Powerful Benefits of Society Garlic

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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For those who have never heard of society garlic, it can be used in the same ways as garlic, without some of the negative side effects. However, before you add something new to your diet, it is important to understand where it comes from and how to use it in various ways.

What is Society Garlic?

Society garlic is scientifically known as Tulbaghia violacea, but unlike traditional garlic, where the bulbs are used in culinary and medicinal applications, the leaves of society garlic are used instead. It is named so because of the belief that your breath won’t have the unpleasant smell when you eat this variety. While this garlic belongs to the same family as normal garlic, it is a different genus and has quite a different appearance. The plant has violet or purple flowers and is also known as wild garlic, and it clumps together in a similar way to garlic.

There are more than 20 different species of society garlic, all of which are found in South Africa. This perennial plant has been naturalized in other parts of the world, but it isn’t commonly found in many countries; in fact, many people don’t even know that this slightly less pungent variety of garlic exists.

Where to find Society Garlic?

Society garlic can be found in exotic import stores in certain countries, but it is primarily available in South Africa, other African nations, Mexico, Tanzania, and across the South Pacific. It is sensitive to frost and isn’t the hardiest of plants, so it requires specific climates to grow.

Close-up of the flowers of society garlic

The garlic with a social life! Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

Benefits of Society Garlic

Traditionally speaking, society garlic has been used in a number of medicinal applications, in order to treat problems with hormone balance and blood pressure, as well as to help prevent certain types of cancer.

Anticancer Potential

According to a 2013 study, the extract of society garlic may be used as a potent anti-cancer agent. There is a compound called methyl-a-D-glucopyranoside in it that helps in selecting the cancerous cells and killing them through apoptosis.

Balances Hormones

There are some androgenic effects linked to the use of society garlic, so if you have a hormone imbalance, regularly eating this herb or using the more powerful extract can add testosterone and guide you back towards a healthy hormone balance.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Research has found that the use of society garlic is able to lessen the pressure on your blood vessels and arteries, which can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis, as well as coronary heart diseases.

Culinary uses of Society Garlic

In terms of using this garlic in cooking, the flavor is decidedly milder than normal garlic and is, therefore, not popular for those who are looking for a major flavor element in their food. However, the leaves are edible and have a lightly spicy, peppery flavor. While this flavor is very reminiscent of garlic, the mildness is easily obscured by other spices or particular foods.

The most popular culinary uses for society garlic include adding these leaves to salads or putting them on top of pasta, rather than adding garlic powder or garlic salt.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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