Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garlic: A 360º Report in Vampirism

Today I felt like writing about something completely different from the usual stuff. This is a report based mainly in to the understanding of "garlic". By now you must be thinking, why garlic? WTH! happened to pseudo-science? Well, to not get confused with the subject. Garlic plays a very interesting role in spiritual and religious believes that have been around even before Van Helsing came with the idea of using garlic as a weapon against Count Dracula.

But, before beginning to explain and comment about the insubordination of garlic I would like to make a brief introduction to garlic for those who are not very familiar with it.

Allium Sativum, commonly known as "GARLIC" is a species in the onion family alliance. It's close relatives with the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Throughout history garlic has been used for culinary and medical purposes.

Now, let's make a really brief explanation about the history of this sativum.

To begin with, garlic, comes from old English "garleac", meaning "spear leek". DATING back over 6,000 years ago, it is a native of Central Asia, and has long been staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Egyptians used to worshiped garlic and placed clay models of garlic bulbs in the tomb of Tutankhamen. garlic was so highly prized, it was even used as currency.

(Can you imagine! Client: "I would like two pints of beer please" Bartender:"Sure! it would be 5 garlic cloves") ROFL!

Going far forward after the Egyptians. Garlic was frowned upon foodie snobs in the United States until the first quarter of the twentieth century, being found almost exclusively in ethic dishes in working-class neighborhoods. But, in 1940, America had embraced garlic, finally recognizing its value as not only a minor seasoning, but as a major ingredient in recipes. Quaint diner slang of the 1920's referred to garlic as "Bronx vanilla, halitosis, and Italian perfume". Today, American alone consumes more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually.

(That's a lot of garlic in 1 year for 1 country).

Garlic may be applied to breads to create a variety of classic dishes such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crustini and canapé. Oils are often flavored with garlic cloves. These infused oils are used to season all categories of vegetables, meats, breads and pasta.

So, imagine how much stuff garlic is used just in culinary arts today. But we have to remember that garlic is not only used for gastronomic purposes. A lot of people use garlic in cooking without knowing that this herb has quite a few medical uses. AFTER some considered garlic as evil and BEFORE garlic had an important role in WWII even though penicillin had been discovered. Garlic was known to aid digestion, ward off colds, infections, expel worms, ease chest congestion, help alleviate rheumatism and cleanse the intestines, as well as hardening of the arteries, sinus problems, skin complexion, and hay fever if taken in capsule form in regular basis.

(LOL,to avoid problems. Please consult your physician for further details before taking any capsules. I don't want people dead because of what you read here. LOL).

By now, you must be asking. So how in the world Count Dracula suffered big time when garlic was around? Well, this is a very interesting question. Sadly I couldn't ask Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia personally why he hated so much the garlic. But, there is some theories about why Dracula hated garlic so much.
One theory is that garlic has been known as a mosquito repellent for centuries. Is kind of obvious that, knowing that mosquitoes suck your blood and transmit diseases thanks to their feeding tube. Is very tentative to associate a mosquito with Drake. Of course, if a mosquito has a feeding tube, Drake has his long fangs. If a mosquito sucks blood, Drake sucks blood. If a mosquito transmits malaria, Drake transmits vampirism. If in the folklore of garlic about mosquitoes being repelled by garlic was true, the folklore of garlic about Drake being repelled by garlic was also true.

(So, if you ate a clove of garlic and you have stinky breath, you are protected against vampires and mosquitoes ROTFLOL!!!).

But, all of this folklore about garlic is kind of missing something. What in the world makes garlic so special? Well, is very interesting. When you crush a garlic or also called Allim Sativum it yields "allicin" a powerful antibiotic and anti fugal compound (phytoncide). That is why garlic is so good with almost everything (Even Vampires). The taste and smell of garlic is thanks to a large number of sulfur compounds, this compounds. The most important compounds found in garlic for the taste and flavor are "Diallyl disulfide" for the odor component and "Allicin" for the hot sensation of raw garlic. 

Maybe Drake hated the components from the bottom of his heart!

In addition, when the garlic is crushed it releases this chemicals to open thermo TRP (Trasient receptor potential) channels that are responsible for the burning sense of heat in foods. The process of cooking garlic removes allicin, thus mellowing its spiciness. (A reason why garlic powder is not as strong than raw garlic).

Also, this well known phenomenon of "garlic breath" is alleged to be alleviated by eating parsley. However, some people regards this as a myth- it is no more effective than chewing any other substance (such as chewing gum).

But not to panic! if chewing parsley doesn't fix the stinky breath we must remember that garlic was a force for both, good and evil!!!! Though it is not mentioned in the bible, a Christian myth considers that after SATAN left the Garden of Eden, garlic arose in his left foot print and onion in the right. ROFLMAO!!!xD. 

But does garlic gives you gas? It can! garlic and its cousins the leek and onion, are high in inulin, a pro-biotic soluble fiber in the form of a fructose polymer that is indigestible by the human starch enzymes amylase and ptyalin; it passes straight through the human digestive system, unless digested by something else along the way. if it is digested by bacteria in the colon, gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen may be produced as a result. It`s worth nothing that garlic, leek and onion widely considered to be beneficial herbs that stimulate good health in the cultures where they are widely used. One hypothesis is because their high inulin content stimulates pro-biotic growth. 

(This brings back memories of a very recognizable saying which was: "He may forget your name, but he'll know you've been there".)

Any way, garlic has many myths an legends surrounding it (one of the main reasons I wrote about it). After all this report about vampires and garlic I learned that the effective use of garlic is no longer a myth anymore. Hey!! garlic was eaten to fight off the plague in Europe! 

So the next time you need to treat your body right consider garlic as an all around healing option.  The only side effect of garlic is "garlic breath". But I repeat talk to your doctor FIRST!!!

1 comment:

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