacle, Nectar of the Gods, Camphor of the Poor, Poor Man's Treacle
Uses:Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, garlic bulbs are normally divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Garlic cloves are used for consumption (raw or cooked) or for medicinal purposes. They have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking.
Today garlic is used to help prevent heart disease, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries (plaque buildup in the arteries that can block the flow of blood and may lead to heart attack or stroke), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and to boost the immune system. Garlic may also help protect against cancer.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help destroy free radicals -- particles that can damage cell membranes and DNA, and may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause over time.
Applications:Eating: As much as can be tolerated, raw or cooked.
Syrup: A remedy for asthma, that was formerly most popular, is a syrup of Garlic, made by boiling the bulbs till soft and adding an equal quantity of vinegar to the water in which they have been boiled, and then sugared and boiled down to a syrup. The syrup is then poured over the boiled bulbs, which have been allowed to dry meanwhile, and kept in a jar. Each morning a bulb or two is to be taken, with a spoonful of the syrup.
Syrup made by melting 1 1/2 OZ. of lump sugar in 1 OZ. of the raw expressed juice may be given to children in cases of coughs without inflammation.