GARLIC IN THE NEWS
Garlic is news. More and more people are talking about it, growing it, cooking and eating it, and ingesting it for its reputed healthy attributes. So as late-breaking garlic news happen, watch this space!
Herb of the Year 2004
The International Herb Association declared garlic the Herb of the Year for 2004.
Still is for 2005 as far as we are concerned.
Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and...Garlic Fries!
At Denver's Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, fans can now add garlic fries to the ballpark munchies. They taste so good yuo don't mind paying 6 times the price of regular fries.
Garlic against Lice
(Drammens Tidende 11/5/02) Argentinian scientists discovered by accident that allicin kills lice. A farmer in the Mendoza province of western Argentina turned to them for help. He wanted to fight insect infestation with organic products instead of commercial pesticides. During their research, scientists stumbled across the fact that garlic kills lice. "In 100% of the tests a drop of applied allicin killed the insect. We don't know exactly why, but we assume that the lice were asphyxiated," they reported. Follow-up clinical tests were performed at a daycare center. The occurrence of lice was reduced by 96% in a week with only one application of allicin. A commercial product for killing lice will be released in December, 2002.
Safe at the Plate
(AARP September/October 2002) When Kansas State University microbiologist Daniel Y. C. Fung cooked a pound of hamburger with 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, he found it had 90 percent fewer pathogens than meat cooked sans the spice. The secret weapon: allicin, a critter-killing compound in garlic and onions.
Marijuana and Garlic Don't Mix
Miami (Reuters) Customs inspectors seized several thousand pounds of marijuana concealed in a pungent shipment of minced garlic aboard a cargo ship at the Port of Miami. Customs officials said inspectors targeted the 300-foot cargo ship Stadt Kiel for special scrutiny when it docked in Miami after receiving background information. Inside a metal cargo container full of minced garlic, they found rice bags full of marijuana. Agents said the contraband tallied several thousand pounds. Smugglers frequently conceal illegal drugs in fragrant cargo such as coffee and pieces in hopes of fooling drug-sniffing dogs. The ship had travelled from China to Miami by way of Kingston, Jamaica, Customs said.
Garlic's Sweet Smell of Success
Washington (AP) Americans are getting a taste for garlic. Consumption of garlic, once shunned as "the stinking rose", more than tripled during the 1990s because of its growing popularity in foods and as a dietary supplement or herbal remedy, the government says. "It had a bad reputation. People shied away from it or didn't put it in food because it was supposed to give you bad breath," said Roberta Dowling, who runs a Cambridge, Mass. cooking school. "Now chefs realize the attributes of using garlic and how it con do wonderful things for food."
Americans consumed 3.1 pounds of garlic per person in 1999, compared with 1 pound in 1989, the Agriculture Department's Economic Research Service reports. To meet that demand, acreage devoted to domestic production of garlic rose during the decade from 16,000 acres to 41,000 acres, or about 64 square miles.
Garlic, like broccoli, is increasingly viewed by consumers as a "functional food" with special nutritional benefits, the USDA report said. "Garlic has proven itself as a popular food and nutrition item and is gaining scientific credibility as a significant contributor to good health," the report said..
Research suggests that garlic has a number of potential health benefits. Garlic contains nutrients such as vitamins A and C. But one of the most important ingredients is believed to be allicin, a sulfur-bearing compound that gives garlic its pungent aroma.
Studies have found that garlic can be an effective anti-coagulant to prevent blood clots and strokes - so much that patients are advised to warn their doctors that they are taking it - and also lower blood cholesterol levels. Other research indicates it could help prevent colon, stomach and prostate cancer, and scientists are studying its effect on memory and the immune system.
It is no accident, by the way, that garlic is popular in countries with warm climates. Humans began using garlic and similar herbs, such as onions, to kill bacteria and other food-borne pathogens that proliferate most readily in warm weather, Cornell researchers say.
Garlic, onion, allspice and oregano kill all bacteria, and several other spices, including cinnamon and thyme, can destroy 80% of the microbes, the scientists said.
