Garlic (lat. Allium sativum) is a small allium vegetable, also called the stinking rose. Native to central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and has been grown for over 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians seem to have been the first to cultivate this plant that played an important role in their culture. Garlic was not only bestowed with sacred qualities and placed in the tomb of Pharaohs, but it was given to the slaves that built the Pyramids to enhance their endurance and strength. This strength-enhancing quality was also honoured by the ancient Greeks and Romans, civilizations whose athletes ate garlic before sporting events and whose soldiers consumed it before going off to war.
Throughout the millennia, garlic has been a beloved plant in many cultures for both its culinary and medicinal properties. Over the last few years, it has gained unprecedented popularity since researchers have been scientifically validating its numerous health benefits. Garlic is rich in a variety of powerful sulfur-containing compounds including thiosulfinates, sulfoxides and dithiins which are responsible for garlic’s characteristically pungent odor.
The world’s largest producer of garlic is China, with about 77% of total world production.
The major role of garlic is in disease prevention, which means that with inclusion of garlic in daily diet we help the body to resist certain diseases and changes, for example cardiovascular diseases, tumors, heart attack. Garlic inhibits the growth of bacteria and successfully destroys viruses and fungi, and it’s very effective as a remedy for colds and fever and various skin fungal infections. It lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, stimulates circulation and prevents stroke.
Depending upon its variety, garlic can be planted in autumn and spring. Autumn planting is just carried out, until wheather conditions allow it. Autumn garlic overwinters and next year it develops vegetative mass and bulb. Unlike spring, autumn garlic has larger and wider leaves, and large bulb with a smaller number of large cloves in bulb. For good farming and high yields, it needs lighter, alluvial, well-drained soil with good structure, slightly acidic or neutral pH soil reaction. It’s also important to perform proper fertilization and make pest and disease protection on time.
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