By Nikolin Svetlana

For more than 5,000 years, garlic (Allium sativum) has been present in many cultures around the world.

The home of this amazing plant and super-food of centuries, is central Asia in so-called ‘Garlic Crescent’ which stretches from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan to Turkmenistan and Iran where wild garlic have been present from ancient times.

From this huge region, nomadic tribes spread it to the Indian subcontinent, China and Middle East from where Crusaders introduced it to Europe. In all ancient civilizations from Assyria, Babylon to Greece garlic played an important role as a food herbal plant, local currency and even as protection from evil eyes and black magics.
Assyrians were the first who recorded it and gave garlic special place in their first book of medicinal plants. Egyptians even used it to pay and feed workers and slaves building great pyramids. Cultivation of wild garlic from central Asia began very early and the cultivars we are familiar with today are the products of centuries of multiple generations of selective breeding.

Nowadays we have 10 basic types of garlic and two sub-species: the hardneck or ophio garlics which have scapes and the softneck garlics, which don’t. All along human history this so called ‘Stinking Rose’ has been recognised not only as seasoning or condiment but as wonderful health aid.
Scientists discovered that garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6, manganese, selenium and vitamin C.

It is good source of phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron and copper and still holds big role in traditional medicine of many cultures.
Garlic glory as seasoning, condiment and alternative medicine plant is still very high but some years back it began to be used as decorative plant in horticulture due to its beautiful and attractive flowers. The biggest producer of garlic today is China supplying 80% of the world’s garlic market.


pictures: Google

Nikolin Svetlana

politicologist /journalist
journalist/ editor in chief monthly news paper ‘Trgoprodukt’ (1982-1990)
freelance journalist from1990
editor in chief – non profit
intercultural magazin “XXI Century” (2006-2016)
independent researcher on intercultural dialogue, minorities and small ethnic communities of the Balkans (Banat Bulgarians, Aromanians)
specialised ”XXI Century” magazine editions:
”Palchens in Banat”
”Aromanians of Pancevo city”
books:
Aegeo (Egej) travel book
‘Small anthology of Aromanian poetry’
‘ Aromanian old songs’
‘Aromanians in south Banat’/project book)
‘The nomads of the Balkans’ -(translation project book)
coordinator in NGO”In Medias Res” department for small ethnic communities and intercultural dialogue ( from 2006 to 2016)

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