Garlic is a type of plant that people eat for food. It is related to onions, shallots, and leeks. It has a very strong flavour and smell, so people do not use too much of it. Most of the time, people use it as a flavouring to make food taste better. It is used as a herbal medicine in the treatment of cold, flu, heartburn, and sweating. Garlic is divided into many parts called cloves. Because of its strong odour, garlic is sometimes called the "stinking rose". When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner's sweat and garlic breath the following day.
Garlic is not just great to spice up food and treat colds - it also wards off bad spirits. Superstitious people believed that garlic, due to its pungent smell, could be used to keep vampires away.
To ward off vampires, bulbs of garlic were worn around the neck, hung in windows, or rubbed on chimneys and keyholes. To prevent the Evil Eye people used to carry some garlic in their pockets. To protect a newborn baby from evil spirits, some garlic was hung in the room.
Did you know?
- Garlic was called Russian penicillin during World War II because, after running out of antibiotics, the Russian government turned to this ancient treatment for its soldiers.
- Chicago gangsters thought that rubbing bullets in garlic would assure a kill, since the garlic would enter the blood system and finish the victim off if the gunshot didn't. Actually, rubbing the bullets in garlic only sterilized them.