Garlic is one of the most sought after ingredient in Indian cookery as it is very healthy and food tastes better with a little garlic in it. It belongs to the onion family and is not only useful in food preparations but also used as a herb, a medicinal plant, an antiseptic, and in the cosmetic industry.
Garlic contains a volatile oil called allyl sulphide and its medicinal properties depend on it. Garlic can be eaten raw in order to reduce nasal congestion as well as to help relieve the other symptoms of cold. It is used both as a flavouring and seasoning in the preparation of soups, sauces, and pickles. In Spain and Italy, it is used in combination with almost every food. Garlic bread is one such food which is relished by many.
Garlic has been held in high esteem for its health building qualities from time immemorial. Herbalists and naturopaths regard garlic as something of a miracle food and use it as a remedy for dozens of complaints, ranging from asthma to arthritis. Scientists have shown that the compounds in garlic are good for the heart, they lower blood pressure, suppress cholesterol production in the liver, reduce harmful cholesterol and raise levels of the beneficial high density lipoproteins in the blood.
It is also frequently recommended for lactating women to increase the milk production as it is considered a galactagogue. However, the principal drawback to eating garlic is that it makes the breath smell. But, chewing a sprig of fresh parsley is claimed to rid the breath of garlic odour.