Garlic (Latin Állium satívum) is a perennial herb; a species of the genus Onion of the Amaryllidaceae family of the Onion subfamily (Allioideae), previously placed in the independent now abolished Onion family (Alliaceae).
A popular vegetable culture among many peoples around the world, which is explained by the sharp taste and characteristic odor associated with the presence of organic sulfides (thioesters) in the plant. Onion slices (“cloves”) are used as seed, used as food (in raw or cooked form, as seasoning). Leaves, arrows and peduncles are also edible and are used mainly in young plants.
Garlic is widely used in medicine due to its antiseptic effect.
Homeland is Central Asia. The cultivation of garlic occurred in the mountainous regions of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, in the north
Iran, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A herbaceous plant 20-100 cm high.
The root system is fibrous.
The bulb is complex, forms in the sinuses of its scales from 2 to 50 bulbs, “children” (commonly referred to as “teeth” or “cloves”), each of which is covered with hard leathery scales. The bulb is rounded, slightly flattened, oval-ribbed towards the middle. Bulbs can be white, yellowish, dark violet, pink-violet. With the help of onions, garlic propagates vegetatively, which is used in culture. External bulbs oblong, thickened in the middle; the outer surface is convex, the inner is concave.
Leaves are not hollow, narrow, lanceolate-elongated, grooved, with a keel on the underside, centimeter wide, pointed to the end, whole-edge, erect, or drooping, reaching a length of 30-100 cm. Each subsequent leaf grows from the inside of the previous one, thereby forming a false stalk, more durable than onions.
Flower stalk (flower stalk, arrow) – 60 to 150 cm high, almost half dressed as leaf sheaths, until flowering at the end, twists into a spiral and ends with an inflorescence in the form of an umbrella, which is covered with a membranous membrane before flowering.
The inflorescence is a simple spherical umbrella, consisting of sterile flowers, airy bulb bulbs propagating and a dense bedspread (wrapper). Flowers on long pedicels, with a simple (that is, without differentiation into a calyx and corolla), corolla perianth, consisting of six petals. Perianth petals are white or pale lilac, with one vein, smooth, have a length of about 3 mm. There are six stamens.
The fruit is a box. Garlic almost does not give seeds.
The number of chromosomes: 2n = 16, 48.
Bulbs contain 35-42% dry matter, including 6.0-7.9% protein, 7.0-28 mg% vitamin C (up to 80 mg% in leaves), 0.5% sugars, 20- 27% of polysaccharides.
The taste and smell of garlic are due to the presence of essential oil (0.23-0.74%), which contains allicin and other organic compounds of the sulfide group (phytoncides).
Allicin is an essential oil of garlic, an organic substance that is the strongest antioxidant, that is, it relieves cells of free radicals. In an experiment with artificial allicin, scientists found that the decay product of the latter reacts with free radicals (the so-called sulfenic acids).
Their reaction occurs very quickly and is limited only by the time of the meeting of two molecules (radical and acid). Previously, no one has ever observed anything like this under artificial or natural conditions, scientists say. Allicin is a complex mixture of volatile nitrogen-free aromatic compounds, consisting mainly of polysulfides with a burning odor. In addition to the sterilizing (antimicrobial) action, allicin has an irritating, sokogonny and expectorant effect.
Garlic juice contains biologically active substances that have antimalarial, fungicidal (antifungal), antiprotozoal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic also contains volatile, killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
In the myths of ancient Egypt, a mixture of salt with garlic is referred to as an antipyretic.
In medicine, drugs from garlic bulbs are used – tincture of garlic and alcohol extract (allylsate), which enhance the motor and secretory functions of the gastrointestinal tract, which contributes to the development of normal intestinal flora and increase the body’s resistance to colds, infectious diseases and serves as a means of increasing the body’s immunity. The latter is also due to the fact that the components of garlic increase the activity of phagocytes, T-lymphocytes, macrophages and killer cells. Garlic is also prescribed orally to suppress the processes of decay and fermentation in the intestine (with atony of the intestine and colitis). Therefore, as an additive to food, garlic can prevent poisoning by poor-quality foods.
Heals and disinfects wounds. Immunostimulating and anti-cancer effects of garlic preparations are supposed.
Garlic contains a large amount of allicin. Sulfenic acids, which are the decay product of allicin, react with free radicals. This explains the antioxidant properties of garlic, in which there are no flavonoids, as in green tea or grapes.