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One must be very suspicious of anyone who does not eat garlic.

Roman Proverb

Folklore concerning garlic is often proven fact - it is documented in many ancient books and inscriptions. In ancient times, people used to eat garlic before making a journey at night. It made them belch and gives one a foul breath. The primitive belief was that evil spirits would not come within the radius of that powerful smell. 

The Koreans of old ate pickled garlic before passing through a mountain path, believing that tigers disliked it. In the birth myth of Tan'gun (the founder of the Korean nation), the fact that a tiger was the animal not to have been metamorphosed into a human being seems to have been based on this belief.

The entire ancient world loved garlic - particularly the Egyptians, who used to swear on garlic in much the same way as we swear on the Bible today. Egyptian slaves were given a daily ration of garlic, as it was believed to ward off illness and to increase strength and endurance. During the reign of King Tut, fifteen pounds of garlic would buy a healthy male slave. Indeed, when King Tut's tomb was excavated, there were bulbs of garlic found scattered throughout the rooms. When Moses led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt (around 1,200BC), they complained of missing the finer things in life - fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic.

The Greeks had ideas of their own on the virtues of garlic. Greek athletes would take copious amounts of garlic before competition, and Greek soldiers would consume garlic before going into battle. It became custom for Greek midwives to hang garlic cloves in birthing rooms to keep the evil spirits away. As the centuries passed, this ancient custom became commonplace in most European homes.

Hippocrates (300BC) recommended garlic for infections, wounds, cancer, leprosy, and digestive disorders. Dioscorides praised it for its use in treating heart problems, and Pliny listed the plant in 61 remedies for a wide variety of ailments ranging from the common cold to leprosy, epilepsy and tapeworm.

During World War 1, the Russian army used garlic to treat wounds incurred by soldiers on the Front Line. Although Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1928 largely replaced garlic at home, the war effort overwhelmed the capacity of most antibiotics, and garlic was again the antibiotic of choice. The Red Army physicians relied so heavily on garlic that it became known as the "Russian Penicillin".

Today, garlic is used by herbalists for a wide variety of illnesses including high cholesterol, colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis, fever, ringworm and intestinal worms, and liver, gallbladder, and digestive problems. Several scientific papers have been published in the last two years which strongly indicate that garlic is highly efficient in preventing heart disease and cancer, and even reducing the severity of established cancer. Maybe the saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away' should be replaced with 'a clove a day keeps the doctor away'!

Mars owns this herb....  Its heat is very vehement, therefore let it be taken inwardly with great moderation; outwardly you may make more bold with it."