April 19, 2017

Chew on This: April 19 Is National Garlic Day!


Nature’s stinky little helper.

Russian penicillin. Italian perfume. The stinking rose. Whatever you might call it, garlic certainly has a long and fascinating history.

People have hailed it as a divine cure-all and a protective charm. Others have cursed it and associated it with the very footsteps of Satan himself.
Now, although no one seems to know how or why it began, it even has its own day. In honor of National Garlic Day – held annually on April 19 – let’s review the wonders of one of nature’s most fascinating plants.

The Peculiar History of Garlic

Among the first plants humans used, this humble plant has been around for virtually all of recorded history. Archaeologists have found the pungent, fleshy bulbs in ancient Egyptian pyramids and Greek temples.

Soldiers, warriors and athletes from Rome to China consumed garlic to boost their strength and vitality. Even as recently as World War II, people have sometimes used it to treat wounds. It’s even stood in as a substitute for penicillin – hence the “Russian penicillin” nickname.

Bad Breath, Better Health

A few thousand years ago, people ate garlic for a wide assortment of maladies. Your doctor probably won’t write a prescription for a clove of garlic today. However, its reputation for medicinal value lives on.

In fact, modern medicine has confirmed many of the properties first recognized by our ancestors. In particular, garlic has proven to be an excellent ally for oral health.

Learn more: Can dental problems cause health problems?

The stinking rose might give you a serious case of bad breath. Nevertheless, allicin – the compound it contains – is also a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial substance. It promotes a healthy mouth by preventing tooth decay. In addition, it attacks gum disease and inhibits the growth of all sorts of problematic microbes.

Using Garlic for a Healthy Mouth

Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things we can do, and garlic is a powerful oral health aid. If you’d like to use it to help protect your teeth, there are a few options. For one, you can simply incorporate more into your normal diet.

You can also find supplements that offer many of the same benefits without the powerful odor. In addition to oral health, consuming more garlic may also lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and boost the immune system.

National Garlic Day

Considering its long and fascinating history and many health benefits, it should come as no surprise that this plant has its own day of celebration. No one seems to know who first created a national day to celebrate the stinking rose, or why it falls on April 19. However, there’s no question our odorous little friend is deserving of recognition.

Whether you’re seeking out its medicinal properties or you simply enjoy the taste, why not put a little more garlic in your life? Go ahead and take a bite – a healthy mouth awaits!

Read next: How To Keep Teeth Healthy and Strong

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