LEEK/GARLIC The Little Wonder: a Brief History and Its Medicinal Uses

Pic. Credit. sxc.hu
L for Leeks: Yet another wonderful vegetable products which can act as one of the  miracles of nature.

Here is a short summary of this wonderful vegetable and its medicinal uses.

Leeks are closely connected to onions and garlic but have a milder taste. They are mainly used in soups, they can be steamed, boiled or braised, and roasted with meat or chicken. However more care should be taken while using it in cooking.  Before using for cooking it should be  cleaned thoroughly.  To do this you should make a slit in one side of the trimmed leek, and cut off the root, then clean the dirt and grit from insides by placing the cut under running water, and letting it flow through the leek. Though it can be eaten raw, it is usually used for vegetable stock in making soups.  

The finely chopped leeks are used in making salads.

The word garlic comes from an Old English word “garleac”, meaning "spear leek." 

As a culinary and medicinal plant this wonder plant is used from the ancient times to
the Mediterranean region and beyond.

It is very interesting to note that this plant and its root/bulb has been used for medicinal purposes by more cultures than any other plant product or substance. The history says that its first use was by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, in the regions of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  Archeologists have discovered paintings of garlic, dating back to 3200 B.C, in Egyptian tombs, including the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Egyptians worshiped garlic and placed clay models.

Its protective powers have been famous for centuries. To protect his vocal sound Emperor Nero used to eat leek every day.  The medical journal says that, the contents of flavonoid, kaempferol in Leeks can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, and it also protect blood vessels from further damages. Leeks also contain omega-3 and -6 fatty acids which we need and it has vitamin B6 (folate) This helps reduce the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases. The antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin (beta-carotenoids) prevents from aging and other health problems. It is also proved that leeks can help in atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. Since It is high in Vitamin C and potassium and also contains zinc, copper, phosphorous, Vitamins A and K, iron, manganese, and traces of selenium. The zinc and potassium content in leek have positive influence on our sexual health, and it  can boost our immune system too. Its high content of the mineral manganese helps to defend against osteoporosis an asthma.

Iron deficiency leads to many diseases especially to the female, sufficient leek intake and other iron rich foods can reduce the risk of getting Alzhemeimer's disease.  If you have type 2 diabetics your required insulin can be obtained naturally from leeks consumption. Leeks are good source of this soluble fiber which may also help protect against colon cancer, breast cancer, diarrhea, infectious bowed diseases, and even high cholesterol.

The recent research and studies conducted on this plant says that more than twenty five common ailments can be cured by this.  Researches are still going on in larger scales as this plant and its tube can play a great role in the treatment of Cancer.  

It is said that garlic was a highly prized item and in ancient times it was even used as currency.  It is said that Egyptians even worshiped garlic and they even abstained from using it in cooking or in eating.

They feed garlic to the slaves who builds pyramids to increase their stamina and strength.

The ancient Israelite were very fond of garlic before Moses led them out of Egypt.   The ancient Hebrew writers refer to themselves as “the garlic eaters.”  On their way to the promised land Israelite lamented the shortage of absence of garlic.

It is believed that Leeks are believed to be native to Central Asia, and have been cultivated there and in Europe for millennia. The Romans have been credited with taking them to Britain, but they might have arrived there earlier than 55 BC via the Mediterranean and Phoenician traders who would have taken them to Greece and Rome.

Greeks and the Romans used leek when they had sore throats and they were believed to be beneficial to the voice even if you didn’t have a sore throat. Aristotle believed that the partridge (a common bird in Greece) had a sweet singing voice because it fed on leeks. The Emperor Nero had a daily diet of leeks in order to have a strong singing voice. He was nicknamed porophagus, or leek-eater.

Many cultures have used garlic for what they considered it’s magical powers, perhaps owing to its reputation as a preventative medicine.
Today, it is recognized worldwide as an extremely nutritious addition to any diet. More than a  thousand research papers and other articles on garlic’s  health benefits have been published since 1950.

The ancient Indians valued the medicinal properties of garlic and thought it to be an aphrodisiac. But it was not considered to be suitable food for the upper classes, who detested its strong odor. It was also forbidden by monks, since its stimulating effect aroused passions.  

Not only monks, widows, adolescents and those who had taken up a vow or fasting should avoid taking it because of its stimulant quality.  But at a later stage this attitude changed considerably and its used in any cooking, During the reign of Muslim rulers its usage increased and it become a common item In any cooking in south Asia.

Still the research is going on to find out more benefits from this little plant.  In fact it’s a wonder working miracle of nature.

These are some of the medicinal benefit one can get from the use of this plant.

A.      It Boosts our immune system
B.      It fights bacterial infections
C.      It prevents the oxidation of cholesterol
D.      It controls the blood sugar level
E.      It lowers blood cholesterol level
F.       It reduces high blood pressure
G.     It can be used in treating digestive disorders.
H.     It assists in fat metabolism
I.       It exhibits powerful anti-cancer properties
J.     It’s a best remedy for rheumatism 

Medical Journals.
world Book
Science Reporter
FC & A Medical Publishing

Philip Verghese Ariel Founder and CEO at Philipscom

A freelance writer, editor and a blogger from Kerala. Now based at Secunderabad, Telangana, India. Can reach at: pvariel(@)Gmail [.] Com
Tel: 09700882768