Garlic is a member of the onion or Allium family, with cloves that are prized for their flavour-enhancing properties and health benefits. With a recorded use of more than 60 centuries, garlic is rich in sulfur-containing compounds such as thiosulfinates, sulfoxides and dithianes. These compounds are not only responsible for its pungent scent and flavour, they are also the source of its health benefits. Garlic was used by ancient civilisations; the Romans believed it made them more courageous. Hippocrates was said to have used garlic to treat cancer. Garlic’s antiseptic powers were identified by Louis Pasteur in 1858. Garlic can boost your health!
A new University of Adelaide study has found that aged garlic extract may help to lower blood pressure. A German study found that powdered garlic may reduce plaque formation in blood vessels and help to lower cholesterol. The selenium in garlic is also thought to lower the risk of developing certain forms of cancer. An Italian study found that participants who consumed the most garlic had a 57 per cent reduced chance of developing oesophageal cancer, 22 per cent reduced chance of developing ovarian cancer and 44 per cent reduced chance of developing laryngeal cancer. Garlic also has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory and have anti-bacterial and anti-viral activities due to its vitamin C content.
To make up for this short fall between supply and demand, Australia imports around 95% of it’s garlic from China, with the remainder coming from country’s such as Taiwan, Spain and New Zealand. The main concern about imported garlic and especially garlic imported from China is that Chinese agricultural practices still use chemicals that have been banned here in Australia to grow garlic. The imported product is just that, so it has been picked for quite a while before it gets here, has probably been in cold storage for some time and therefore treated with some sort of growth retardant to stop it from sprouting, it has been sprayed with methyl bromide (by Australia’s AQIS) and is a lovely, clean, white colour because it has been bleached with chlorine!
So by supporting the Australian garlic growers you are supporting local economies, reducing the amount of chemicals you consume, and eating a product less traveled, which is therefore supporting the environment.