Garlic is a strange thing! Did you know that it originated in Asia but its name comes Anglo-Saxon? That’s strange but not really strange enough!
In this article on garlic facts, we are going to look into 60 amazing facts about this amazing food that nature has to offer to the whole of humanity (and some animals too)! So, let’s begin…
Scientific Classification of Garlic:
|Binomial Name||Allium sativum|
Nutritional Information on Garlic (1 cup serving (100 grams)):
Okay, now that we have the necessary information, let us jump on the garlic’s nutritional information.
|COMPONENT||NUTRITIONAL VALUE||% OF DAILY VALUE (DV)|
|Total Fat||0.5 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.1 g||5.5%|
|—Pantothenic acid||0.596 mg||12%|
|—Vitamin A||9 IU||1%|
|—Vitamin C||31.2 mg||52%|
|—Vitamin E||0.08 mg||0.5%|
|—Vitamin K||1.7 µg||1.5%|
Garlic Facts: 1-5
1. Did you know that the King James Bible mentions garlic only once in the Book of Numbers 11:5?
2. There are some people who are really afraid of garlic. This is basically a phobia and there is a technical term for it. It is called ‘Alliumphobia’.
3. Did you know that brides in ancient Greece didn’t carry flower bouquets? Well, you guessed it almost right! Their bouquets consisted of garlic but not just garlic! The bouquets also had other herbs!
4. ‘Chicagaoua’ is a Native American word for a variant of wild garlic. It is this word from where the name Chicago has been derived!
Garlic Facts: 6-10
6. Garlic originated in Central Asia however, its name is derived from two Anglo-Saxon words. Those two words are ‘Gar’ and ‘Lac’. Gar means spear and Lac means plant. These two words are believed to be the source of garlic’s name simply because its leaves are spear-shaped.
7. At around 46 billion pounds a year, China leads the world in terms of garlic production. 2/3rd of the world’s garlic is produced in China!
8. In the USA, there is something called National Garlic Day. It is celebrated on April 19 every year.
9. Don’t like the garlic smell on your fingers? There’s a simple trick to get rid of it. Place your fingers underneath cold running water, grab a stainless steel object and rub your fingers with it. Voila! The smell will be gone.
10. In the whole of the USA, California is the largest garlic producer, accounting for 90% of total garlic production of America.
Garlic Facts: 11-15
11. Leeches have an uncanny attraction towards garlic. A hand smothered with garlic will attract leeches in just 14.9 seconds while a hand not covered in garlic will attract those suckers in 44.9 seconds!
12. It is believed that in ancient Egypt, the builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza were given garlic to eat so that they can get endurance and strength.
13. Not just that! Greek Soldiers and even Olympic athletes were given good amounts of garlic before a battle or a match respectively so that their performances improved.
14. Garlic cloves’ sticky juice is a surprisingly good bonding agent for delicate objects such as glass. However, it works well only for smaller jobs.
15. Heard of Gojoseon? It was an ancient Korean Kingdom. Gojoseon had a foundation myth which stated that a bear can be easily transformed into a woman by feeding it with a Korean mugwort bundle and 20 garlic cloves straight for 100 days!
Garlic Facts: 16-20
16. In Central European folklore, garlic used to be a power agent for warding off vampires, werewolves and demons. How to use it? Rub garlic on keyholes and chimneys or hang garlic cloves on windows or simply wear a garlic necklace (or wear it in some other ornamental design)!
17. In those countries where Nowruz is celebrated, garlic is one of the Seven-Seen table items. Nowruz is New Year in Persian calendar and Seven-Seen is a traditional display during New Year.
18. There are some Buddhist traditions in which garlic (plus another 5 pungent spices) is thought to be stimulants of aggressive behavior and sexual desires and hence, eating garlic is forbidden. Consumption of the other 5 pungent spices is also forbidden.
