There are over 700 species within the genus Allium. Most are perennial. Garlic, a member of the Allium family that also includes onions, rocambole, shallots, leeks and ramps, has been used and revered for so long that it is hard to define its origins. Garlic is one of the most used plants in the world. Besides the superstitions and rituals attached to these pungent bulbs, garlic is valued for healing and culinary purposes.
Medicinally, it has been used internally as a diuretic expectorant, antiseptic, for intestinal complaints, to lower blood pressure and as a vermicide. Externally used for abscesses, insect and snake bites, wounds and earache.
Recipes containing garlic abound. Some common uses are for dressings, flavoring oils, and adding to meat and poultry.
In addition to garlic, we want to point out the attributes of other members of the Allium group. Some are edible, while others are strictly ornamental. We feature many different types in a section of our teaching garden at Elm Bank.
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Also visit theHSA Library to view Garlic: An Herb Society of America Guide. The guide includes information about growing, preserving and harvesting garlic, the history and folklore surrounding this herb, plus links to more information.