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Garlic

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The use of garlic in China dates back thousands of years. It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes (Virgil, Eclogues ii. 11), and, according to Pliny the Elder (Natural History xix. 32), by the African peasantry. Galen eulogized it as the "rustic's theriac" (cure-all) (see F. Adams' Paulus Aegineta, p.  99), and Alexander Neckam, a writer of the 12th century (see Wright's edition of his works, p.  473, 1863), discussed it as a palliative for the heat of the sun in field labor. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate (Theophrastus, Characters, The Superstitious Man). According to Pliny, garlic and onions were invoked as deities by the Egyptians at the taking of oaths. In his Natural History, Pliny gives a list of scenarios in which garlic was considered beneficial (N. H. xx. 23). In the 17th century Dr Thomas Sydenham valued it as an application in confluent smallpox, and William Cullen's Materia Medica of 1789 found some dropsies cured by it alone.

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