19. Muslims are not allowed to go to mosques right after eating garlic. This law is based on several hadiths.
20. In Hinduism, garlic is considered to warm up one’s body and also stimulate it. It is because of this, many devout Hindus avoid using garlic and even onion (related to garlic) in preparation of food.
Garlic Facts: 21-25
21. Nepal’s Deepak Sharma Bajagain holds the world record of eating the most number of garlic cloves in a single minute. He ate 34 cloves. He achieved the record in 2009 on December 1.
22. In the book ‘Dracula’ authored by Bram Stoker, garlic has been mentioned 21 times. In all works of Shakespeare taken together, garlic has been mentioned only 4 times!
23. During WWII, garlic was given a nickname. Can you guess it? Okay, here is the name: “Russian Penicillin”.
24. Where did the name “Russian Penicillin” come from? During WWII, Russian soldiers ran out of penicillin and they literally started using crushed garlic in place of the medicine. That practice earned garlic its moniker.
25. Cultivation of garlic started some 4,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest and first herbs to be cultivated by humans.
Garlic Facts: 26-30
26. As a food flavoring agent, the use of garlic dates as far back as 7,000 BCE. Archaeological findings reveal that it was pretty much in use during the Neolithic times.
27. Did you know that garlic is considered both a vegetable and a herb?
28. In Stockholm, Sweden, there is a restaurant called ‘Garlic and Shots’. Specialty of the restaurant? Everything you find on the menu has garlic as an ingredient, and that includes even the desserts! Yes, they offer garlic ice cream and garlic cheesecake.
29. Your rose garden has an aphid infestation? Here is a quick remedy: “crush a few cloves of garlic, mix it with water and spray on the plants and flower”. That’s all! Infestation will be gone!
Garlic Facts: 31-35
31. Thromboembolism Prevention: Thromboembolism is a condition where blood vessels get clogged or obstructed by blood clots that detached from some other place and were carried to a different location by the process of circulation of blood.
Indian scientists have conducted a study and found that consuming 10 mg of raw garlic every day prior to breakfast continuously for two months can effectively prevent thromboembolism.
32. Blood Sugar Regulation: Kuwaiti scientists claim via an experiment on laboratory animal models that consumption of raw garlic (as opposed to cooked garlic) helps to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels significantly.
This in turn, prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of artery walls) by hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). 3-4 raw garlic cloves a day will do the trick.
33. Bone Health Improvement: In two independent studies conducted, the following results were found:
- Garlic oil suppresses bone resorption induced by ovariectomy. Study
- Diallyl Disulfide present in garlic is responsible for suppressing enzymes that degrade matrix, and hence, prevents bone damage. Study
34. Bad Cholesterol Lowering: In experiments conducted by American scientists, it has been found that:
- Supplement of aged garlic extract given to hypercholesterolemic male humans helps in reduction of LDL or Bad Cholesterol by up to 10%.
- Garlic helps in inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in liver cells of lab rats.
- Water soluble garlic compounds helped inhibition of cholesterol synthesis anywhere between 20% and 60% as opposed to lipid soluble garlic compounds.
35. Blood Pressure Stabilization: Extracts of mature garlic is known for having ‘S-allyl cysteine’ (aka alliin) – a bioactive sulfur compound. When garlic is cut or crushed, alliin is converted into allicin.
Studies have found that consumption of allicin helps to reduce systolic pressure by 10mmHg and diastolic pressure by 8 mmHg.
Once garlic is heat-treated (cooked), this allicin is destroyed quickly. Hence, consuming raw garlic helps to consume allicin, and hence, reduce and stabilize blood pressure. Study
Garlic Facts: 36-40
36. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Via several studies, scientists have determined that garlic is capable of preventing almost every known cardiovascular disease.
It has been observed to decrease serum triglyceride, lipid and LDL. It has also been found to decrease aggregation of platelet and also increase the activities of antioxidants.