On the net:
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutic Effects of Garlic Clarified
Rehovot, Israel, October 14, 1997 - Garlic is believed to work wonders, from fighting disease to keeping vampires away. Now two studies conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science have uncovered a molecular mechanism which may be the basis for some of garlic's therapeutic effects. The researchers were able to study how garlic works at the molecular level thanks to their unique biotechnical procedure for producing large quantities of pure allicin, garlic's main biologically active component. One study, appearing in the October issue of the American Society for Microbiology's Antimiccrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, explains how allicin fights infection. This research supports the notion that garlic is an excellent, although smelly, natural antimicrobial drug that can disable an unusually wide variety of infectious organisms. Teh second study, soon to be reported in tBiochimia Biophysica Acta, may help clarify the role allicin plays in preventing heart disease and other disprders. In the studies, the scientists revealed and characterized a molecular mechanism by which allicin blocks certain groups of enzymes. Allicin, created when garlic cloves are crushed, protects the plant from soil parasites and fungi and is also responsible for garlic's pungent smell. A natural weapon agains infection, the research reported in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy revealed allicin disables dysentery-causing amoebas by blocking two groups of enzymes, cysteine proteinases and alcohol dehydrogenases.
Cholesterol-Fighting Herb (Nutrition Science News, Febraury 1999, Vol. 4, No. 2)
Water-soluble, sulfur-containing compounds are responsible for garlic's cholesterol-lowering effects, repoerted Penn State researchers. The three chemicals identified by Yu-Yan Yeh, Ph.D., - S-allyl cysteine, S-ethyl cysteine and S-propyl cysteine - decreased cholesterol production of cultured rat liver cells by 40 to 60 percent. Yeh used fresh garlic extracts in his study but noted that deodorized, aged garlic extracts contain the same chemicals. Researchers also identified a second group of water-soluble compounds, the glutamate derivatives of S-alk(en)yl cysteines, that depressed cholesterol by 20 to 35 percent. In contrast, fat-soluble garlic constituents lowered cholesterol production by only 10 to 15 percent. Yeh's study is among the first to link specific garlic components to health benefits.
Want to bat .400? Eat Garlic!
Baseball legend Ted Williams, the last player to hit .400 in a season (1941- .406), said "I can't get enough garlic!" at the 1999 All Star game in Fenway Park. Within a few days, Christoper Ranch delivered 100 pounds of garlic to each of the 30 major league ball parks. The pitchers weren't pleased. Of course, Williams lived to be 83. And when they thaw his cryogenically preserved body, think of the free agent signing bonus he will get. Go garlic!.
Eat Garlic - But Not Right Away!
If you eat garlic for medicinal purposes, wait al least 10-15 minutes between chopping (or crushing or mincing) your garlic and cooking it in your favorite dish. Turns out a recent study by researchers John Milner and Kun Song suggests that immediate heating of garlic, including microwaving, can destroy much of its anti-cancer properties. However, after 15 minutes of exposure to air, the enzymes released in crushed and chopped garlic produce various allyl sulfur compounds, reputed to be the source of garilc's health giving properites.
Garlic Hot Line
The national Garlic Information Center at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center now has a hot line. If you want up-to-ate news about the beneifts of garlic and garlic neutraceuticals, call them at 212-746-1616.
Garlic and Botulism
Garlic is promoted as a health food and it is good for you. But in certain environments it can turn deadly. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, certain garlic preparations can result in often fatal cases of botulism poisoning. The Clostridium Botulinum bacteria is present in most soils and therefore on most garlic and other root vegetables. It is easily killed by exposure to air and by cooking. The problem arises when fresh garlic is kept in oil (an air-free environment in which the anerobic bacteria can thrive) at room temperatures. Garlic and oil mixtures MUST be refrigerated and should use acidifying agents such as phosphoric or citric acid. For the complete text of the FDA warning, visit http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/NEW00120.html
Elephant Garlic in the News
Writer Carol J.G. Ward of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain wrote a great article on elephant garlic as the 1999 harvest hit the streets. Some exerpts: "Tasty, is it ever, say its fans who like it roasted whole in the oven and slathered with butter, or raw in a salad or simmered on meats." "It has a slightly less strong and a slightly more sweet taste." "Elephant garlic can be minced, baked, roasted, chopped and used to flavor oils and vinegars. Indeed, it can be used any place true garlic is used. The only thing you miss is the lasting odor."
