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Garlic, Alium sativum / Liliaceae (Alliaceae)
Benefits for the health
Although the garlic supplies some vitamins and minerals, its benefits are generated by the diverse sulphured substances contained in it, operating in the digestive and respiratory apparatus, circulation, etc. It also prevents against some types of cancers.

The garlic is basically composed of water and carbohydrates. It contains a small amount of proteins, and it hardly supplies lipids. Concerning vitamins, is stands out for its content in vitamin C, B1 and B3. It also contains minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium.

The most interesting components of garlic are those containing sulphur. The chief one is allicin, that gives rise to diallyle disulphide, the main component of the garlic essential oil; there are more than 75 sulphured compounds of garlic.

The garlic is beneficial at different levels. On the one hand, it stimulates the gastrointestinal mucous, increasing the glandular and bile secretion. It also contributes to the elimination of the intestine injurious bacteria. It has an antiseptic and bactericidal effect, and therefore its consumption is recommended in case of intestinal parasitism and dysentery.

At a respiratory level, the garlic increases the bronchial secretions, it is expectorant and disinfectant, contributing to treat congestion.

The garlic causes the peripheral vessel dilatation of arterioles and capillaries, reason why it helps to reduce the blood pressure and to diminish pulsation. Besides, it contributes to diminish the levels of the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’, so it is recommended against arterial hypertension, tachicardia, arteriosclerosis and hyperlipidaemia.

In the last few years it has been proved that there are some components of garlic that prevent against the development of some types of cancer. It is also beneficial for the joints and rheumatism.

However, the contraindications must not be forgotten. It may be flatulent if there is a shortage of gastric juice and it may produce heartburn in the mouth, stomach and oesophagus, as well as migraine and dermatitis by contact.
Popular tradition
Garlic has been given medicinal properties since the Egyptians times. There exist various traditional recipes to treat depression, hypertension or even to cure warts.

Already in Egypt, towards the XV B.C., in one of the first known medicine treatise, there are 22 recipes with garlic. It is depurative, invigorating and revitalising, among other properties beneficial for the organism. It is also anti-rheumatic and anti-carcinogenic, and it prevents gout.

Among some of the traditional recipes in which garlic are used we find the maceration of garlic and vinegar against depression and garlic and onion against hypertension. The ivy and garlic plasters help to remove the calluses and nails of the feet; the honey water mixed with garlic is even used to fight sexual impotence.

A tincture of garlic reduces the blood pressure, the broth stimulates blood circulation; the antiseptic juice is for external use. The garlic balm eliminates the worms and the digestive disorders. There are multiple recipes that can be applied to treat various ailments and pathologies, like warts, ear taps or poisonous bites.
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