37. Cancer Prevention: It is a known fact that oxidative stress might be a factor behind cancer. Garlic’s diallylsufide is known for inhibition of oxidative stress.
At the same time, selenium content of the food is also charismatic as it can fight cancer, prevent mutation of DNA, prevent metastasis and also prevent uncontrolled proliferation of cells.
Chinese scientists have conducted clinical trials on various cancer patients and have proven that garlic reduces tumor formation chances by as much as 33%.
38. Solving Intestinal Ailments: A healthy digestive system is really important.
Scientists have noted that garlic has the ability of differentiating between good gut bacteria and bad gut bacteria that are present in our intestines and that it is capable of destroying enterobacteria – a harmful one.
39. Combats Oxidative Stress: We have already mentioned that diallylsulfide present in garlic is known for combating oxidative stress.
What we didn’t mention that there are several water-soluble organosulfur compounds present in garlic and these compounds combat risks of atherosclerosis, reduces inflammation and prevent damage of DNA caused by stress due to oxidation.
40. Immunity Boost: Do you know what antioxidants do? They do not only reduce oxidative stress but are also responsible for flushing out various toxins from our body.
In both ways, antioxidants are responsible for prevention of mutation of DNA and disruption of functions of our cells.
Scientific research states that phytonutrients presents in garlic are strong antioxidants and that they also help to improve various types of immune cells that are present in our body. Source
Garlic Facts: 41-45
41. Combating Diabetes: Indian scientists at IICT have figured out that eating garlic can help to not only helps to reduce triglyceride levels, but also reduces blood glucose levels.
In addition to that, the scientists also found that garlic helps to increase insulin sensitivity. The tests were not conducted on humans but on lab rats and the results were positive. Source
42. Yeast Infection Reduction: Whether on accepts it or not, yeast infections are just as embarrassing as they are stressful.
Garlic naturally fights yeast infections and scientific studies state that Candida infections can effectively be fought using fresh garlic extracts.
43. Prevention of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease and Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia.
Garlic has S-allyl-cysteine – a bioactive compound that is known for being neuroprotective and hence, is a good option for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
44. Cold Sore Annihilation: Herpes Simplex Virus is what is responsible for causing blisters or cold sores. These are really painful and attack really sensitive areas like nose, chin and lips.
These blisters can burst and that can be super painful. Double whammy? Yes, cold sores are contagious by nature!
Garlic is known to have powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can collectively treat and prevent blisters. Unfortunately, not enough scientific evidence is present to backup this.
45. Effective Against Common Cold and Asthma: Though we call it common cold, it is really pathetic. Asthma, we all know, is really bad.
An age-old practice of ancient India to treat these conditions was to heat up garlic and mustard oil and use the oil to massage chest, throat and nose.
This special oil is known for clearing up chest congestion due to common cold.
Currently, scientific evidences have been found that hypersensitivity related to asthma can be delayed using garlic and that it is also effective in treating something as annoying as common cold. (Source, Source)
Garlic Facts: 46-50
46. Prevention of Heavy Metal Poisoning: There are several heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury etc. that are not good for our body and can kill us.
They should not be present in our body even in trace quantities. Scientists have dug evidences through experiments on laboratory rats that administering garlic orally can reduce heavy metal levels.
A separate study also found that pickled garlic is far more effective when it comes to lowering levels of cadmium present in body. Guess what? Pickled garlic is super popular in India since…, we don’t know how long!
47. Kidney Infections and UTIs Treatment: A pathogen called P. aeruginosa is responsible for colonizing the walls of the urinary tract and also leads to kidney infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) of recurring nature.
Studies have found that garlic prevents the growth of this particular pathogen. In another study it has been found that garlic is also effective in prevention E.coli growth in the urinary tract. (Source, Source)
48. Takes Care of Eyes: Scientific studies have proven that garlic consumption can effectively lead to reduction of intraocular pressure.
