Garlic is one of the oldest known medicinal plants, and it's been credited with fighting heart disease, lowering blood pressure and helping to fight off colds. Michele Simmons reports.
The therapeutic qualities of garlic are nothing new. Sanskrit records reveal that garlic remedies were pressed into service in India 5,000 years ago, while Chinese medicine has recognised garlic's powers for over 3,000 years. Although Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely took over from garlic, World War One overwhelmed the capacity and garlic was again, the antibiotic of choice.
So, what is it about garlic that makes it such a boon to our health? When cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulphur-bearing compound called allicin - the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it's the allicin that scientists have discovered is the magic ingredient thought to be responsible for garlic's therapeutic qualities.