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Friday, January 18, 2019

Garlic is not just a spice

GARLIC seems to be an indispensable crop. It is the basic ingredient among the spices. I don’t know if there is any chef who does not make use of it.

During my college days, we planted garlic as an experiment on adaptability since it is normally grown only in Ilocos region and we learned that we can also grow garlic in Negros Occidental.

When I was doing field work, an adaptability test or field trial was also done by our Research Division. The results were not bad.

However, Negros farmers have not adapted planting this crop as well as the bulb onion grown by one farmer in my area of assignment before. Later, I found out he was an Ilocano farmer married to a Negrosanon.

Garlic is expensive because of this mentality. Thinking that it is not a Negros crop deprived us of lower prices. But mind you, we have lots of areas here in the province that can be a garlic haven. I am encouraging farmers who are adept at planting cash crops to try garlic for more reasons than one.

Why is garlic so indispensable? Again, it is not just for cooking but also used as herbal medicine. I am biased to herbal crops and others that can be used not just for food but for medicine as well. The lecture of Doctor Albert Jo always reminds me: “Let your food be your medicine, your medicine your food.”

Garlic is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. A remedy using garlic was found on a Sumerian clay tablet which dates back to 3000 B.C. Ayurvedic practitioners prescribed garlic liberally for cancer and leprosy. When the British came to India, leprosy became known as “peel garlic” because of the frequent sight of lepers peeling and eating garlic cloves.

Garlic is a pungent, sweet bulb with healing and drying qualities. It is an excellent stimulant, carminative, and expectorant. The juice is disinfectant, rejuvenative, and antispasmodic. It has a rejuvenating effect on all tissues and systems: digestive, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, and circulatory.

Garlic has been used to treat a broad spectrum of ailments, including but not limited to nerve rejuvenation, colds, skin disease, parasites, joint problems and arthritis, cysts and growths, and fluid retention. Like onion, garlic helps eliminate lead and other heavy metals from the body. It is beneficial to diabetics and those with cancer problems.

Garlic cloves can be chewed, cooked, powdered, taken as a tea, decoction, infusion in food, and as infused oil. It can be used with other herbs like ginger, black pepper, cumin, coriander, and eucalyptus.
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