Garlic is a member of the onion family and originates from the Central Asian steppes. It has been known in Egypt for over 6,000 years. It is thought to have been cultivated in Sweden in Viking times but fell out of favour during the 16th century due to its strong smell.
It was rediscovered in the 20th century and is today mostly imported. Garlic is mainly used as a condiment but is claimed to possess almost magical properties and is said to protect against everything from the common cold to cancer, vampires and werewolves.
Garlic contains ethereal oils, calcium phosphorus, iron, selenium and vitamins A, B1, B2, C and niacin. The most active substance is allicin which acts as an antibacterial agent.