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Medicinal garlic

Thanks to cooking shows on television, they introduced me to garlic. My mother never grew it, neither did she buy to cook with it. All I knew about garlic was it was eaten by Indians and people talked about its bad smell. I already had a bias towards this vegetable, my mind was conditioned not to like it.

By Doreen Badze

garlic

Fortunately, food kept us nurses going while working the night shift. The break period was a time to look forward to, when different nationalities met in the break room to warm food they had brought from home. It was right then that I familiarised myself with its great taste and divine aroma.

The strong smell would penetrate through the break room doors and spread down the long hallways reaching patient rooms and linger for many hours through the night. I made a determination to try it. The rest is now history. By including it in my diet, I now even know how to roast garlic and when and how to use it.

Garlic is a cousin of the onion, leek and shallot family and has been used for thousands of years by different nationalities around the world, as a cooking ingredient even though anciently its use was primarily medicinal. Today it remains a power house that presents numerous unbelievable proven medicinal uses for the human body. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates who treated different medical conditions, prescribing garlic, famously mentioned that “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.

Growing garlic
Garlic, like onion, is a cool weather easy-to-grow plant. Planting now is the ideal time. People come to our garden nursery looking for garlic seedlings and I give short demonstrations and teach them how to skip the nursery and plant your own seed the way I do it. The whole garlic is called a bulb, that comprises of cloves. Just break apart the cloves from the bulb but keep the papery husk on each individual clove. Locate a sunny fertile site. Plant just below the soil surface about 15cm apart in rows and 30cm apart. Thorough watering is required in the beginning. Once the bulbs are large and well-formed, do not water as this could encourage rotting.

Harvesting
Green leaves can be harvested and used in soups and as garnish. The bulbs are harvested once the leaves turn yellow. Lay bulbs in a dry airy place, once dry, can be stored in ventilated containers.

Garlic nutrition
Garlic is highly nutritious, containing essential and sufficient vitamins mostly needed by our bodies. It is very rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and manganese. Additionally, garlic has fair amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B1. Furthermore, it is a very low calorie food.

Health benefits of garlic
Through research and confirmation of modern science, garlic has legit proven health benefits. It boasts particularly allicin, the magical compound found in this incredible plant that harbours medicinal properties. The following are some of the healthy benefits;

lSupplementation of garlic helps to prevent and reduce common colds and flu.

lBlood pressure medication can be supplemented by high doses of garlic, in some instances it can be as effective as regular medication.
lBad cholesterol can be reduced by garlic consumption.

lAntioxidants in garlic protect against cell damage and ageing. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are kept at bay.

lGarlic appears to have benefits for bone health by increasing estrogen levels in females.

lGarlic has effects on common causes of chronic diseases, hence it could make you live longer.

This week in our nursery, we have the following seedlings: rape, tsunga paida, king onion TX Grano, red lettuce, sweet cabbage, covo hybrid rugare, red onion, beetroot, lettuce commander, and cabbage star 3311 per orders.

Happy Gardening Week!

lDoreen Mutobaya Badze is a retired nurse and passion -driven gardener. She can be reached on cell: 0779730880 or 16 Metcalf Road, Greendale, Harare. Email: dbadze4@gmail.com Facebook page: Badze Garden Nursery.

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