3. The Garlic Plant
The botanical name for garlic is Allium sativum. This hardy bulbous plant is a member of the lily family, which also includes leeks, chives, onions, and shallots. Like the onion, the edible bulb of the plant grows beneath the ground. This compound bulb is made up of several small sections or bulblets called "cloves" which are encased in thin papery envelopes. The cloves are eaten and also used for planting. Farmers plant the crop in early spring and the bulbs mature early in the fall. The bulbs are "cured" by drying in the field. Workers then braid the tops or remove them, and the garlic is ready for market. The bulbs are either sold whole or ground into powder. The juice of the garlic bulbs may also be extracted and sold.
3.1 Garlic's Pungent Flavor
Garlic is most often used to season foods because of its pungent flavor. A substance in garlic, called allicin, is responsible for its flavor and odor.
3.2 An Antibacterial Agent
Allicin is an antibacterial agent and an extremely irritating liquid. It has a drug-like property which, like any other drug, destroys life. Antibacterial agents kill bacteria. Do we wish to kill bacteria? Certainly not! Bacteria are essential components to life and without them life would not continue.
As students of Life Science, you know that bacteria do not produce disease but perform a very important function. These useful organisms come into action when the cell has finished its life cycle to decompose the dead cell and help to eliminate it from the body. They also act to clean up toxic material which the body eliminates. This is why they are often seen during a disease process.
Bacterial action takes place in all disease phenomena because these are processes requiring the breaking down or disintegration of accumulated refuse and toxic matter within the body, which the system is endeavoring to throw off. But to assume, as many medical scientists do, that merely because the bacteria are present and active in all disease phenomena, that they are therefore the cause of these same diseases, is just as wrong as it would be to assume that because bacteria are present and active in the decomposition process connected with all dead organic matter, they are the cause of the death of the organic matter in question. Bacteria are part of the results of the disease, not its cause.
It does not make sense to ingest a food which would interfere with or destroy this important function within our body.
3.3 An Anthelmintic and Rubefacient
According to Stedman's Medical Dictionary, the volatile oil from the bulb or entire plant of garlic is used as an anthelmintic and rubefacient. These are big words, but with big effects. We will take them one at a time.
An anthelmintic is an agent that destroys or expels intestinal worms. Now if one suspects that he or she has intestinal worms, one had better look very closely at his or her diet and lifestyle. And then run (don't walk) to their nearest Hygienic practitioner and go on a long fast! Taking an anthelmintic drug would not be the answer in any case as we cannot promote health by ingesting deadly poisons.
Any agent which is so poisonous as to cause immediate death to any other living organism should never be consumed. If this volatile oil, which is part of the garlic plant, is so powerful as to result in death of internal parasites and bacteria does it not stand to reason that it would also have a serious detrimental effect on the entire organism?
When any food is ingested, it goes through the same process of digestion and assimulation. Its components are broken down, absorbed through the intestinal lumen and eventually find their way into the bloodstream and lymph. These components are then carried throughout the body and the nutrients are used by the cells as needed. Nonusable components are, of course, rejected and eliminated. If these components are deadly poisons, much harm can be done as they circulate throughout the system and possibly combine with other chemicals within the body or are stored in the tissues.
A rubefacient is an agent which results in reddening of the skin. In other words, as soon as the extracted oil from the garlic is applied to the skin, a redness will result. What does this mean? Redness indicates inflammation and the body's response to an irritating substance. The body attempts to isolate this invading substance so that it does not enter the bloodstream and create further problems for the body to deal with.
We may assume that if this reaction occurs when this oil is applied topically, extreme irritation must result when it comes in contact with the more delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
We know that the body regards garlic as a poison and attempts to eliminate it as soon as possible. Anyone knows that when they ingest garlic (even a very minute quantity) the odor will remain on the breath and even the skin will smell of garlic. The body is eliminating this poison through the lungs and skin, which seem to be the most rapid and efficient routes.
Home > Lesson 36 - Junk Foods: A Case Study Of Garlic And Onions
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