Garlic, or Allium, L. a genus of plants comprising 54 species, seven of which are indigenous : of these, the following are the principal :
1. The oleraceum, Streaked Field-garlic, or Wild Garlic, which is perennial; grows in pastures, meadows, and among corn; and produces whitish-green blossoms in the month of July. - It is eaten by cows, goats, sheep, and hogs : - the tender leaves of this species are usually boiled in soups, or fried with other herbs, and form an wholesome article of food.
2. The ursinum, Broad-leaved Garlic, or Ramsons, which is also perennial; grows in woods, hedges, and meadows; and produces large white flowers, that blow in the months of May and June. This species is eaten by cows, but it communicates its flavour to the milk and butter, to such a degree as to render those articles offensive during the spring. - It affords art excellent remedy for dispelling rats ami moles; nor will this plant suffer any vegetable set near it to thrive: - an infusion of it in brandy is esteemed, according to Mr. PEN-sast, a good medicine for the gravel. - The inhabitants of Kamt-schatka find it of great service in removing the scurvy, even in the most advanced stages.
3. The Schoenoprasum, Chive, of Chived Garlic, abounds in mea dows and pastures ; and flowers in the month of June. It is propagated by parting the roots, and was formerly in great request as an ingredient in salads,during the spring; but it has been latterly neglected : its taste, smell, etc. are milder than those of the common onion.
Beside these species, which are but little cultivated, there is ano-ther, that deserves to be noticed, viz. the sativum, or Common Garlic. It is a native of Sicily, whence it has been introduced into our gardens. - This is a very hardy plant, and will thrive in almost every soil or situation. It is propagated either by the roots or seeds : the former ought to be set, in autumn, so that they may strike-firmly in the ground before the spring; which is requisite to make them flower vigorously the ensu-ing summer. When raised from seeds, it should be sown on a border of common earth, either in autumn, shortly after the seeds are ripe, or in the succeeding spring : . they require only to be kept clear of weeds; and, in the following autumn, may be transplanted to the spot where they are destined to remain.
Every part of this plant, but especially the root, has a pungent, acrimonious, and almost caustic taste, with a peculiarly strong, and, to many persons, offensive smell. Several nations, however, such as the Russians, Poles, and Hungarians, are very partial to it; and the Jews eat it to excess. Its odour is extremely penetrating and diffusive ; and, when the root is taken into the stomach, its scent is communicated to the various excretions, and perspires through the pores of the skin. - The juice of of this pungent root may be employed "with advantage, for cementing broken glass and china, or porcelain.
Garlic differs from the onion, only by being more powerful in its effects : they are both stimulants; assist digestion; relieve the bowels; expel flatulency ; and are beneficial in disorders proceeding from too great a degree of viscidity : they also increase the appetite; and, as their stimulating properties are diffused over the whole system, they may be considered as useful condiments with the food of phlegmatic persons, or those, whose se-cretions are in a languid state ; but their use may prove very pernicious to individuals who are liable to inflammatory complaints, or in whom a great degree of irritability prevails.
The medical properties of garlic are various : it has long been in estimation as an expectorant in pi-tuitous asthmas, and other pulmonary affections that are not accompanied with inflammation. It is also frequently of service in the dropsy; at the commencement of which it has been especially reco mended by Sydenham, In the quantity of one or two drams in substance, for a dose. - Externally applied, it blisters the skin. When made into an unguent, it is said to discuss cold tumors, and has been celebrated for its efficacy in cutaneous complaints : - in certain states of deafness, a small clove or bulb of the root, when enveloped in gauze, or muslin, and introduced into the ear, has been found an efficacious remedy.