Garlic as a political force?
In June 1999 as Texas Governor and presidential wannabe George W. Bush rolled out his campaign, he made sure to have his picture taken with "Captain Garlic", aka Chuck Griva of Gilroy, CA, who was wearing a giant garlic hat. It made all the papers across the nation.
Garlic as odor remover?
Garlic has many wonderful properties, and according to researchers at Clemson University it can also make chicken manure smell better! Scientists have been putting garlic powder in chicken feed, and smelling the results. "It makes the poultry house smell like a pizzeria" claims Professor Glenn Birrenkott. Clemson says that the garlic also gives the eggs a milder taste, probably due to a reduction in sulfur content. One is tempted to wonder if putting garlic in pig feed might be worth a try.
El Nino meets Dracula
According to the Associated Press, the 1998 California commercial garlic crop was a disaster. The reason? Heavy winter rains attributed to the previous winter's El Ni�o event facilitated a massive outbreak of a "garlic rust disease fungus" that severely stunted the growth of the softneck garlic bulbs grown in the region. But garlic lovers were not easily discouraged. Some 120,000 people still showed up for the 1998 Gilroy Garlic Festival during the last weekend in July.
The interior of California grows some 90% of the nation's commercial garlic. Crop losses were the worst in 50 years. The main problem was that the bulbs which survived were small - few growing larger than 2 inches in diameter.
A magazine dedicated to garlic
Get your subscription to the Garlic Press, published by
The Garlic Seed Foundation
Rose Valley Farm, Rose, NY 14542-0419
www.TheGarlicStore.com in the news
A press release announcing the official Grand Opening of The Garlic Store was released in early November, 1997
More studies on the healthy qualities of garlic
Organic Gardening Magazine (610-967-5171) in its July/August, 1997 issue reported on yet another study showing that eating garlic may soothe the body as well as the soul. Four institutions conducted a study which reported that 41 men between the ages of 32 and 68 with moderately high cholesterol levels (220 to 290) consumed either aged garlic extract or a placebo pill once a day for up to a half year.The men who consumed the actual garlic had their total cholesterol fall off up to 7% and their LDL levels fell by 4%. Their systolic blood pressure also declined on the order of 5%.
Cooking with garlic
The August, 1997 issue of La Cucina Italiana-The Magazine of Good Food for Good Living, ran a multi-page section of great garlic recipes assembled from a variety of top chefs across the nation. Among the recipes:
Seared garlic scaled red snapper
Warm salad of jumbo shrimp, cannelloni beans and garlic
Roast garlic soup with stuffed squid
Summer scampi with garlic and herbs
A Festival of Garlic Growing Secrets
Organic Gardening Magazine (610-967-5171) ran a great piece on the many garlic festivals sprouting up around the country in its September/October 1997 issue. It also provided helpful hints on growing garlic.
www.TheGarlicStore.com reviewed in Internet Shopper.
Your favorite (we hope) on-line garlic experience received a very nice review in the January/February 1999 issue of Internet Shopper (www.internetshipper.com) under the deadline of Garlic Galore...This Site stinks." But we weren't offended - after all it was the title of our press release..... Some quotes: "It is almost frighteneing how many garlic-related products are out there, and The Garlic Store seems to have them all.... and garlic gifts which include a garlic mouse pad and garlic wallpaper. We kid you not." "The site has a secure server for ordering, and is a member of the Better Business Bureau, so you can feel safe ordering here. Unless, of course, you are a vampire."