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Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum, is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the genus Allium . Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Welsh onion, and Chinese onion . It is native to South Asia, Central Asia, and northeastern Iran and has long been used as a seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use1.

Garlic grows from a bulb and has a tall, erect flowering stem that grows up to 1 m (3 ft). The leaf blade is flat, linear, solid, and approximately 1.25–2.5 cm (0.5–1.0 in) wide, with an acute apex . The bulb has a strong odor and is typically made up of 10 to 20 cloves1.

Garlic is highly nutritious but has very few calories. A single clove (about 3 grams) contains 4.5 calories, 0.2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of carbs . Garlic is a good source of several nutrients, notably manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, and fiber2.

Garlic has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years. Current research shows that garlic may have some real health benefits, such as protection against the common cold and the ability to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels . It’s also been used to extend life, improve athletic performance, and detoxify the body2. However, it’s always important to consult with a healthcare provider before using garlic or any other food for medicinal purposes.

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