January 26, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging-Garlic

Ed of Tomatom is the host of Weekend Herb Blogging this week. Since I love herbs and love growing herbs myself, I think this will be fun.

My favourite herb is allium family, which is both considered as vegetables and herbs. In The Ultimate New Zealand Gardening Book composed by Geoff Bryant divided this allium family into those two categories: vegetables are shallot [allium ascalonicum], onion/spring onion/scallion [allium cepa], tree onion [allium cepa var. aggregatum], and leek [allium porrum], where garlic [allium sativum] and chives [allium schoenoprasum] are considered herbs.

It's known that this genus consists of over 700 species which can be grown all over the world in temperate climates, which have similar appearance and smell.

I grew these herbs by seeds sold in garden centres. I tend to either use seeding trays or only sprinkle the seeds in the prepared garden. As I posted about New Seasons from my garden, that I grew them for kitchen supplies, though they're growing more than enough.

Anyway, garlic is the most herb I adore and use on daily basis. And I grew them from bulbs I purchased from the market or shops. I tend to choose those cloves which still have roots. I'm not sure why, but once I read in one issue on Donna Hay magazine that garlic with roots are NZ grown. So, I want to grow local products, because I know they are good.

It was a very simple task, really, to just bury each clove in the ground around each rose I have and other space I could find in my garden. So to say, they were there, growing their bulbs for me. It was just amazing.

Of what is written by Geoff Bryant garlic is stated to have two main variety: Giant Russian [allium giganteum] and common garlic [allium sativum]. The giant must be massive, it's so called 'Jumbo' and happens to be much larger than the common one. I'm not sure if I'm growing this.

I read a book about natural therapies written by the editors of Time-Life Books "The Alternative Advisor: The Complete Guide to Natural Therapies & Alternative Treatments" and there's written some information about garlic that it's been cultivated for a medicinal remedy in both Chinese and Western cultures.

'Garlic's active ingredient is allicin, which is also responsible for the herb's pungent smell. In China this herb is prescribed for colds and coughs and for intestinal and digestive disorders. Chinese herbalists believe garlic can be used externally as an antibiotic and antifungal treatment for skin infections. Western herbalists prescribe it for many of the same ailments as their Chinese counterparts. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and to lower blood pressure.' p.83.

Another fact that I read about garlic is written by G.J. Binding of "Vegetables and Herbs with A Difference":

'Garlic has allayed the symptoms of ageing, reduced blood pressure, has been used in the treatment of intestinal diseases and all infections of the respiratory tract, cured skin complaints and has countless other wonderful achievements to its credit. It is in fact the finest cure that terrible complaint bronchitis, often known as 'The Englishman Disease'.' p.17

So, a garlic a day will take your cholesterol away.


Ed Charles said...

That's great rustic looking garlic. I couldn't live without these sorts of flavours plus I am paranoid about vampires! Thanks for taking part in Weekend Herb Blogging.

Arfi Binsted said...

Hi Ed! Thanks for dropping by and organising this event for us. Cheers!

Kalyn said...

I love garlic. I've grown it a few times, but I'm not patient enough and forget what time of year it should be planted.

Arfi Binsted said...

It should be planted in Winter, just like other bulbs. I often forget as well, if I am not reminded by the garlic sprouts from the cloves that I left and forgotten in the ground, I won't plant them in Spring.