In addition to that, studies have also revealed that garlic can help in prevention of keratitis – an eyesight threatening condition caused by microbes – simply because of its antimicrobial properties.
In another study conducted on laboratory rats, scientists have found that retinal cell apoptosis caused by lead can be prevented using garlic juice. In all cases, it is necessary to consume raw garlic prior to breakfast as cooked garlic loses much of its properties. (Source, Source, Source)
49. Oral Pathogen Annihilation: Periodontitis and dental caries are caused by several pathogens. These pathogens are killed by the active compound allicin that is produced once garlic is cut or crushed.
Scientists used garlic extracts as mouthwash and found it an effective way of combating oral pathogens. In addition to that, scientists also say that toothpastes that have garlic extracts are key to prevention of dental caries. (Source, Source, Source)
50. Improves Fatty Liver: Fatty liver is not a good thing. Excessive fat deposition on liver can kill a person.
Scientists have conducted experiments and found that S-allylmercaptocysteine found in garlic can help to ameliorate liver injury and antioxidative properties of garlic oil help people against non-alcoholic fatty liver. (Source, Source)
Garlic Facts: 51-55
51. Acne Reduction: Talking of garlic health benefits facts, we can never miss out on the cosmetic and beauty aspects, can we?
Garlic has very powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties , it can be used for acne reduction because acne is caused by clogged pores, toxins accumulation as well as bacterial infections. Source
52. Psoriasis Smoothening: To start with, there are no scientific evidences for this. However, it is a known fact that psoriasis (an autoimmune and incurable skin disease) leads to scaly, red and itchy skin in areas such as knees, elbows and scalp.
It is however known that psoriasis is caused by inflammation. The basic logic is that garlic is known for its very powerful anti-inflammatory properties and hence, eating raw garlic cloves is often suggested for smoothening psoriasis.
53. Stretch Mark Removal: It is more like a home remedy that has been used over and again. Massing with hot oil and garlic is said to reduce and get rid of stretch marks quickly. However, there are no scientific evidences to back it up. You can always give it a try!
54. Delaying Aging: One of the primary reasons for premature aging is oxidative stress coupled with genes, unhealthy habits such as smoking and eating junk food, inflammation etc.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties and hence, is capable of scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress.
In addition to that scientists have also found that the active compound called S-allyl-cysteine is responsible for protecting the skin from damage caused by UV rays of Sun. Guess what?
55. Hair Loss Prevention: Bad eating habits, oxidative stress, stress, impure water, pollution – all contributes to hair loss. Scientific research shows when garlic is used with betamethasone valerate, hair loss can be prevented effectively! Source
Garlic Facts: 56-60
56. Athlete’s Foot Treatment: Yeast infection or fungal infection causes athlete’s foot, which also goes by the name tinea pedis. Because garlic has strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties, consuming garlic daily can help to tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot.
57. Weight Loss Aid: This is something everyone wants and garlic is by far the most effective weapon in hand.
It hits right at the very root of the problem by inhibiting expression of adipogenic tissues, reducing bad cholesterol and increasing thermogenesis.
58. Improved Absorption of Zinc and Iron: Many of our cellular functions are dependent on zinc and iron and our body needs to properly absorb both.
Garlic is known to be sulfur-rich and scientists say that sulfur is needed for influencing bioavailability of both the elements. Those people who are zinc and / or iron deficient should consider eating raw garlic everyday! Source
59. Kills Brain Tumor Cells: Glioblastomas is very deadly type of brain tumor.
Medical University of South Carolina scientists have observed that three organo-sulfur compounds from garlic called DATS, DADS and DAS can effectively kill the cells of glioblastomas.
The most effective of the three is the DATS. Source
60. Ethanol/Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury Protection: Scientists from Institute of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Shandong University, China conducted studies where they found that DADS or diallyl disulfide – an organo-sulfur compound of garlic can protect against liver injury caused by ethanol/alcohol. Source