The origin of garlic is not well known, although it is believed to have originated in various countries like England, North America and China among other countries dating back to over 6000 years ago.
It belongs to the onion genus and its relatives are the onion, leek, shallot and chive.
The history of usage of garlic for medicinal purposes dates back to the medieval times when French gravediggers used to drink a concoction to wine and garlic which they believed would protect them from the plague.
Today garlic is regularly taken for cholesterol control.
Though not proven, garlic is thought to help in prevention of cancer.
Garlic occurs naturally in clumps, each individual piece being called a clove.
Garlic is consumed unprocessed in the clove form or in the processed form as capsules.
Garlic is also a very popular cooking ingredient and is used in the cuisine of almost all countries in the world.
Garlic is beneficial in the control of cholesterol levels, thereby making it a very good remedy for all types of cardiovascular disease.
Garlic helps in alleviation of the symptoms of common cold.
Garlic is thought to build up the immune system, enabling the body to .
Research also indicates that garlic has antiparasitic properties for combating tapeworm and roundworm.
Fresh garlic contains a substance called allicin which has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Unless taken in excess, there are no significant side effects of taking garlic. Therefore, it is safe to say that garlic can be taken by anyone, even children. People who would like to build up their immunity and lead a happy and healthy life can take garlic. Heart patients or people with exceptionally high cholesterol levels are likely to get some benefit from taking garlic.
The most harmless yet inconvenient side effect of garlic is that it causes bad breath, due to its pungent odor.
Garlic may cause a burning sensation in the stomach or mouth, and can cause heartburn, nausea and gas.
Regular intake of garlic is known to increase the possibility of bleeding.
Excessive exposure to garlic has been reported to cause asthma.
Although there is no conclusive data available regarding the effects of garlic on breastfeeding, nursing mothers should avoid excessive intake of garlic, just to be on the safe side.
Taken in capsule form, a single capsule a day is usually enough to have some effect. If taken unprocessed, then 1 to 2 cloves of garlic a day should be sufficient.